The next generation of gaming began just over nine months ago and along with it came a batch of potential new gamers. We pondered over how much the competitiveness throughout online gaming has affected the Xbox community from our early LIVE days to the current. If you were just joining in on the Xbox Live experience how welcome would you feel nowadays? Are gamers becoming so competitive they’d do anything to win? Two of our writers give their insight…
James writes –
Ask most of my Xbox pals and they’ll tell you it’s sometimes impossible to get a word in when I’m in party chat especially when I’m hyped up for a game. This wasn’t always the way though as when I first ventured onto LIVE around 2008 you’d barely get a peep out of me as it was all pretty alien at the time. Luckily those who I ended up playing with on FIFA or Rainbow Six Vegas were decent enough people to welcome me into their gaming sessions or teams regardless of how good I was. Most notably was an American chap that introduced me to his friends, knowing I had virtually no one else on my friends list. This welcome feeling wasn’t a rarity though as even throughout my Call of Duty 4 days, playing with “randoms” didn’t feel strange, I would have conversations with others and most folk were team players that were pretty graceful in defeat. There was the odd foul mouthed individual but it was so infrequent you’d shrug it off.
Skip ahead a few years where teamwork is even more vital, the community is huge and most top games are purely bought for the multiplayer aspect. There’s a plethora of incidents/examples I could tell you about where I’ve despised the online side but I wouldn’t like to bore you so here’s just a selection of those that really stand out…..
Battlefield has cornered the console market on team ethics within an FPS, but sadly not everyone realises that healing or providing ammo is helpful and should you dare ask for a hand it’s like you’re talking to a brick wall (that occasionally answers with an attitude). On Forza, the ultimate driving simulation, you need to be prepared to be smashed if you get near the front, as for the vast majority of the time the other racers alongside you on the grid have to win at all costs and they’ll take down anyone in their way. They don’t seem to realise races aren’t won on the first corner so going full force into it will only cause unneccessary accidents.The lowest of the low however can be found on FIFA and Call of Duty, glitching their names to the top of leaderboards, enhancing football players to beyond natural skill and exploiting buggy parts of the game to help you win. I hope you have thick skin because in a public lobby (Call of Duty) or drop-in match (FIFA), if you don’t play to their standards you will be verbally attacked by your own “TEAM”.
If I logged on today without the network of friends I have for gaming and had to make new connections I think I’d spent most my time on single player games or not bothering at all. Of course not every match or game is like this 24/7 but it’s becoming more widespread to the point where it’s a no win situation, if you gain victory you’re a cheat and if you lose you’re crap (and that’s being polite compared to most negative messages). Too many want to win and they don’t care how they do it as competitiveness has gone through the roof. The realisty is it’s a harsh world, however can’t we all just get along and go back to the basics of gaming…..having fun?
Neil writes –
You see, my foray onto Live has run in the exact opposite format to James. He was the quiet one when first going online, whilst when I first hooked my original Xbox up to the wonderful Live service all those years ago, I was more than happy to talk to anyone…and pretty much did. Ghost Recon and Island Thunder were my first games of choice and the experience on there was second to none. People worked together, chatting as we went and it didn’t take long to find a load of guys I could genuinely call ‘friends’ on Live. We were a mixed bunch from around the world but that didn’t stop us from having a good old time, happily letting newcomers into our games on a regular basis. In fact, I don’t really remember too much aggro or hassle from what we know nowadays as the ‘screaming whining Xbox Live kids’ and whilst we all wanted to do well and top leaderboards, it wasn’t the be-all and end-all of our gaming lives. Winning was nice, but we were mostly there just to have a good time.
But now? Wooahh, it’s a totally different story and I blame part of the problem on the introduction of party chat on the 360. What was before an open area where people would chat, the problem we have now is that if 8 out of 10 people in a lobby are in their own little world, then there is no comeback. There is nothing to make them consider their actions and as such, everything and anything goes, whether that is due to the competitive streaks that run through us as human beings or whether it’s just that in the online world anything goes, I’m not sure. It is human nature that we all want to win, but sometimes we just don’t realise how far we’re pushing things in that quest for ultimate supremacy and maybe we just need to get back to the good old days, with open parties to allow others to perhaps ‘calm us down’ a little. I personally think it would help.
There is also now the whole ‘pro gamer’ culture that has swept the world over the last few years. Whilst we all want to be ‘the best’, very few of us will ever get to a level in which we could be classed as ‘professionals’. I personally don’t care too much for all these pro gaming tournaments that go on around the world as I play games for the fun factor and to have a laugh with mates but maybe others, especially on the Live service, need to go right back to basics and take games for what they were originally intended to be….enjoyment!
Will that ever happen? I doubt it but it’s worth thinking about.
So has online gaming, and especially that found on the Xbox Live service, become too competitve?
If you take everything into account since the birth of Xbox Live, then the answer has to be a resounding YES. Whether that is down to the service provided or those that grace it’s hallowed halls though we aren’t sure.
Maybe the world has just become too competitive in itself?