But what if that talk veers into really dangerous areas, like murder? A Port Alberni, British Columbia, man may have prevented a high school shooting all the way down in Texas.
He apparently was waiting to start a game (the game is unspecified) and one of the other players started talking about more than he should have:
"The man was playing an online video game Thursday that included live audio, allowing participants to talk to each other. The game had six team members, made up of the Port Alberni man and cyber-friends, competing against another team.
A conversation started with one player who talked about being a high school senior who was failing academically. The chat then took a more ominous turn as the student detailed plans to take part in a shooting at his school the following day.
“The suspect indicated he was a senior at his high school, had failing grades and mentioned names of students he was targeting, along with plans about how the shooting would proceed,” said Port Alberni RCMP Staff Sgt. Lee Omilusik."
The man reported it to authorities, and with some online research and the assistance of Microsoft (which runs Xbox Live), they were able to track down where in Texas this kid was. He was arrested before anything could happen.
I've heard quite a few stories like this, where somebody far away listens to what happens in a game like this, or reads what a Facebook friend who lives thousands of miles away says, and alertly notifies police. Tragedies have been prevented.
As a gamer, I think this is really cool. Good on the guy for doing this, considering a lot of people would think it was "just talk." You don't take chances with something like that.