Emergency Alerts May Be Coming to Your Xbox

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Emergency Alerts May Be Coming to Your Xbox

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The State of New York is testing a plan which could broadcast emergency alerts over your Modern Warfare 2 match. Great.

At the Interop conference in New York City last week, New York State Deputy CIO Rico Singleton said that the state is considering alerting citizens to possible emergencies over online gaming networks in addition to more traditional networks. The process is in the testing phase now, and is part of the state's initiative to embrace communication over the internet.

It is unclear on which "online gaming network" they are testing the emergency alerts, but one would assume that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo would all participate. No details were given as to how the alerts would be displayed, but the alerts could be a text scrawl at the bottom of the screen, or, even worse, an interruption of play. Or it might just be a "channel" you could check to see if an earthquake or zombie apocalypse was coming your way.

Singleton said that the plan only makes sense "considering the amount of time our youth spend on videogames." Is it just me, or was that a backhanded reproach of our hobby from a stuffy old politician? Perhaps I'm being sensitive.

It is interesting that a state agency would consider such a move, given the track record for governments embracing new technologies. Of course, the internet has been around for over 20 years so New York's response time isn't exactly lightning fast.

Source: Information Week

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And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2. And such emergencies do not occur on a daily basis. Plus, a classic air raid siren sounds totally awesome - even if it means that you're going to be in a middle of shrapnel rain. Don't deny it.

Also, 2000 posts. Yay me, i guess.

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2.

what? what culture do you live in?
If I step outside to run for safety from nukes, I'll probably get stabbed by chavs.
I'd rather play MW2 or stay on my pc. :|

OP: Interesting, and thankfully doesn't affect me.

Why would I want emergency alerts from New York when I live in the middle of England? Joking, of course.

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2.

Nothing in theory. In practise, I can imagine ham-fished government employees virtually destroying the network they plan to communicate over. but if they get it into working order, its a brilliant idea.

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2. Plus, a classic air raid siren is totally awesome. Don't deny it.

"I'll get into the fallout shelter in a minute dad, I'm almost at level 49!"

Kollega:

Also, 2000 posts. Yay me, i guess.

Yay you indeed. Welcome to the club. We're better than those 3000 post fools.

This would be useful in Britain.

Although I'd like the alerts to be about a politician's assassination so I could celebrate.

sounds like a good idea in high disaster areas for it to scroll at the bottom of the screen considering you will be using that tv to play games not watching news

Yeah well, unless you do have a bomb shelter nearby, and the bomb/storm is heading your way, you might as well stick to what you are doing. And if you don't feel the storm around you, or the bomb miles, and miles away. then you are one strange dude.

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2. And such emergencies do not occur on a daily basis. Plus, a classic air raid siren sounds totally awesome - even if it means that you're going to be in a middle of shrapnel rain. Don't deny it.

Also, 2000 posts. Yay me, i guess.

*pheep* Congrats.

I find it sad that the gaming is considered so addicting the people would not notice a nuke with a joyous fat man riding it flying past their flat window.

I live in England. Oh no, an Earthquake.

I just hope the irratating emergency tone that mutes everything won't phase over into the match. I might go deaf from it considering how loud my headphones are at.

Macksheath:

*pheep* Congrats.

I find it sad that the gaming is considered so addicting the people would not notice a nuke with a joyous fat man riding it flying past their flat window.

And i find it even sadder that some gamers are indeed in such condition. Not all of them, mind you - but there's certainly people out there who won't notice said situation because they are too busy pwning n00bs in Halo 3/Killzone 2/Team Fortress 2/what have you. I speak from experience here. Say what you want - but for me, such alert would be a good thing.

Number One, Red alert

I dunno sounds good in theory, but it would really depend on what the magnitude of the situations is. Like oh it's a thunderstorm and the game auto pauses to tell you, terrible idea. But a nuke is heading for you and the game auto pauses, then it's a pretty good idea

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2. And such emergencies do not occur on a daily basis. Plus, a classic air raid siren sounds totally awesome - even if it means that you're going to be in a middle of shrapnel rain. Don't deny it.

Also, 2000 posts. Yay me, i guess.

No, he doesnt mean its bad that they are going to put the alerts on game networks, hes saying its bad that they are going to TEST the alerts over the networks, so it could mess up your game for no reason.

I assume that this will generally find negative responses, but this is actually quite good. I like this. It's too bad I don't play online very much, because I would be quite grateful if I had my retarded Xbox microphone strapped to my ear and didn't hear the approaching tornado.

Good on ya'.

I think it's smart that they're looking into this. If you need to get a warning out in an emergency, it makes sense that you get that information to people however possible.

I thought it was interesting that, on 9/11, my wife didn't find out about it until I got home from work early -- and we watch even less TV now than we did then.

Of course, she doesn't play video games, either. Maybe something that uses instant messaging networks would be useful as well?

I know the thought of government interference in a private network is enough to "raise shields" in thoughts of privacy and government over-control, though, and with good reason.

I think it's a good idea. Especially the 'scrolling text' thing. We already have that with TV, so why not online games?
It could be used very well to great effect!
Of course, it could also be abused and used poorly, but every idea ever has that problem.
I think it's worth a shot.

Trust me people, this is bad. You don't want the government getting their head into this tech even for something as noble as warning of a disaster.

