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New York State Testing Emergency Alerts Over Gaming Networks 212

An anonymous reader writes "Gamers are used to confronting invading terrorists, nuclear attacks, and natural calamities—in virtual form. But those living in New York State could soon receive warnings about real emergencies through their favorite video console. State authorities are testing a plan that would see the Emergency Management Office issue alerts over online gaming networks in addition to regular channels."
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New York State Testing Emergency Alerts Over Gaming Networks

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  • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:54PM (#30163110) Homepage

    Why not opt-in SMS alerts. Yeah, cell towers get flooded or knocked out in emergencies, but so does the Internet these games run on. Or better yet, electronic notification through an API that can be integrated with any home product - security systems, home pbx, standalone weather radios...

  • by rhathar ( 1247530 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:57PM (#30163180) Homepage
    Invasion of privacy? How are they invading your privacy here? This is no more an invasion then sending you email without permission is an invasion of your privacy.
  • Re:Fucking moronic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rhathar ( 1247530 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @04:58PM (#30163198) Homepage
    This is the same thing as them running the emergency broadcast during your favorite show. Annoying, yes, but apparently people think it helps more than it hurts.
  • Re:Fucking moronic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:06PM (#30163384)

    It's a fucking gaming network. People are focused on playing the game, not on your emergency announcement. Unless you have a way to literally stop the game (pissing anyone off that isn't affected by the alert) you're wasting your time sending the message.

    I'm sick and tired of these idiotic experiments by business people who don't understand the technology and therefore can't work out how asinine what they're suggesting really is. Then between 6 months and 2 years later, when they do have a few people hooked and relying on their ill advised service, they decide the experiment failed and pulled the plug. Fucking tossers.

    Uhh... really? It's an *EMERGENCY*. I think when someone tries to go attack New York again, people will be willing to miss a few headshots to get the best possible warning they can. Its not like these announcements are sent out often.
    At least, in my head, these are rare occurrences on the scale of Katrina and 9/11 that people would be notified. I think once a year if someone interrupts my game to say "Hey, we're being attacked by god/mormons/terrorists/etc, try not to die", I'll forgive them for ruining my game.

    Or are you so insanely entrenched in your game that you'd rather die than be notified of an emergency?

  • by gilbert644 ( 1515625 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:17PM (#30163606)
    Most console gamers aren't children and this stuff is for their benefit.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:18PM (#30163614) Homepage
    but sometimes I go into my game and decide to say, "Go away, government, go away news, go away famiily, go away anyone and anything that isn't in the game."

    "Go away, hurricane, go away brush fires, go away rioting, go away tidal wave!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:18PM (#30163630)

    A simple achievement toast popup would work just fine. And since achievements are like crack I bet this form of communication would get noticed a lot more.

  • by shawb ( 16347 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:23PM (#30163722)

    If that means I miss some emergency alert that may save my life, well, that's life, ain't it?

    Technically speaking, that would be death, not life. At the very least, an emergency broadcast would tell you to save your game because there is a tornado/hurricane/earthquake/zombie infestation coming along that could disrupt power. But seriously, putting yourself in danger for a video game is extremely stupid and selfish... you are not only putting yourself in danger but the using up the resources of and endangering rescuers that have to come save your hide because you were too busy powerlevelling your orcish mage to get out of trouble before disaster struck.

  • Re:Good Idea! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:28PM (#30163822)

    These kinds of emergency notifications should be as hard to opt out of as possible. For a real emergency as many people need to know about it as possible. Unless of course "this is a test of the emergency broadcasting system...".

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:36PM (#30164008)

    Yeah, because it's unthinkable that an adult might play video games, right? Sheesh. I never thought I'd see the "video games are only for kids" sentiment here on Slashdot of all places.

    Anyway, let's say an alert pops up that the kid "becomes confused" and ignores it. So what? If the system wasn't in place, they would never have seen the alert, and so the kid's no worse off. On the other hand, if he's the rare kid who doesn't "become confused" by it, it might just save his life.

