1337 Online Gaming

I've played my share of online games. I used to play World of Warcraft and other MMOs. Right now, I'm enjoying just messing around with games where the experience is non-persistent. Counter Strike: Source can be fun if you don't care about how awesome you are. I also get a laugh out of the cartoony world of Team Fortress 2.

But, here's the deal: I propose everyone chip in five bucks to create an offshore island (be it figurative or literal, it's not important) where we can deposit every gamer who is either A) under 16, B) unemployed, or C) otherwise amazingly awesome at every game they ever play. We might also want to consider adding in everyone who believes in-game voice chat was invented for them to see how many profanities they can string together inside a two-minute interval.

This island will feature complete and (if they choose) identical versions of all the popular online games they enjoy. They won't have to pay to license the games as the $5-from-everyone-else system covers that cost. We'll cut massive deals with game publishers to create servers that only connect to people on the island. We'll also airlift shipments of Mt. Dew, Hot Pockets, Razor gaming mice, and new computers/consoles to the island on a weekly basis. The power supply on the island will be operated from a geothermal power station that can operate for 100 years between maintenance cycles.

Once all the logistics are in place, we sever all contact. They can access the internet to download cheats and hacks, but the proxy servers won't let them post things to message boards, social networks, or otherwise pollute the tubes with tales of conquest.

So, what does this accomplish? Well, the rest of us might actually get to enjoy some of these online competitive games. Certainly, there are games (many of the MMOs) that are geared towards Player vs. Content experiences, but once the island is cut off from the rest of the population, those MMOs might be able to relax future content. They can allow a more engaging and creative experience for people who actually enjoy reading the story to the game and looking at all the talent put into textures, models, animation, maps, etc.

As for Player vs. Player experiences, the enjoyment of these games will increase immediately. The counter-terrorist who can spin-jump around a corner with a 1960s-era, Soviet-made riffle and deposit several bullets in your skull from 50 yards before touching the ground will be on the island. The spy who can one-shot 3 people on your team in quick succession before anyone has the chance to turn around will be on the island. The list goes on...

I also think it's a win-win for game developers who have a hard time keeping up with the voracious consumption of all new content. Since it's the top 10% of the population that seems to always chew through content in the fastest possible manner, moving them to the island won't impact the expectations of your more pedestrian customers. Those of us with jobs and families won't feel we're holding our online friends back when we can't invest 10 hours into a game each week.

Just my $0.02