Every gamer on Earth has some longwinded explanation as to why his preferred console is far better than all of the other options. 360 owners usually cite Xbox LIVE, PS3 owners usually talk about graphical capability, and PC owners toss around the phrase "World of Warcraft" a lot. Since each system has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, the argument can never be conclusively settled.
However, the discussion itself raises an even more interesting question: Why are gamers so vitriolic toward other gamers? If Freud were still around, he would probably say that aggression is instinctual, and that these online communities offer a certain level of freedom from the restrictions of society. And, while he might be right, he would also be boring. In fact, the question itself seems far too academic to be interesting, so I'm here to ask the important question: Which platform has the most a-holes?
In order to answer this question, I have been conducting my own semi-scientific (or non-scientific, if you're an actual scientist) experiment, which attempts to identify/classify player behavior, quantify individual instances, and attach a final score to the community as a whole.
It's finally time to put my college education to good use, by performing research into an area of study that people actually care about: gamer behavior.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that there are major flaws in my methodology, but considering that I completed most of the research in my living room without the any pants on, I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
First off, I needed to find a game that existed on all three platforms and drew a similar type of crowd. This way, the data would more closely reflect the players' system of choice rather than their favorite game, age, race gender, etc.
However, this method has its own set of problems. The most obvious being that by selecting a specific game, I may not be gathering an entirely accurate cross section of the platform's population. People who play Minecraft, for instance, may not be the same type of people who play Counter-Strike: Source, but both communities are primarily found on a PC. However, for the purposes of this experiment, it was important to find the most homogeneous population across all three platforms, rather than digging into the intricacies of each individual system.
To accomplish this, I selected the best-selling game of 2011: Modern Warfare 3. This title is extremely popular across all three systems. Also, this made my experiment far more entertaining, because MW3 players tend to have very little control over the things that come out of their mouths.
Here is my process: I would enter a server and calculate how many of the players had microphones. If fewer than 50% had mics, I exited the server immediately. Once I found a game, I could calculate the number of people in the server who would participate in racist speech, sexism, personal attacks or were simply being purposefully annoying. No calculations were made during the actual game, only in between rounds.
These calculations were made across 100 games on each of the three systems (I obviously had help). Here are our results.
Incidents of Racism: Xbox 360: 32, PS3: 37, PC: 45
Incidents of Sexism: Xbox 360: 8, PS3: 10, PC: 11
Personal Attacks: Xbox 360: 9, PS3: 13, PC: 22
Blatant Annoyance: Xbox 360: 6, PS3: 4 PC: 18
As you can see from my limited research, PC gamers were by far the most racist, sexist, angry, and annoying group of multiplayer gamers on the internet. PS3 owners took a distant second place with 360 owners trailing just behind.
The differences between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 were pretty minor, except in the annoyance category where the PS3 actually got the lowest score.
Across every platform, players tended to be far more racist than sexist, which probably makes women happy, unless those women are apart of a minority group.
Now don't get me wrong, the Xbox 360 has its fair share of jerks, but, if you think about it, these numbers actually make a fair amount of sense. Xbox LIVE members have a financial interest in remaining (at least) slightly more civil than the other platforms. If they get banned, they have to buy a new console. However, both the PS3 and the PC have very few restrictions on gamer conduct and the consequences for both are nonexistent. This effect is compounded by the fact that piracy is far more profuse among PC gamers, so their investment is often even less than it would be for PS3 gamers.
I should also point out that Xbox 360 owners tend to be younger than PS3 and PC owners. In fact, PC gamers tend to be older overall. I'm hoping that this doesn't mean gamers grow more racist as they age, but rather that they tend to lose control over the things that they say. Inversely, younger gamers often tend to be far more annoying, but it's not really on purpose, so they don't meet the criteria for my experiment. However, if I had added a category called "Inadvertent Annoyance" Xbox 360 owners would definitely have come out on top.
So if you're a console owner, you can take comfort in the fact that, no matter how terrible you are, there's probably someone playing on the PC who's worse. But if you're a PC gamer, you might be a sociopath.
Date: February 3, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*