You may have noticed people writing AFK in gaming chat rooms and wondered what it meant and why everybody uses it so often. But, before deep-diving into the topic - spoiler alert - no, AFK is definitely not a swear word.
It's something that most gamers will have come across but may not understand, so what is AFK exactly?
The definition of AFK is “Away From Keyboard” and it’s used predominantly in gaming chat rooms. The AFK meaning is used to indicate that a player is temporarily leaving the game and will be away from their computer or console for a short period of time. When a player puts AFK in a chat or voice communication system, it's a signal to their teammates that they won't be able to participate in the game for a little while. Everyone should know the AFK meaning so they can react appropriately when they see it.
AFK is most often used in online multiplayer games, where it's important for players to communicate with each other and coordinate their actions. By letting others know that they are AFK, players can avoid being kicked out of the game or causing problems for their team.
There’s actually no such thing as AFK games. The AFK meaning applies solely to the chat room of games, or when a user might be away from the game for some time. There are certain titles in which you’re likely to see the AFK acronym more than others, though.
For example, when players play multiplayer titles like League of Legends, they will need to quickly communicate with their teammates that they are unavailable in the battle. Maybe they need to go to the toilet or grab a snack. At that point in time, they’ll quickly hit AFK into the chat. Their teammates will know the AFK meaning and understand that they won’t be able to respond temporarily.
Some of the game types that will see more usage of the AFK meaning than others include MMOs, MOBAs, battle royale games, and idle games. The reason for this is that in each of these genres, numerous players must collaborate on the gameplay.
If one of the team members is out of action, they’ll have to let the others know by hitting AFK. Luckily, most multiplayer gamers know the AFK meaning, so it’s easy for them to view the message and then carry on with the knowledge that one of their teammates is out.