Is online voice chat destroying online gaming sessions?


Here’s an admission… I am a bit of a schmoozer. There’s very little I enjoy more than a good schmooze with people I know, friends, family, random strangers, (pretty girls), or just about anyone. I think it’s partly the psychologist in me, but also down to the fact that I love learning about different people.

On the other hand, I kind of hate speaking to people on the telephone. It feels awkward. I even get my wife to phone restaurants to order and book tables. It’s weird, but I know many people have the same dislike for things.

So what about online chat? It’s a bit of a mix of the two, but at least there is a standard reason for the online chat, and that is the common game being played. Personally I hate speaking with randoms on any of my games, it puts me right off and feels completely odd. I have no problem chatting with friends while playing games, but even that I don’t love.


Taking this a bit further I want to take a look at the culture of online gaming chat. Recently it was announced that Splatoon won’t have the option of in-game chat, apparently because it is too toxic an environment. Now Splatoon is an online multiplayer, team-based game so not having the ability to chat seems kind of daft to me. People will probably have to find other means to chat while playing to organize things in the team.

Now this isn’t a slam on Splatoon, but rather a question as to whether this is true. Does online chat while gaming really affect the experience so badly that it has to be cut out of games? Would the toxic FPS community be much better if online chat simply didn’t exist, or would it find its way in regardless?

I like to think that online chat has been one of the biggest evolutions in the gaming industry. Perhaps it’s something that we occasionally take for granted but it has definitely improved the experience in many ways in my opinion. It doesn’t mean I need and love it for every game, but there’s something great about coordinating moves inside a game with your friends. Take that away and it all feels a little disconnected.

I suppose the only way to improve things is to monitor the communications but nobody wants to be listened to constantly, that will probably be worse. So what are the options? If you ask me, online chat does have its issues, but maybe it’s time gamers took the initiative to be responsible, and if other people are not being responsible, simply unplug your headset.

What are your thoughts on the online chat? Is it destroying games for you, or in general?

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