I fondly remember the very first time I ever played a game online, it was Socom II on the PlayStation 2. I started the game and went online, then I plugged in the USB headphones and mic that came with the game and listened for contact, and to my surprised it was very quiet, no one was talking. So me being the rookie that I am, or newbie as they call it now, I proceeded to break up the silence and stated the following word for word: ” Hello? Hello? this is Sargent S.D. can anyone read me? over….I repeat, can anyone read me? over!” And then it happened… my first contact with another player from halfway across the world, and he said… ” Hey! whoever that f*g on that mic is needs to shut the f**k up, f**king f*g. I will make you suck my motherf*cking d*ck while I shove my gun up your ass and make you call me daddy, over!” Wow! Now maybe I deserved that, I don’t know, or maybe we were both out of line, because clearly my approach to it was wrong (No one talks like that online) . Because in my head,I had this preconception that playing online with others meant that I get to talk like what I saw and heard in action movies and stuff. Boy was I wrong on that, and he sure did his absolute best to let me know. ( Please note that he did not get a chance to shove his gun up my you-know-what, in case you’re wondering, I left that room promptly as was too embarrassed and shell shocked to stay after that little incident.)
But hey, go right ahead, I double dare you to. I dare anyone reading this article to go and turn on their PS3 or Xbox 360, pop in their favorite multiplayer game, and play online for an few hours, and see if you’ll be able to get through your session without some under-aged, immature, racist, or overzealous idiot stepping completely out of line and ruining it for you. It appears that now in this day and age, the only way to play with others online is to mute everyone and pretend that they’re not actual people. Because if you don’t do that, chances are, you’ll either get bullied, or get insulted and lose your cool, so instead of blowing off steam after a hard day’s work, you find yourself in a heated verbal battle with some kid somewhere, and now you’re so worked up and all ready to punch a cat in the face…..aaarghh!
And cheaters online…aww man, don’t even get me started on that. I really don’t know how someone can pat themselves on the back for cheating everyone else, and somehow think that they’re skillful and take pride in that stuff. And if you’ve ever played Fifa or the Call of Duty series then you’ve probably encountered your fair share of those cheaters as well. I’m sure there are cheaters in other games as well, but I can only speak from personal experiences.
Online Multiplayer has no doubt been a great addition to console gaming. It allows gamers to experience a game beyond just the single player, and provides countless hours of additional non-scripted game play where players can really measure their skills against each other, without having to leave the comfort of their homes. But I also assumed that with such features, online gaming sessions would be more heavily moderated, and bullish behaviors, racist and sexist comments would be punished accordingly. I also thought that repeat offenders with a history of abused would get permanently banned from playing the games for which they got reported for. So I was really puzzled when I realized that a number one selling game franchises like Call of Duty, doesn’t really have a real way of dealing with such problems, and it is not as if the problem is a small one either. Almost anyone who plays online can attest to either being a witness to someone getting bullied or being verbally abused and threatened, or they themselves have been a victim of it.
I realized that this is the first time in console gaming history that online gaming has played such an important role. So to some degree I can see why there a so many cracks in the system. What I’m wondering though, is that with the next generation of consoles fast approaching, will the multiplayer experience be made into a better one? Will it provide a safe, sane, non-abusive environment where players can feel comfortable socializing and gaming together? Will publishers, developers, and console makers take it upon themselves to maker sure that their games, and consoles offers and online community that is safe for every gamer who decides to partake in it, regardless of their background and skin color, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation?
Or is the online gaming community destined to remain what it is to today? A place where there little monitoring and everyone is free to attack and abuse anyone they so choose, with no consequences? What is your take on all this? Is multiplayer in general in need of a fix?