With Christmas fast approaching, and with so many consoles to choose from as well as the onslaught of new consoles such as Xbox One, the PS4 and smaller consoles such as the Nintendo 2DS. With all new consoles being able to connect to the internet, I decided to evaluate some of the pros and cons of the phenomenon that is online gaming.
Exclusive Content – One of the best reasons for taking your gaming online is to access the exclusive content that is available for whatever it is you’re playing. For example, the unlockable playable characters and skins offered online for Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham City is a great incentive to get gamers going online.
Try Before You Buy – Another benefit of online gaming systems, is that demos are made available for gamers so that they can have a go at playing that potential purchase and decide how much they really want it before investing. Plus, as an extra bonus, you can buy games right then and there, without having to rush out to the store.
Interaction with other people – Online gaming enables people to socialise whilst playing, helping people to maintain relationships by interacting with family and friends across the globe. This can be beneficial for gamers, by reinforcing team-building skills and adding more tactical and strategic elements to game-play, this in turn can help develop lateral thinking and increase your memory.
Competitiveness – Online gaming allows you to compare your playing against a whole range of other players, and there is a feel good factor in knowing that you’re a better player than someone else. Knowing that it isn’t artificial intelligence that you’re up against naturally installs more competitiveness, and as you’re not always going to be the best, it will teach players to display good showmanship, hopefully.
Elitism – Online gaming has created it’s own brand of elitism with the purchase of newly released games. Companies can use the marketing of redeemable codes that allow for bonus content and material, to encourage buyers to invest in brand new games and discourages buying pre-owned. However, this means that if you are a budget gamer, then you’re liable to miss out and get fined for your disloyalty with extra fees in order to unlock these features.
System Updates – So, you turn on your console, and are about to download a game, or play online when suddenly, a system update pops up and delays your game-time, while you wait for it to sort itself out and then reboot. A small annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.
Interaction with other people – Both a pro and a con. If you’re a social butterfly, then you may love the option to socially interact whilst gaming. If however, you’re a bit of a sourpuss (like me) then the extra effort of socialising in your downtime seems abominable. Also, whilst playing online against your friends is all fine and dandy, sometimes you never know who you may come across, people who may sabotage your game, just because they can get away with it.
Glitches /Server Issues– Glitches are essentially viruses in a game that cause it to run irregularly; this is an issue with all gaming, however, they do seem to be more prevalent online. Battlefield 3 was plagued with strange glitches, and the Call of Duty Games has suffered server connection difficulties. Even the highly acclaimed, Grand Theft Auto V has been experiencing a series of glitches and server difficulties that are frustrating for gamers, such as missed story mode missions, corrupted auto saves, bank and cash deletions as players just getting a blank screen when try to play online. Although, it has been announced that the latest updates should resolve the issues.
Piracy – In 2011, Sony had to tackle a huge scandal, breaching copyright laws and enabling users to illegally pirate games from their PS3 Store and it presented a huge problem for the world of online console gaming. The scandal caused a lot of controversy amongst PS3 owners, when Sony shut down some of the online features that honest customers would have paid for, in order to prevent future hackers. Back in 2009, Microsoft made a similar move with X-Box, blocking all X-Box Live accounts of gamers who were thought to have modified their console in order to play pirated games.
What do you think are the pros and cons of online gaming?
Tell us in the comments section below.