These days, hardly any games launch minus some form of online multiplayer. Call of Duty has become the benchmark for the kind of quality of multiplayer but too, it has become a running joke for online players who decide to use their headsets to spout bigotry and ignorance. Call of Duty isn’t just the only franchise that suffers from this as some players even take to the private messaging systems that Xbox Live offers to spread their hateful messages. Needless to say, this kind of behavior from players isn’t a rare occurrence and so Microsoft is stepping in, in an effort to curb this kind of attitude on their brand new, next generation console, the Xbox One.
How Microsoft plan to do this is by bringing in a ‘reputation system’ which will rank and categorize players based on their online conduct. This was explained in an interview with OXM by Microsoft’s senior product manager, Mike Lavin, who detailed that players with bad behavior would be grouped with fellow players with bad behavior, keeping the players who want to play nice safe from the misconduct. Lavin said this, “What [the Microsoft team are] looking at doing is creating a very robust system around reputation and match-making. If people are in your friends list, we’re not touching that, [Microsoft are] just making it easier for you to come together. It’s really the anonymous side of things where we’re making these investments. Ultimately if there’s a few per cent of our population that are causing the rest of the population to have a miserable time, [Microsoft] should be able to identify those folks.”
Lavin also said that in turn, while there would be penalties for those who decide to take part in the misconduct (it was unclear what those ‘penalties’ would be, but history points to Microsoft bringing down the ban hammer), there would be rewards for those who display sportsmanship. What these ‘rewards’ could pertain to is unknown but it would be interesting to see Microsoft giving out freebies to those who stick to the rules and it would also encourage those on the naughty step to do good and improve their behavioral reputation in an effort to reap the rewards.
The issue, of course, would be whether this could encourage some kind of divide to develop between those who play nice and those who act badly and if there would be some kind of conflict should the two sides ever meet. Lavin says this would not be the case as your reputation would band you with similar players. There’s also a question about whether or not those with a vengeance against you could work to have you branded as one of the bad guys, but Lavin assured readers that they wouldn’t be able to do that if you are actually sticking to the rules.
Think that the Xbox One’s reputation system is a stroke of genius or a poorly thought out decision? Let us know your thoughts below.