Extremism and Gaming Research Network

The Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN) researches the nexus between extremism and gaming while fostering resilient online gaming communities and preventing extremists' exploitation of games and platforms.

Our Mandate

At the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN), we bring together world-leading counter-extremism researchers, practitioners, and policy makers together with the private sector to develop solutions for the exploitation of online gaming by terrorists and violent extremists. Set up as a practitioner-led initiative in 2021 to counter new online harms and lead evidence-driven solutions, today the EGRN convenes over 50 members, ranging from United Nations agencies to think tanks and private sector organizations. Through our partnerships, the EGRN is at the center of emerging research and analysis while impacting policy and tech design. We work to promote realistic, non-stigmatizing research and programs with a clear focus on using gaming for good. By working collaboratively across academia and practitioners, we advise tech platforms and governments alike to help gaming communities become inclusive, diverse online spaces while curbing the impact of harmful online content.

We are currently focused on research and policy solutions around the following priority questions:

Why and how are video games, gaming platforms, and gaming content used by extremist individuals or organizations?

How does this trend differ across geographies, cultures, ideologies, and genders?

How can gaming, gaming-related spaces, and gamers themselves help prevent extremism?

What We do:

The EGRN leads evidence-based research at the nexus between gaming and extremism while providing effective solutions for various public and private stakeholders. Our members work to evidence the ways in which gaming is used by malign actors for harm, and also the opportunities to use gaming for good to counter harm. Core to this is our collaborative work with gaming platforms to create resilience-building solutions for gamers. 

There is no other initiative dedicated to convening cross-sector actors to prevent violent extremism and foster resilience among gamer communities. Our focus, scope, and breadth of convening power is our unique strength: we are dedicated to keeping gaming fun while pushing back against extremism and online harms. Similar initiatives, such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), participate in the EGRN, allowing us to achieve substantial network effects, as well as leverage existing tools and expertise through collaborative means. We also act as a bridge from gamer communities and small CSOs developing their own games, all the way to donor governments and international policymakers at the United Nations through the mandated UN Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) and other mandated UN agencies including UNDP and UNITAR.

As a collaborative, at-will, network, individual and institutional benefits of becoming a member of the EGRN include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct access and exposure to cutting-edge research and innovative projects from researchers and partitioners working around the world.
  • Receiving expert input and access to top-tier consultants for planned projects or interventions.
  • Exchanging information and ideas with all members, including at the monthly-held members-only meetings.
  • Opportunities to jointly apply for upcoming research proposals and project bids with other members.
  • Future access to resources including online safety toolkits, digital research ethical guidelines, research libraries and databases, and more.

Our Members Include

There are currently over 50 individual and organization members of the Network. A selection of our members are shown here. To view all our members, click below:

Watch our launch

The EGRN publicly launched on 6 October 2021 — our introductory panel video provides an overview of the Network, preliminary research, and research trajectory. Interested in learning more? Download the State of Play on Gaming & Extremism authored by Galen Lamphere-Englund & Luxinaree Bunmathong at Love Frankie and the EGRN or browse more of our members’ research. 

 

Since then, we’ve been mentioned by Axios and over 20 other media reports and regularly brief tech platforms, governments, and civil society organizations. 

Our Latest Insights

Understanding the Game: Bridging Research Gaps at the Nexus of Gaming and Extremism

In 2021, we developed a report at Love Frankie (LF) for our community of practice at the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN) to understand the state of research into linkages between video games, gaming communities, and extremism. That annotated bibliography and analysis, State of Play: Reviewing the Literature on Gaming & Extremism, provides an overview of existing available literature on research and publications on the use of gaming platforms, video games, and related online fora. This summary was originally posted as a GNET Insight.

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The Gamification of Violent Extremism: An Empirical Exploration of the Christchurch Attack

This Insight is based on research conducted by the author and Susann Wiedlitzka, the results of which are extensively discussed within an academic article recently published within Terrorism and Political Violence. The original paper develops our theoretical understanding of gamification (focussing upon its ‘mechanics’) using empirical data taken from the Christchurch attack in New Zealand in March 2019. Although this blog does not discuss these theoretical underpinnings of gamification, it does provide a summary of how the attack was gamified in nature and how the data is laden with overt and more subtle overlaps with video games more generally. For more discussion of gamification, please see previous GNET Insights such as Competing, Connecting, Having Fun: How Gamification Could Make Extremist Content More Appealing, Let’s Play Prevention: Can P/CVE Turn the Tables on Extremists’ Use of Gamification?, and Video Games, Extremism and Terrorism: A Literature Survey.

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But we also see solutions.