    So I don't really know what you're griping about here.

  • Re:Good Idea! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jake Griffin ( 1153451 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @05:49PM (#30164294)
    There's a cutscene in COD:MW2 that has a type of emergency notification. I actually second-guessed whether it was real or just a part of the game. Granted, I was way tired, as I had picked up the midnight release of it and was up until 5am. Hopefully they wouldn't interrupt the game THAT much in an emergency. If I'm playing against someone in a different region and all of a sudden they kill me 15 times in a row because my screen goes to "color bars" when some 6-year-old is kidnapped 50 miles away, I'm going to get a little upset.
  • Re:Good Idea! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:00PM (#30164468)

    I disagree, on both counts, actually.

    I would even opt out of the tornado sirens in my neighborhood if it were possible. You see, I live in an ancient one-story home without a basement. In all the years it has stood, no tornado has struck it, and if one did, being in the bathtub would likely not help me much anyway. It isn't like I can call the tornado department and have them come douse the thing. So, I go back to sleep, and trust that things will be okay. So far, so good. And in that light, I'd just as soon not be woken up in the first place.

    Likewise, if you're going to have an alert system that people do want used, but never actually test it, why have it in the first place?

  • Re:Fucking moronic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CheddarHead ( 811916 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:03PM (#30164530)

    If this was only used for *real* emergencies, then you'd be right. Unfortunately, the bar for what constitutes an emergency will be constantly lowered until they're sending out alerts for the most inane crap imaginable.

    For example, my wife works for a major university. After 9/11 they decided to create an alert system to keep employees and their loved ones informed in the event of major emergencies. The system was intended for things like terror attacks, earthquakes, tornadoes, alien invasion etc. My wife signed me up so that I'd get a text message when ever they issued an alert. At first, I'd get a text every few months as they periodically tested the system. Then they decided to use the system to warn people about violent crime anywhere near the campus. Then it was power outages. Pretty soon it was building maintenance issues. Now if someone on campus gets a hangnail, I receive a text message keeping me informed. It is indeed fucking moronic.

    This NY system will start out the same way, and end up the same way. People will be getting alerts because of a traffic accident half way across the fucking state. People will hate it, and turn it off if they can, thus totally defeating the original purpose. If they can't turn it off, they'll totally ignore it and quickly dismiss the message without reading it, once again totally defeating the original purpose. It's a bad idea. There are plenty of other ways to inform people in the event of an emergency. This is just stupid and will be waste of money and effort.

  • Re:Fucking moronic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @06:18PM (#30164766)

    Uhh... really? It's an *EMERGENCY*. I think when someone tries to go attack New York again, people will be willing to miss a few headshots to get the best possible warning they can.

    Okay first, no one has ever 'attacked New York'. I don't even remember the English doing so during the Revolutionary War, though I'd be generous enough to grant you that. There has not since been a military threat to the entire population of that entire state. Period.

    Second, the 9/11 events were a complete surprise. No warning would have done anyone a bit of good. The 'next terrorist attack' will almost certainly be the exact same sort of thing.

    Third, how many of the occupants of World Trade I and II were on the damn xbox that morning anyway?

    At least, in my head, these are rare occurrences on the scale of Katrina and 9/11 that people would be notified.

    For 9/11, see above. Can't alert a surprise attack until it is far too late.

    Katrina, on the other hand, was DECIDEDLY NOT a surprise. People had days and days of warning. They were also somewhat used to that sort of thing. It isn't as if additional notification would have changed the impact of the storm. Unless that information is from the future, and contains how surprisingly bad a particular storm will be, it would simply get filed alongside the other twenty-some-odd storms that hit that area per year.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday November 19, 2009 @07:22PM (#30165702)

    Call of Duty "blah blah blah" games are intended for adults, not 11-year-olds.

    Not that that is necessarily a rebuttal to what you're saying, but you'd expect games intended for adults to show alerts that adults have no trouble recognizing as fake.

    If you were talking about Viva Pinata, or another game intended for 11-year-olds, then it'd be a different story.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb