Xbox Gamer Spotlight: The Horrors of Fame
All in all, it sounds like a great way to unlock that rare "internet celebrity" achievement, for whatever it's worth. But like the old adage goes, there's always a price for fame -- something Wombat found out firsthand.
In the website's CAGcast, Wombat revealed that being a featured gamer isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, it became a pretty horrible experience, one that opened him up to verbal and written abuse from the generous Xbox LIVE Community.
After Wombat's profile was spotlighted, his Message inbox was bombarded with recorded verbal and written responses. Aside from receiving simple greetings and kindly fan response, Wombat was shocked to hear what the other half had to say. He was slammed with hate-filled tirades that berated him on his weight, ethnicity, and Spotlight worthiness -- some comments bordered on extremely offensive (homophobic and racial insults) and even threatening. Imagine one of those f*bomb filled multiplayer gaming sessions with 12 year old boys, but multiplied a thousand-fold with no mute button in sight.
Wombat's bad experience became a topic of investigation for one intrepid CAG member E*Master who began a blog posting to shed more light into the disturbing harrows of Gamer Spotlight fame. Certainly, Wombat's experience is only an isolated case of celebrity-hate gone wrong, right? Or is it?
E*Master took it upon himself to research the matter and hopefully expose any danger gamers may subject themselves to by being in the spotlight -- something that Microsoft neglects to warn you about. E*Master contacted five featured gamers from the past. One out of the five had changed their gamer tag: i 1337loe i. Why she did so is a mystery, but one can deduce the contributing factors.
Another featured gamer kittypryde87 did respond to E*Master's inquiry. And as expected, her experience mirrored Wombat's:
Furthermore, she stated that people went as far as sending her their naked crotch shots through the LIVE Vision Cam. Funny is one thing, but that is downright sexual harassment.
Seems like Gamer Spotlight comes with a pretty bad trade-off for what should be simple innocuous fun for the community. Of course, you are allowed to report anyone you choose, but the situation becomes hopeless when facing a mailbox full of fools. Wombat confessed he didn't -- not one person was reported. So shouldn't Microsoft take more responsibility in warning gamers of the hazard of being featured or at least step in to protect consumers from sexual advances and racial hatred. Ignoring that it exists may encourage others to continue with this type of lewd behavior because it does not come with real life ramifications or punishment.
The psychology behind this hazing reveals a disturbing trend in our increasing internet-focused culture. Like the invention of the phone generations before, the growing integration of internet into home entertainment has opened up access to the world exponentially. But with this we also subject ourselves to more and more negativities, spurred on by the mask of anonymity and the internet troll mentality. It's a power play. People lash out at others because they think they can get away with it. There seems to be moral decline in today's youth, brought on in part by the modern world's ADD/You Tube/Twitter lifestyle. Parenting has become less structured. Parental authority has been replaced by the desire of parents to be pals with their child instead of adults, perhaps in cyclic reaction to the strict parenting of the 50s and conservatism of the 80s.
How would you solve the Gamer Spotlight problem, or address the rude behavior over Xbox LIVE in general? What would you want Microsoft to do? Is it out of everyone's hand? Drop us a comment and let us know what you think!
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