Project Manager on Xbox Live Michael Dunn has released some additional information about the ‘community powered’ reputation system that’s going to be coming for the Xbox One. For those who haven’t heard of it, basically it’s a feature designed to match players up with teammates and opponents via a system that takes into account their online behavior – so, ideally, sociopaths get matched with sociopaths, and the well-adjusted get matched with the well-adjusted. Naturally, people are both curious and skeptical about this system, so Dunn’s task here is to help players better understand what to expect. And what they can expect is some kind of mathematical weighting system that groups people into various tiers, sending apparent miscreants warnings about improving their behavior.
Ultimately, 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. 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.
Frankly, it’s hard to know what to think of a system like this until you actually see it in action on the large scale – but Microsoft deserves some credit for trying to come up with what sounds like a largely passive, community-based system to weed out people who behave like internet-capable crack monkeys. That said, this sounds like a difficult thing to pull off, and the killer combination of a PhD holder and an algorithm doesn’t fill me with confidence. Still, there’s no such thing as progress without an attempt, so hopefully Microsoft gains some ground here in the never-ending war against gaming jackassery.