IGN has a decent post (wow) about how gamers are turned off by trash talkers. This gist is that 1/3 of all people stop playing games because of other people.
This is the #1 reason I don’t enjoy competitive FPS games and abhor most PvP in MMOs. There are players of all calibers and I can accept that. Some people cannot and the stuff that comes out of their mouths is insane. I guess they have such low self esteem that they need to put other people down to feel better about themselves. I can’t see any other reason for it. Helping a player improve rewards both you and them. Degrading them makes them worse (they quit) and doesn’t provide you with any in-game benefit.
I also think that the gaming medium has a huge impact. Starcraft is a perfect example of where players are competitive yet respectful. You’ll see a “GG” every game. Swap to a Call of Duty game though and you’d be lucky to find a single person say that in a week.
I wonder when the game companies will instill an ignore system where the matches no longer include people who are on each other’s lists. The main issue here is that most ignore lists are too small. I know in WoW mine was at the cap after the first month. If I were to ignore 5 or more people in an FPS, it wouldn’t take long for me to hit the 1000 mark. Maybe devs could put a temporary ban on people who hit certain milestones? Let’s say 500 people report you, no matter the cause, that’s one heck of a red flag and you get a temp ban. Hit the 5000 mark and you’re just done. Then again, CoD has 4 million players, piles of bungholes and rakes in cash. It’s hard to say that they would up their subscriber base if they magically banned 10% or more of their existing base.