56: Live Disruption

"Josh Smith, a blogger, decided to conduct his own survey last December. He played for 33.9 hours on Xbox Live with the original Xbox. He recorded 641 instances of profanity during that time. The most common curse was "f***." The word accounted for 43 percent of the instances and occurred about eight times an hour." Dean Takahashi takes a look at Microsoft's corner of the online gaming world in Live Disruption.

Live Disruption

I have a relevant, but totally anecdotal observation to add to this, Dean. I noticed it immediately upon picking up the Xbox 360 on launch day and logging on to Xbox live. Perhaps it was the pure joy of unleashing the power of a new system, or some kind of honeymoon period of Xbox Live Love, but whatever the cause, the effect was a kind of eerie calm. Players were actually nice to each other. Common practice in Project Gotham Racing was to warn your opponents if you were pulling out of a draft maneuver to pass them or (gasp) even apologize if you bumped their car into a spin on the way by. On two occasions I even got into real conversations with other players I'd never met before.

When did this strange calm period end? When did Project Gotham players start slamming you into a wall and cursing your mother on the way by? Why December 25th of course, when hundreds of thousands of pounds of teenagers ripped the wrappings off their shiny new 360's and joined the fray. Perhaps the solution is as simple as requiring a mandatory verified birthday entry somewhere in the signup process, and allowing players the option to filter out their matchmaking by age. I know I yearn for those days of the 360 launch when, "hey, passing on your left, man" was much more common than, "bleep your bleeping mom on the wall bleep!"


It was Billy Conolly who said "anyone can swear, but only a few know how to do it fucking well." Listening to Conolly, or even Richard Prior, is inspiring, because they know about timing and context. There is a flow, a poetry to good swearing.

Swearing is an important part of the English language, and should be used appropriately, but when most kids don't know the difference between There, Their and They're, is it any wonder that they can only spew verbal diarrhea from their ritalin raddled orifice?

I notice that the Poms and Aussies I play with know how to swear, and I think that's because we have incredibly good school systems, whereas the American school system get's a "D".

"diarrhoea" "Ritalin" "orifice"

I just had to check them myself with Google.

I got the 360 on 22nd December, launchday in Germany, and got a headset right away. The first few days I was delighted by the community that gathered on live. I talked to a whole bunch of people about all kinds of stuff and added a lot of those to my friends list. Now I rarely turn my headset on and play most games only with friends I already know in a private chat channel.
It's not so much the swearing but the sheer rubbish and plain dumb "gangsta talk" you have to listen to. The gameplay quality has as well suffered over the last months as you pointed out. I can totally subscribe to your observations Jacob.
The age filter possibly would do the trick for many more mature gamers. Thumbs up for that idea.

People, people. It's well known XBL is full of griefers, just like almost every other anonymous online community.

That's why people who are tired of playing with the pottymouthed racist sexist jackasses organize themselves into online gaming communities that exclude the said jackasses.

There're several very popular online gaming communities for the more mature gamers. I belong to Seasoned Gamers (http://www.seasonedgamers.com/). I couldn't be happier. The gaming experience is just plain old fun.


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