Improve the Online Experience for Everyone
It was a little over a decade ago when Sony Computer Entertainment announced the newest console to join the Playstation family: the Playstation 2. In 1999 when it was first unveiled, we learned of its many capabilities and how revolutionary it was for the gaming industry, with one particular feature that stood out to a lot of gamers: online multiplayer. It was a first for video game consoles and possibly the biggest thing to hit gaming since Nintendo's Super Mario 64 (which trumped Rare's GoldenEye by 3 million units) for their 1996 console, the Nintendo 64. Gamers were quick to purchase their own Playstation 2 and Sony proudly led the revolution of multiplayer gaming as we knew it.
Two years later, the Microsoft Corporation introduced us to their rendition of online multiplayer, aptly titled 'Xbox Live.' It was very similar to Sony's Playstation counterpart except for a significant difference: Microsoft charged gamers to use the Xbox Live service. The necessity and fairness of Microsoft's required payment to use the service was disputed left and right by critics and gamers alike, but the final verdict was that the payment was worth it when one considered everything that Xbox Live had to offer, to which the Playstation 2 Network did not (including custom gamertags and standardized voice chat.) However, the Playstation online feature has remained free to this day.
Online gaming has been a staple for gamers worldwide ever since, and it's rare to find someone with either an Xbox or Playstation console in their home that doesn't at least have an Xbox Live or Playstation Network account, nevermind actually use either service. As with anything, however, there are always downsides, and the purpose of this blog is to highlight some major issues when it comes to online gaming with other people, and what everyone can do to make the experience better for not only fellow gamers, but for themselves.
1.) Voice Chat
While the voice chatting feature is practically a necessity to communicate with your fellow gamers, whether it be for casual discussion or tactical communications in competitive matches, there has been a plethora of complaints against certain gamers for behaviour, activity, etc. Here's my recommendations on how to improve the voice chat feature for everyone.
‣Unless you're communicating with other gamers, either unplug your headset or disable the microphone feature on your Kinect device. This will avoid any background noise in your surroundings to come through the microphone and disturb other gamers. This simple solution will avoid giving everyone else headaches due to your children crying for your attention, a girlfriend yelling at you to clean your mess, or even in-laws demanding better living conditions.
‣Check your microphone volume. If you have a/n [un]naturally loud voice, and lowering it isn't an option, then take the initiative to lower your microphone or headset volume to compensate. Gamers don't expect nor desire to go deaf while playing a game, and doing this can help prevent any hearing issues.
‣Mind your language. Excessive vulgarity isn't necessary, regardless of how angry you are, and there is no justifying it. There's no need to open up your Sailor's Guide to Language textbook and recite the most tasteless remarks; especially if the game you're playing has a rating that welcomes gamers of a younger teen age.
2.) General Gameplay
While everyone has the privilege to play online (as long as they follow the terms and conditions of use for their respective console[s]), that doesn't give anyone the right to exercise their free will by being a nuisance. That includes team-killing, general unsportsmanlike behaviour, or any other kind of deliberate antagonism. It's most often seen in open-world games like Grand Theft Auto, but naturally, it can happen in almost any if not any video game. Here's a simple fix:
‣Parents: know the game ratings. It's not fun going into a match with your twelve year old offspring who can barely understand how to hold a controller, nevermind comprehend the goal of the game they're playing. Have some mercy on the rest of us and moderate your child's gaming. If you're one of those parents who doesn't really give a fig what their child plays, at least have the decency to set some limitations.
‣Gamers: the same goes for you. There's no justifying being a general jerk and deliberately ruining the experience for everyone else. If you want to be a jerk or anything negative, go back to high school or feel free to harass someone in a different environment. If neither of those options work for you, then I suggest popping in your copy of Grand Theft Auto IV and going into a free roam match and have a ball; in those types of matches, it's all fair game and no one really cares what you do, gameplay wise.
Enough said. It's unnecessary and you're bound to ruin the experience for at least one person in every match you stroll into. I thank God for some gamers like those who post videos on YouTube of them calling out cheaters and boosters, trolling their parents, etc. as it's a hilarious and very lighthearted (sometimes aggravated) step in the right direction, considering that reporting the gamer to the proper parties is not always the most satisfactory action. Cheaters are not welcome in any online gaming environment and if you have to cheat or boost or glitch, then you're just proving to the rest of the gaming community that you're not good enough of a gamer or a person to play fairly and honestly. Please, evacuate the immediate vicinity.
Just for argument's sake, this blog was written with a satirical mindset and was intended to be taken humorously and lightheartedly with a hint of seriousness.