Christmas Network Difficulties – What They Really Told Us

If you were like many gamers last week, you probably tried to hop online to play some new game you might have gotten for Christmas; only to wind that hackers had DDoS’ed the networks of both major home online consoles. They were both down for two days before the engineers were able to get the networks reliably working again. This isn’t the first time the networks were taken down, by apparently the same group this year. And while this really is getting old, I think it’s becoming a sad part of playing games in the current console world.

It’s a part of having all the awesome new potential that the new online only consoles have. We now have to put up with consumers with technical skills that can take down the network for everyone, with little to no consequence. There’s no real way to truly combat them either, without really restricting a bunch of the freedom we have. I think what this has shown has just reinforced my thoughts on “gamers” across the board.

At their core, gamers are good – we like playing the games, want to share our experiences and find communities to play with. However there are plenty of other people within the communities that have other motives. If their goals aren’t being met, than they see it as a failing of the companies we support, and as a result they have to take in their own hands to “fix” it. That could amount to complaining about the ending of a game (Mass Effect 3) to taking more unscrupulous methods, like this past week’s attack. Ultimately, it’s really unlikely that these attacks will actually amount to any changes. Microsoft and Sony both have their courses set – any attack that they think would legitimately worry them would be dealt with much more aggressively than the recent DDoS attacks. The attack on the Sony executive’s plane is an example – the consequences of that attack will be much more dire than anything that comes of this DDoS attack. These gamers are the incredibly vocal minority – entitled, spoiled and loud – and as a result they get press time with their attacks. It’s like the GG fiasco earlier this year – change scares them, if it’s not the change they want, so they attack it.

There’s no real way to counter them, other than just suffer them gracefully. Unfortunately it’s part of life these days – hopefully in the new year there’s a better community spirit to counter these pointless outbursts.

Weekly News Recap: Week of August 25th, 2014

Madden NFL 15After last week’s rather slow news period, this week was definitely more active, albeit with some pretty terrible stories. As I do every Friday, here’s the big headlines from the past week.

Last week I made the conscious choice to not talk about the Zoe Quinn story mainly because at the time I thought it was a private issue that some jaded ex-boyfriend decided to put out on the Internet. Over the last week though, it’s become very clear that there is a very vocal portion of certain areas of the web that have trouble dealing with the fact that games have become a major entertainment media – they are made for everyone, and are marketed for everyone. Those people have taken it upon themselves to spew hatred and vile directed at anyone that they don’t consider true “gamers,” which unfortunately over the last couple weeks has been almost exclusively women. It’s embarrassing to the wider gaming community, not to mention an embarrassment to general humanity – these people disgust me and the comments that I’ve seen infuriate me to no end. The second part that has bothered me is the vitriol I’ve seen directed at the people that have been calling attention to this issue. The people that are saying it’s just “how the Internet is” don’t get it, that it shouldn’t be that way and that it has to change. This is a story that will definitely continue to be in the news, and hopefully it will start to turn around.

The other lovely bit of news that happened this past weekend was a group decided it would be prudent to attack the PSN with a DDoS attack. For the uninformed, a DDoS attack essentially is a huge number of false attempts to access a network, which ultimately overwhelms the servers and basically results in shutting the service down for a period of time. The apparent reason for the attack was that this group was unhappy with how Sony was using the money they make, as it pertains to the Network. So the best course of action in their mind was to take down the whole network for everyone. It also seems to be that the same group had sent a bomb threat to the airplane that the Sony Online Entertainment President was on. Now that same group has the FBI investigating them, and thanks to their idea of threatening a plane will be investigated as terrorists.

Switching gears away from terrible news about horrible people, we’ve finally reached that magical week of the summer. Madden NFL ’15 came out this past Tuesday. While I’m not the biggest sports game fan, the release of Madden every year is a great indicator that the summer down time is over and we’ve reached that magic time of year when new games come out just about every week. We have a down week this coming Tuesday, but after that, it’s Destiny time.

The other really awesome bit of news is that this weekend is PAX Prime, and I fully expect to see a few new bits of news come out of the conference. I saw a rumor floating around that we might see a new Saints Row announced at the show, but we’ll have to wait till after the weekend to know for sure.