There are so many other ways that are more suited by their infrastructure and their user functionality. If games about terrorism like Modern Warfare 2 require are warning about something like terrorism, how long is it before some stuffy and out of touch politician or civil servant says "you can't have this in the game. I don't care if it's part of the experience, this is not a game any more, this is primarily a public broadcast system"

Resist this people. There are so many better methods like Twitter, mass email, even texting would be better and easier.

Furburt:

Kollega:

Also, 2000 posts. Yay me, i guess.

Yay you indeed. Welcome to the club. We're better than those 3000 post fools.

Hell yeah! let's hear it for this millenium!

OT: This still begs the question of whether or not they will heed the warning, or stick to their gaming. I can't trust myself with my addictive personality...

As a resident in a small, off-to-the-side town in England, the only alerts I'd be getting are "It's raining a little harder than normal." or "It's snowing. EVERYBODY PANIC!"

Not a bad idea I suppose, but it just seems a bit unnecessary to me.

It makes sense if you live in a potential disaster area. Tornado, hurricane, and flood warnings are helpful and getting them across as many channels as possible is the best way to make sure people are hearing the info.

On XBL I just imagine it would be:
BAH-dup: BOB wants you to join an XBOX LIVE PARTY
BAH-dup: CITY OF NEW YORK has sent you a MESSAGE

As long as I have the option to turn off the alerts, then sure! The last thing I need is more random bullshit popping up on my screen. Knowing the government, they'll start using the system to send out "Don't do drugs" statements after a while. Thanks for invading my privacy AGAIN government.

I totally back this idea. If a zombie apoclayse ouccrs while i'm playing left 4 dead 2 i want to know right away, cause if it happens then I'll be in just the right mood for the whole thing.

Well those in New York playing XBL or PSN, strap yourselves in for some hiccup testing. But otherwise I see this as a step forward for once, where gaming is recognized as a medium like watching TV. But if you conspiracy theorists would rather not, then why are you watching TV where the government is already doing this?

I think it would be tons of fun. For the operator of the system, of course. The messages could just pop up on the screen like an annoying IM:

"To the guy that just shot me in the back, FU!"
"Warning! There is a TORNADO headed for your house. Please take cover immediately."
"HAHA, all those people that just ran from that fake tornado just got PWNED!"
"[ascii goatse]"

I'd say a pop-up that looks like a trophy/achivement but altered colors to indicate it's a warning so as not to fully stop the game unless you want too and then have a channel you could go to for the actual alert.

Cause if it just overrides people are gonna be pissed if it gonna be those this is a test of the 360/PSN system and if it we're a real alert we would have mention it etc.

Not a bad idea, just slightly unconventional.

hmmm did not expect this,

video games are the devil, lets use them to convay emergancys to the public.

sounds somewhat hypocritical if you ask me. But still a good idea.

The moment I saw the title my mind spirited away in a fantasy world where I'm just about to get to the last level of Modern Warfare 2 and unlock the AK47 when a freaking alert talking crap about tornadoes appears on my screen, intrerupting my game.

Personally, screw natural disasters. I WANT MY DAMN GUN!

Doug:
Why would I want emergency alerts from New York when I live in the middle of England? Joking, of course.

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2.

Nothing in theory. In practise, I can imagine ham-fished government employees virtually destroying the network they plan to communicate over. but if they get it into working order, its a brilliant idea.

Sure it is all fine and dandy until your game gets interrupted by "this is a test BEEEEEEEEEP" cutting off the best damn match of your life. If they can do it without that and keep it to your local area (I don't care if a typhoon is gonna destroy NY when I live in Canada) then ya it is a good idea.

Flash up a message saying zombies are coming and you jsut ensured that the vast majority of people who are the best prepared for it are aware, excellent idea!

As a New Yorker I din find this very annoying to read.

Pardon me gamer, Country X has just launched a nuclear strike against your country, one of their more powerful bombs will impact close to you. By the time you have finished reading this message the bomb will be so close you will not have time to do anything except soil yourself in fear. We apologise in advance of destroying your blissful ignorance of impending doom and ruining your gameplay. We thank you in advance for your forgivness and understanding.

This doomsday message has been brought to you by Doritos, for a more entertaining snack, try new Zombie Apocalypse flavour, so tasty it will make you think you are really eating brains!

I'm fine with this, as long as it's not that annoying BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP noise, that sounds like your getting ear raped with a pineapple.

Kollega:
And how is that bad? If typhoon or a barrage of nukes is approaching, you want to hide or run away - not play Modern Warfare 2. And such emergencies do not occur on a daily basis. Plus, a classic air raid siren sounds totally awesome - even if it means that you're going to be in a middle of shrapnel rain. Don't deny it.

Also, 2000 posts. Yay me, i guess.

Only reason I'd say it's bad is that I've seen what sort of small-time minor crap they use the emergency broadcast system for now in my state. 99.9% of the time it's warning me of things that I frankly don't consider to be emergencies. "Severe storm warning!" Gee, I guess the high winds and lashing rain outside wasn't warning enough? "Flash flood warning!" See above, it's raining like hell, of course it's going to flood in low lying areas. Once in a great while it will give an actual warning of something like tornadoes or something else actually dangerous, but for the most part it just interrupts the show for nothing important.

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