Last night I signed on LIVE for a little Team Fortress 2 fun. You see, after Mass Effect dropped, I blacked out for a few weeks. When I woke, aside from realising that a monkey had written my posts for some time (the experiment was a success, btw), that Orange Box was sorely in need of some attention. So I played some TF2. And then I remembered, again, what I despise most about Xbox LIVE.
You know it almost instantly. Waiting for a game to load, it's always the one who speaks first. You know, the kid. He hasn't hit puberty, and he wants to talk. And then he wants to sing to himself. Oh, and he also, inevitably, sorta sucks at the game. But truth be told, this isn't a bad person—he's not attacking sexuality or making racial slurs—he's just a kid being an annoying kid. Hell, he's probably the coolest 8 to 12-year old his block has ever seen, but I don't hang out with him. In short, neither of us are bad people here, but when I inevitably mute him, that's not doing any real service to me, my team or that energetic young lad who just wants to have fun with his peers. So I wonder why Xbox LIVE, just as they offer players social and ranked matches and plenty of skill level matching, doesn't offer its various demographics the option to match opponents by age as well. LIVE has the userbase to make the idea feasible. And the chance to meet not just other players but actual friends online would grow dramatically.
Because at the end of the day, Microsoft's software works pretty well. While there will always be issues with lagging and the such, the main complaints I hear are about that small whining group of preteens who can spoil a game for everyone. So why not fix what may be the platform's biggest current problem in a way that's fair to everyone?