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The article claims that inside games "most communication is through text". This makes me think they haven't seen very many real gamers. There's no mention of voice chat's extensive use inside games for everything from gameplay to homework advice from buddies. Pretty clueless.



Agreed. Gaming-oriented discords (or their predecessors, mumble, teamspeak, skype) are often a social networks of their own - complete with the social drama that often comes with social networks. I love games, but I've never felt comfortable in any gaming group due to the fact that being female in one of those groups almost always means you end up getting a special sort of attention or making others uncomfortable by your presence. My husband has been in a few of these groups throughout the years though, so I often listen in since he plays through the speakers. Some groups are more competitive and oriented to a specific game, others are just groups of friends who pick a game based on who's around and what games they have, but the social aspect is critical in each. In competitive ones people typically want to prove themselves as valuable teammates, while in casual ones people just want to share a experience with friends. The one huge difference I have seen between gaming social groups and social media though is that it's typically much easier to ditch your gaming group since you don't always have connections to those people in other ways. It's more socially acceptable to say you just changed gaming preferences when you want to avoid interacting with certain people who play that game, meanwhile deleting your whole social media profile or blocking a bunch of people is more prone to being judged harshly.

So I think the article is way off base with dismissing the social aspect of games as a major draw for guys. But there are truths to there being significant differences in the way the social networks manifest. My personal hypothesis would be it's related to differences in the "stickiness" of the platforms over which communication primarily occurs now.


Hunting had a social aspect too.

But it wasn't a social activity. Just like gaming, it's gaming the majority of the time.

Social activities have parts that are similar to gaming, like when a group of friends ends up playing beer pong. But it's a social activity, not gaming.

And that's where we make the distinction.


I don't really see it. Hunting for survival and social game-playing to pass the time and hang out with people are different motivators. Game playing as a social activity has existed in many different cultures throughout history. Think about the popularity of simple dice and card games as recreational social activities throughout history. Most people who played those games didn't care about the game itself, it was just something to do with people and maybe they would win and get a bit of a thrill (or some cash when a gambling element was attached).

So if the theory is that men just like games themselves, and that the social element is not a big factor in frequent game playing - then better comparison then would be to compare gambling habits between male and females. One study showed that among people with gambling problems, men were more likely to participate in sports betting, poker, and casino games - all games with a high social element and where it's possible to have a network of regulars you befriend and play with (and which in most casinos I've been to, those games have a social environment that is male-dominant). Meanwhile, women gambling addicts were more likely to be use single-player machines (poker/blackjack machines, slots) while gambling [1], which seems to indicate they are more likely addicted to the games themselves and rush of winning. I could be missing something and maybe women like go out playing with a group of friends and chat while playing - but every time I see people playing video gambling, they usually seem pretty enthralled with their machine.

But then there's also a big difference in the number of women who gamble and rate of addiction to gambling between men and women (with men more likely to play and be addicted in the first place). So again, I'm not disputing that there are differences and that some men are genuinely just obssesed with games themselves - but I do think that the social network factor and "stickiness" factor of that social network is hugely important to understanding why many guys spend such a disproportionate amount of time playing video games vs social media or other social activities, and why it's not necessarily so different from other social activities.

[1] https://doi.org/10.1080/14459795.2018.1495750


In higher level competitive scenarios, yeah voice is predominant. However, that is by no means the majority. They only seem like a bigger segment of gamers because they're loud and make themselves known. All they said was that most is done through text, which is true


Even nearly 20 years ago I was hanging out daily on voice chat servers with my Counter-Strike buddies.

It wasn't just for coordination in-game, just hanging out and talking while sometimes not even playing, because that's what even male friends do: They talk.

It's even more dominant with consoles where since the 360/PS3 era voice has also seen quite high adoption rates even more common than in PC gaming.

Then there's Discord which is very much the millennial version of "hanging out in IRC all day" culture combining text and voice chat.


Firstly, you're talking about CS which is one of few games where voice chat is more of the norm. Whats funny is that I still to this day get stuck in pugs with half the team not having mics. For console games like COD, most causal games I played few people had mics. But what we are talking about is competitive games more or less which does generally get more attention than Viva Piñata or something like that. And, if you look at something like LoL or Dota2 voice chat is either non-existent or no one uses it. I have ran into so few people using their mics in Dota2 and that is a competitive game. Instead people ping or type in chat.

When I played MMORPGs, which I think we can all agree are pretty popular, very few people had mics. For WoW people would connect to Vent but most didn't have a mic. It was useful for raids, but most of the time communication was via text chat. When playing MapleStory I would sit on Vent with my friends who often played on entirely different servers and no one on that game actually used Vent or TS regularly as part of their daily grind, it was almost exclusively chat.

So, I think the assertion that voice chat is a minority is probably correct. And like you said Discord is beyond a voice chat for gaming. I am in plenty of Discord channels and I have never once entered into a voice chat with anyone. It's a community chat room that happens to offer a voice chat option. Plenty of people use voice chat while gaming, but I don't think it's by and large the majority.


> Firstly, you're talking about CS which is one of few games where voice chat is more of the norm.

For close to 20 years, as such, it's hardly something new. That's just how communities organized back then: Around clans and servers.

