Sorry, I can't hear your abuse, I'm AFK.

   18/05/2010 at 19:33       Rik Jackson       14 COMMENTS.
 - Xbox Live, Voice Chat, Insults, Text-Chat, PC Gaming

Once upon a time, when the Internet was largely occupied by nerds afraid of verbal communication but still willing to hurl abuse at each other, we had text boxes as the standard communication device in pretty much every game.

And it was a good time too. Using words such as 'noob' and 'pwned' without having to listen to people attempt to pronounce them, and the abuse received, no matter how threatening, could always be deflected back by way of humiliation to the sender with some quick wit, followed by a series of lols from your team mates. Quite simply, no one ever took those hate messages seriously, because you couldn't hear the tone of their voice.

Fast forward a number of years I am not willing to count, and consoles have finally caught on to the Internet gaming bandwagon. And with that, in some small part due to the lower resolution of televisions and lack of keyboards, microphone chat quickly became standard.

Voice chat among friends often leads to much hilarity, but once you take that form of communication into areas in which the general public frequent, it is not unusual to be thrown in to combat with a selection of teenaged oddities willing to liberally throw even the most offensive insults at you.

Now during the, as some would say, antiquated period of the keyboard and mouse, you would simply laugh this off. But now it's possible to hear the hate-filled sincerity of their voices being injected directly in to your ear drums, the situation can become more than a little uncomfortable.

Of course, on the Xbox 360 at least, you have the option to simply mute everyone who doesn't reside on your friends list, but jumping in to a public, team-orientated game means anything you do will be completely lacking in co-ordination.

Which is why I have come to the conclusion that text communication in games desperately needs to make a come back. By the next generation of consoles I believe it will be safe to assume that HDTVs will be as standard - that's not too far off now - and there is little reason to cater towards an SDTV user as much as this generation has. And that higher resolution makes text easier to read, and of course (especially with 1080p) gives you have more space on screen in which to put it.

Not only will this save my ears from listening to the screechy voiced unpleasentries, but it also makes the communication itself much, much clearer. Sure, you'd need a keyboard plugged in to exploit the system fully, something not all are willing to do, but just because text chat is reintroduced, it doesn't require every other form of communication to be tossed aside.

Of course the other option is to just go back to PC gaming.

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