Have you ever been the victim of online abuse whilst playing your favorite shooter? Did they call you rude words, question your parentage and denounce your sexuality? Well, that could all change with Call of Duty Elite, the online shooter's community hub that creates a "social contract" between players to treat each other as "neighbors", not anonymous enemies. That's according to Activision, who have come out in defense of Elite in the wake of criticism over its pricing plan.
"It creates a social contract," explains Activision digital VP Jamie Berger in a chat with Gamasutra regarding Elite. "How can we start behaving as if we live in a neighborhood? You try to treat your neighbors with respect. When you create a true community, that, to me, is the difference between social gaming and a community."
Berger reveals its the community aspect of Elite, being a part of a greater Call of Duty whole than just wandering online every evening to play with randoms, that is creating such unprecedented support and camaraderie. "I think that's where it gets pretty exciting -- where a social network becomes a network that actually lets you go out and participate in something together."
An Elite beta is in full swing, and Berger is pleased to report that testers are being "supportive" and "talking to each other". As a Call of Duty regular, believe it or not being "supportive" and "talking" is pretty unheard of, unless that talk is of the racist or homophobic slant. "I'm really excited about that aspect. It starts breaking a lot of the bad assumptions about what a shooter is," enthuses Berger. "It breaks down those anonymous walls and turns it into something where you start knowing each other."
I was a little skeptical about Call of Duty Elite - and still am - but if it truly can create a better spirit and ensure respect is a high priority, then I'm all for it. Now, however, the question remains over what Activision does when a paying subscriber is repeatedly reported for verbal abuse? Will they turn a blind eye and accept his money? Or treat the matter with the appropriate justice? [Gamasutra]