The relationship between video games and large-scale violence has been questioned since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. In recent years, this conversation has expanded to include specific dimensions questioning the influence of gaming on processes of radicalisation and violent extremism.
Violent extremists and terrorists are certainly attempting to exploit the gaming landscape, hoping to capitalise on the massive, youthful audience and the gaming world’s deep integration within pop culture. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of this adversarial shift, it is important that we continue to develop our understanding of how the gaming environment is, in fact, being exploited and to what effect.
This piece surveys violent extremist and terrorist activities across unique elements of the gaming environment, assessing threat severity based on prevalence, current research, and opportunity for exploitation. Case studies and research provide insight on motivations and effectiveness, but further research on violent extremist and terrorist exploitation of the gaming environment is necessary.