Matchmaking killed a lot of that, but the clan structure helps retain some of it. That's something a whole lot of people, particularly younger ones, participate to this day without ever fully going "pro" because there's a pretty massive middle ground between "absolutely casual gaming" and "sponsored organized pro gaming".

> For console games like COD, most causal games I played few people had mics.

Did you actually play with friends? There's a reason "party chat" features like Xbox Live Party were heavily demanded for many years.

> When I played MMORPGs, which I think we can all agree are pretty popular, very few people had mics. For WoW people would connect to Vent but most didn't have a mic.

That's completely opposite to my experience in vanilla Wow: Organizing and managing 40 man raids without voice chat was pretty much impossible.

Just like daily guild live mostly happened on a voice chat server, where people would hang out even when they were not playing.

> So, I think the assertion that voice chat is a minority is probably correct. And like you said Discord is beyond a voice chat for gaming.

If you define voice chat as solely "voice chat interactions with randoms in public rounds" then maybe yes, but your mileage will vary vastly depending on the platform and genre.

Discord also isn't "beyond a voice chat for gaming", it's pretty much just the modern manifestation of server centered communities like they used to be a thing with CS game servers and still are a thing to this day with "Clan TS2 servers", Discord is just a natural evolution of those where people don't have to pay rent/bandwidth for a server.


> For close to 20 years, as such, it's hardly something new. That's just how communities organized back then: Around clans and servers.

CS is not new, but it's one game. And even within this one game, many people do not have mics. Most people don't play exclusively with pre-mades they play pugs. Either via MM or Faceit (and to a lesser extent these days, ESEA). If you pug you'll find most people don't use mics at all.

> Matchmaking killed a lot of that, but the clan structure helps retain some of it. That's something a whole lot of people, particularly younger ones, participate to this day without ever fully going "pro" because there's a pretty massive middle ground between "absolutely casual gaming" and "sponsored organized pro gaming".

Most people don't play in clans or pre-mades like I said before. Yes, the move visible players do use voice chat, and at the highest levels it's uncommon for people to not use it. But a bulk of players in CS do not fall into these categories whatsoever. The average ranking is Gold Nova-ish which is far from the top end of the player base.

> Did you actually play with friends? There's a reason "party chat" features like Xbox Live Party were heavily demanded for many years.

Yes, I played in a clan starting in MW2 - BO2 or MW3 (I forget which came out last) and plenty of my clan members didn't have mics during clan events, let alone just playing random games. This was on Playstation Network, so maybe Xbox players used this way more, I can't speak to that.

> That's completely opposite to my experience in vanilla Wow: Organizing and managing 40 man raids without voice chat was pretty much impossible.

I guess this depends on how dedicated your groups were. We had 40 people in voice chat, but really only the party leaders regularly had mics in Vent or TS. This was enough to organize and successfully raid. But I guess YMMV here. All other MMOs I've played voice chat was essentially non-existent and you chatted with random people more often anyways since you didn't need pre-made parties or your guild to do most of the events. Using MapleStory (since I played the shit out of that) Party Quests were almost always just randoms in channel 1 not your friends. This echos the experiences I had playing Eve and Rift when that came out.

> Discord also isn't "beyond a voice chat for gaming", it's pretty much just the modern manifestation of server centered communities like they used to be a thing with CS game servers and still are a thing to this day with "Clan TS2 servers", Discord is just a natural evolution of those where people don't have to pay rent/bandwidth for a server.

Discord isn't used exclusively for in game chat in my experience. I'm part of plenty of communities on discord that have nothing to do with gaming, and even the gaming communities don't focus around chatting while gaming. They are usually to keep up with whatever the community is focused on, be it a streamers Discord or whatever. I'm not saying that Discord isn't used similar to TS or Ventrilo but it's beyond what those services did, and they aren't dedicated to just voice chatting with your group. It's a far more versatile service.


That's an assumption. I'm pretty certain there is no data on text vs mic use in casual games, and my anecdotal experiences suggest the opposite. There is also a qualitative difference between "gg ez :^)" and chatting on mic.


That's a pretty big omission. Part of why I stopped playing FPS games is specifically because voice chat is both A- Important to team coordination and B- Full of the worst examples of human speech you can encounter. Weird take on their part for sure.


The vast majority of in-game communication is through text, across most games. Voice is picking up momentum (via Discord, etc.) but it's still text


This sounds to me like they haven't updated their sources in fifteen or twenty years. Text chat was huge back in the Starcraft/Age of Empires era.

I'm sure it exists in newer games, but I have no idea where I'd find it in most of the games I've played from the past decade.


I think text is more common for casual gaming with strangers. The only times I find myself using voice chat is when playing with friends or playing competitive team based games. If I'm just playing casual counter strike I tend to not bother putting on a headset and moving my microphone.


Problem is that it's not as easily trackable. So in order to safe the effort, just declare text as the "winner".


I play a lot of games but never used voice chat. But I never play multiplayer either.


Is single-player at all relevant to the "in-game communication" topic? That's not entirely rhetorical, since it's possible I'm missing something, but this seems like a complete non sequitur.


Every game I have ever played required voice chat. But I only play board games.




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