More details have emerged concerning the Xbox One's reputation system, which should see Microsoft taking much of the unpleasantness out of online play.
Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 has become as infamous for some of its antisocial, adolescent competitors as it has for its solid online gaming environment. We now have a better idea of how Microsoft aims to address that for its next console, the Xbox One.
Rather than rely on the Xbox 360's unreliable five star grading system, the Xbox One will boast a sophisticated monitoring system that intelligently sorts the 'proper' players from those offensive trolls.
"Ultimately if there's a few per cent of our population that are causing the rest of the population to have a miserable time, we should be able to identify those folks," Microsoft senior product manager Mike Lavin recently told OXM.
Lavin goes on to explain that "you'll start to see some effects if you continue to play bad or, or harass other people en masse. You'll probably end up starting to play more with other people that are more similar to you."
This system will effectively - over time - create a separate, parallel Xbox Live environment populated exclusively by all those unsavoury types that put ordinary folk off online gaming. All those who routinely spew out racist, sweary, or homophobic bile will be concentrated and set apart from the rest.
Lavin reckons that "some people might like to play with people that are similar to them. I would not necessarily want to play with those folks."
This raises the scary thought of mean-spirited gamers conspiring to cast you into this hellish parallel Xbox Live dimension, but it seem this will not be possible. Such isolated player downgrading will only have a limited effect.
Rather, the system takes a number of factors into account over an extended period of time. If you're constantly blocked by other players, booted out of games, disciplined by moderators and rated down by players over a certain period, then the system will act.
Conversely, being a good Xbox One citizen will see your reputation enhanced, potentially adding a whole new incentive alongside your Gamerscore.
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