Better Online Gaming is a weekly series that Christopher Myers discusses the possibilities that could better enhance gamers’ experiences online. This is the first issue of what will hopefully be a long running section that can be found at TheGamerAccess.com.
Each generation of consoles has had a certain niche that propelled certain consoles and companies to success. This generation is no different, especially when looking at the ever growing feud between Sony and Microsoft. The biggest battleground for these two behemoths has expanded beyond the living rooms of millions and is now waged abroad the online front. For many gamers, the console with the best online component is the best console period.
Microsoft, without a doubt, is at the vanguard of online innovation. Online gaming may not have started with Xbox LIVE, but it is the biggest reason why online gaming is at the pinnacle it’s at now. Sony’s PSN, on the other hand, has been playing catch up with their features and interface when compared to LIVE, but that doesn’t mean it’s not compelling either. PSN is doing a good job of matching or improving on some things that LIVE has put on the table, but it’s still a few features short from dethroning LIVE as the online king.
Despite the pros and cons presented by both services, each company is in probably the best position it could be when it comes to providing gamers with the best available online experience, and here’s why:
Right from the gate, Microsoft kicked off with a strong stride when they introduced LIVE, and never had a reason to look back until now. Despite what many fans will tell you, Sony has gained massive ground in a short amount of time. This might seem as though Microsoft has taken a misstep in keeping the competition down, but I think they could very well muster up a second wind and leave the competition in the dust by adding improvements to LIVE before Sony capitalizes on their momentum with PSN.
On the other end, since Sony has been running in Microsoft’s tracks, their service has mainly been looked at as just a shadow when compared to the competition. It wasn’t until recently that said shadow was starting to be seen in a different light and take its own identity. Before, the only advantage PSN had over LIVE was the fact that it was free, and people would constantly counter with, “Well, you get what you pay for.” This was especially true when PSN offered nothing as compelling as what LIVE had. In just two short years, however, the tides have started to sway more in Sony’s direction. If they ride the waves just right, they could even offer things that LIVE have yet to conceive. This would make PSN even more attractive when taken into consideration that PSN is free and LIVE isn’t.
There are many different venues that Microsoft and Sony could examine when making their communities that much more solid, but what could they add to make many gamers’ experiences better? One facet that should be looked into would be the competitive gaming market. Each company has the ability to make competitive gaming much deeper by adding things like integrated clan support, leaderboards or anything that will support more competition between gamers.
Some people may look at integrated clan support and wonder, “Why bother, especially when developers decide to do it themselves?” For one, it would make clan’s much more cohesive. It’s also possible that it could make implementing clan functionality a bit easier for developers since it would already be on the console. It would just be up to them if they wanted to add to the options already given. It could make clans broaden their horizons by not just focusing on one game but also carrying their clans over to multiple games if they choose to do so.
Better yet, genres that haven’t really taken full advantage of clan support could probably embrace the option as well and add more variety to their games. Imagine playing a tag match in DOA or a new Tekken with the much requested tag feature and the match you and your partner is engaged in goes to your overall clan standings, or you and three of your other teammates are playing against four others in GT5 or Forza 3 and what team has the best composite finishes will get a higher score added to their clan standings. There could even be clans dedicated to just getting achievements/trophies, vying for their group to have the highest composite score.
Not only would a clan feature instill competition in gamers, but a person who wants to be a loner and compete against everybody by their self, can access a separate leaderboard designed for individual stats in competitive and casual games. Stats from competitive games could all be compiled from their respective games and viewed individually to show how specific players compare in certain games that they’ve played with statistics such as: k/d ratios, rounds won/loss, time spent playing and etc… If it’s a single player game with few possibilities to compile stats or even the lack of a time attack option, then achievement/trophy scores could be compiled with other considerations such as how many times a person has completed said game, how fast the game was completed and so on and so forth.
So what did you think? Did you agree or disagree? Please leave your comments. Also, if you have any other ideas that you think would add another element to your online gaming, let it be known. If you’d like to contact Chris, you can send him an email at email@example.com, or you can hit him up at Skype. His Skype information is as follows: Full Name: Incognegro, Skype Name: inc06n36r0, Country/Region: United States, State/Province: MS, City: Hattiesburg.