The gradual drip feed of information about next gen consoles continues, this time as Microsoft detail the changes being made to Xbox Live and the new reputation system.
Taking to their blog, Michael Dunn outlines just how much information the algorithm will take into account, which is pretty much everything it can, in their attempts to give more people a more pleasant experience online, away from the stereotypically foul-mouthed teenager.
Your reputation score will determine which category you are assigned – “Green = Good Player,” “Yellow = Needs Improvement” or “Red = Avoid Me.” Looking at someone’s gamer card you’ll be able to quickly see their reputation. And, your reputation score is ultimately up to you. The more hours you play online without being a jerk, the better your reputation will be; similar to the more hours you drive without an accident, the better your driving record and insurance rates will be.
So, it logs every time someone blocks or mutes you online, and tots this all together. However, it values each of these votes against your character more or less, based on the reputation score of the person voting. It doesn’t stop there though, and tries even harder to weed out any falsified voting with some cunning analysis.
The algorithm is sophisticated and won’t penalize you for a few bad reports. Even good players might receive a few player feedback reports each month and that is OK. The algorithm weighs the data collected so if a dozen people suddenly reporting a single user, the system will look at a variety of factors before docking their reputation. We’ll verify if those people actually played in an online game with the person reported – if not, all of those player’s feedback won’t matter as much as a single person who spent 15 minutes playing with the reported person.
The most important point is that it’s searching for the unpleasant minority, but tries to give a lot of leeway. The vast majority will be labelled as good players, and the bad eggs should be shifted off to one side.
Most players will have good reputations and be seen as a “Good Player.” The algorithm is looking to identify players that are repeatedly disruptive on Xbox Live. We’ll identify those players with a lower reputation score and in the worse cases they will earn the “Avoid Me” reputation. Before a player ends up with the “Avoid Me” reputation level we will have sent many different alerts to the “Needs Improvement” player reminding them how their social gaming conduct is affecting lots of other gamers.
It’s a system which promises a lot, and can hopefully deliver on its aims. Microsoft will naturally have to keep a very close eye on things, to ensure that it doesn’t get abused, but if they get it right it will make online gaming better for all.