Games

GDC 2021: Research on online video game voice chat has come a long way

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Extensive studies of video players often reveal a puzzling problem with the science on the subject: Most of the research on text chat has examined more traditionally than voice chat. But today we have a story that could change that, as Hank Howie, Director of Partnerships at Modulate, gave a quick overview of recent research related to voice chat over the summer. GDC 2021.

Naturally, part of the reason for the increased attention to this research could be because people are more online and communicating more online due to COVID. However, it could also be because online gaming represents the majority of top performing games since 2008 and researchers are starting to catch up with the changing accessibility contained within them. . It may not surprise us, but voice chat users play twice as often as voice chat players chơi. Voice chat helps us interact, supports communication strategies, can be combined with close chat to deepen – and can be used against us. During his talk, Howie really steered the voice conversation home with a double-edged sword with his research review, and while it wasn’t much of a surprise, it was good to see some research. Research shows what we gamers consider common knowledge.

The Anti-Defamation League has a free report on online games discuss things like hate, harassment and also positive experiences through the game including work on voice chat and its role in the game. It won’t come as a surprise to many of our readers, but the report shows that 40% or more people in various online contexts have been harassed in voice chat instead of text chat and PS4 users reported a higher number of voice chat abuse than Nintendo Switch players. It also notes that a Valuable substance The executive producer said she has decided not to use voice chat due to gender-based harassment, which it hopes will lead more game developers to consider harassment by voice chat alone. more seriously.

Although online games make people feel like they have made friends, we must remember that when discuss social bonds, bridges and capital, there’s a big difference between being friends and being a game partner. The latter is often context sensitive and may not go beyond that game, while a true friend is your friend in many contexts. So while a player may feel immediately better with that connection, realizing that the friend is gone after the game is over is sad.

This is a common topic when discussing voice chat. For example, we know women are harassed in voice chat, but a study by Michael McDaniel on women in FPS games shows that the percentage of women who are harassed by voice chat is close to the percentage of women who feel empowered by voice chat. Similarly, a 2021 study by the Trevor Project indicates that while LGBTQ+ children experience higher levels of harmful experiences than their peers, gaming is also where LGBTQ+ people find themselves. “joy and strength”.

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It’s also important to note that children use blocking and reporting tools more often than they do reaching parents with these issues. This is key because, as Howie points out, voice chat isn’t just abused for casual harassment; It is also used for childcare and anti-terrorist recruitment. Even if kids block or report users, those same users “quickly” find them again.

During the pandemic, games have place for people to meet. Our games are fun, but they can also become social platforms for casual conversations to (re)connect with friends we might not otherwise meet like we once were. As Mars Ashton, Assistant Professor of Game Design and presenter of a separate group on social structure during COVID, noted, games can provide players with psychological benefits to help them move beyond away from their basic needs and towards their self-actualization needs. It’s not surprising that online games, including MMOs, have seen their numbers grow, guilds fill up, and emergent gameplay spread.

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However, those social structures can be destroyed or even avoided as a result of poor experiences. Again, it was not surprising to find that 59% of women in one study admitted to hiding their gender identity. We’ve talked about this before, but negative user experiences with voice chat can be partially addressed like a common approach. As Howie notes, you can have multiple people buying a game, but you can’t just measure your success with money. If ADL research shows that 28% of players leave the game due to a negative voice chat experience, that number is now 28% before players who are likely to spread their negative experiences and worse may never become customers for future releases.

It’s in the company’s best interest not only to understand the positive aspects of voice chat – and obviously a lot more! – but also the negatives and the best way to deal with them. I still don’t understand why voice filters aren’t popular, especially in online games, where for decades gamers have documented their ill-treatment at the hands of players. malicious players, but the quality of these products is not always excellent. In our community, we can talk about some of the solutions we’ve found to help limit the negative aspects of voice chat and hopefully increase positivity.

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https://massivelyop.com/2021/07/20/gdc-2021-research-on-online-video-game-voice-chat-has-come-a-long-way/ | GDC 2021: Research on online video game voice chat has come a long way

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