Video Games

Communication in Video Games

Video games today are not just games. Video games are not just a one on one situation with artificial intelligence, they are much more now. Video games have gone from fighting the “computer” to playing each other in what is called multiplayer gameplay. In the last ten years, video games have been taken to the internet. The vast space that is the internet allows for competition as close as the next door neighbor to as far as a different state or even a different continent. With multiplayer games, it becomes almost necessary to be able to communicate with your online friends and foes. From console games to computer games, described below are some of today’s most popular forms of communication within video games.

PlayStation Network

In 2006 the PlayStation 3 was released by Sony, and according to Media Create, it sold 81,639 units within the first 2 days of release. [1] Sony is always in competition with Microsoft when it comes to gaming, so it offers the PlayStation Network for free. Sony puts much emphasis on the Playstation Network “calling it an always on and always connected device.” Because of this endless connectivity, Sony also states that the PlayStation Network “is fundamentally based on a community, communication commerce, and content.” [2] Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network is free. The PlayStation Network includes: online multiplayer gaming, text and chat, voice chat for real-time communication, video chat, and access to the PlayStation Store which is good for renting or purchasing media. [3]

Xbox Live

In 2005 the Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and has exceeded 31 million units sold to date. [4] Xbox Live is a subscription based service for the Xbox 360. Xbox Live offers what are called silver accounts and gold accounts. Silver is free and gold offers everything silver offers plus multiplayer gaming support. In the United States the annual cost for a gold subscription is $49.99. The gold subscription offers multiplayer and cooperative gaming, Xbox Live Marketplace, TrueSkill matchmaking, party chat, gamer feedback, and the ability to stream Netflix movies at no additional charge. [5] Xbox Live is always evolving more than the PlayStation Network. Some of the upcoming features include: Last.fm – which will stream music and radio, Social networking via Facebook and Twitter, and the Zune Marketplace – which will be similar to Netflix but will always stream in high definition.

Ventrilo

Ventrilo, a freeware, is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) group communications program for use with Windows and Mac operating systems. Similar to Skype, communications within the program are made through a headset and microphone. Ventrilo is generally used by computer gamers playing multiplayer games such as first-person shooters and MMORPGs. Ventrilo helps give players a competitive edge within computer games because it allows for communication by voice, thus leaving the hands open to play. Ventrilo allows the user to fully customize anything they hear within the program. “Ventrilo is best known for its superior sound quality and minimal use of CPU resources so as not to interfere with day to day operations of the computer or during online game competitions.” [6] Ventrilo is a very user friendly program with an easy to learn interface. Ventrilo is sometimes used as a method for calling in on radio shows. A few of the non-technical features of Ventrilo include: voice communication with multiple people, private communication, text-to-speech voice generation, built in chat, built in server browser, and the ability to record and playback voice streams. [7]
In recent years video games have evolved from the mindless hitting of buttons to intelligent competitions and interactions with other humans. Sitting in front a computer game all day no longer means just staring a screen learning nothing. Research shows that recently, video games have been found to promote social interaction. According to a recent study; “An interdisciplinary team of researchers concludes that some games promote sociability and new worldviews." [8]

References

1. http://kotaku.com/gaming/sony/japanese-ps3-sales-data-also-depressing-214864.php
2. http://www.gamespot.com/news/2005/05/16/news_6124681.html
3. http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/Features/PSN
4. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6216343.html?tag=recent_news;title;5
5. http://www.xbox.com/NR/exeres/F925FE0C-E310-491A-82E0-7A604A353BFB.htm
6. http://www.ventrilo.com/
7. http://www.ventrilo.com/about.php
8. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-08/uoia-sov081706.php