Extremism and Gaming Research Network

The Extremism and Gaming Research Network works together to uncover how malign actors exploit gaming, to build resilience in gaming communities to online harms, and to discover new ways to use gaming for good.

Our Mandate

At the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN), we bring researchers, practitioners, and policymakers together with the private sector to develop an understanding of potential threats, as well as solutions for the exploitation of gaming by terrorists and violent extremists. Our work includes supporting research development and reporting, advising and training tech platforms and governments, and generating best practices.

The EGRN was set up as an independent, self-led initiative in 2021 in response to the knowledge and research gaps relating to games and extremism. Today, we have over 100 invitees to our monthly gatherings and more than  60 registered members, including many of the top global think tanks and institutions working to understand and counter violent extremism. Members come from various backgrounds, including political science, public policy, international affairs, law enforcement, psychology, game development, and counter-terrorism. 

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 gamers and gaming platforms be empowered to combat hate and facilitate building positive, resilient communities?

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) and Tech Against Terrorism, 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, 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 practitioners 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 collaborate on upcoming research and prevention projects 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 145 individual and organization members of the Network. We are updating our membership page at present, and a selection of our organizational members include:

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

More than Sports: Building Resilience against Extremism in Esports

In a world where young people spend most of their time online, gamers are at risk of encountering radicalizing content more often than others. The United States Esports Association has taken up the challenge of addressing these issues through competency-building initiatives aimed at combatting violent extremism. Read on to find out more about the potential risks of esports and the Association’s innovative solutions.

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Preventing Extremist Violence Using Existing Content Moderation Tools

Accurate content moderation can save lives by acting as an early warning system about the risks of offline extremist violence and removing the fuel that incites it. With the explosion in automated content moderation approaches, any number of widely accessible automated detection tools can be used on known violent extremist user-generated content to improve a platform’s detection methods through fine-tuning and customization. Multiple AI-based approaches to detection can identify users, conversations, and communities, signaling a high likelihood of extremist violence. With better real-time detection, platforms can be empowered to break up harmful and criminal communities, helping to damage online influence processes that lead to extremist violence.

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Grooming for Violence: Similarities Between Radicalisation and Grooming Processes in Gaming Spaces

Some scholars have identified similarities between a subset of radicalisation to violent extremism (RVE) processes and grooming for CSE. Though RVE and CSE grooming and processes can happen in a variety of online and offline spaces, greater awareness of these risks in gaming spaces in particular is important due to the ways in which many games facilitate relationship building with limited moderation.

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But we also see solutions.