What Should Be Done About Bad Sports In Video Games?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

What Should Be Done About Bad Sports In Video Games?

Thinking back on childhood, it's not hard to remember the days when "Nuh-uh / Yeah-huh" was considered respectable discourse, and where the ability to invent a counter to a potential enemy attack was enough to render it moot (I have a dog with a built-in force field / I have a dinosaur that eats force field dogs). Fast forward to the present day, where there's online gameplay for all that makes you feel like a ten year old again, assuming you aren't actually squaring off against a ten year old. Bad sportsmanship is somewhat on the rise in gaming, and that's left some wondering if Something shouldn't be, in fact, Done.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of bad sportsmanship in video games comes from League of Legends. But naturally, I couldn't take that reputation seriously, so instead, I went to the video and hit up YouTube. Indeed, I saw strings of video involving what I can only guess are grown men shrieking like little girls who stepped on something because somebody ulted when they ult and committed other acts that, based on the reaction they got on the video, rank right up there with public kitten molestation in terms of sheer untrammeled evil.

Admittedly, poor sports don't make any game fun. Yes, it can be fun to listen to some yutz scream his poor heart out because someone shot him in the back of the head--check out some of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 footage and see if you don't laugh--but having to deal with that kind of sheer crazy for more than a few minutes at a clip can be downright annoying.

Recently. the developers of League of Legends launched what they call the PB&J team--Player Behavior and Justice--as detailed by the folks out at Gamasutra. Anyway, the PB&J team, which packs in a cognitive neuroscientist and a behavioral psychologist, is trying to inject good sportsmanship by a combination of carrot-and-stick sort of measures, but just what those are they're not seemingly willing yet to say.

Some have suggested that bad sportsmanship should carry actual in-game penalties, like reductions in stats or a temporarily hampered game experience (slower running speed, more frequent weapon jamming, etc.), but even these would require a level of monitoring that would prohibitive in many experiences.

Thus, my answer for what should be done about bad sportsmanship can be found right here:

That's right: nothing. Not a single thing. Let the gamers take care of the problem themselves. Instead of trying to pin down how much trash talk is too much, or what's too egregious, let gamers stop playing with those people. Don't like a rage quitter? Block them. Can't block them? That's the system that needs to be added. Let the gamers do their own policing, and if someone's out of control, they likely won't be for long as word gets out.

It may not be the best system, but it certainly is the least intrusive.
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