XBox Live currently uses a simple five-star reputation rating, but hopes to improve upon that with the XBox One launch. The aim is to "reward healthy behavior while reducing troublemakers and cheaters," with negative, obnoxious players seperated from those that want to play without things like constant harrassing and cursing.
"What we're looking at doing is creating a very robust system around reputation and match-making," product manager Mike Lavin said. "If people are in your friends list, we're not touching that, we're 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, we should be able to identify those folks."
It will be interesting to see how this attempt at community control will play out. From my own experience I've seen players give other players negative reputation votes simply for beating them in a game, but they aren't worried about gamers exploiting the system.
"Let's just be clear, there is no way at all that a conglomerate of people can conspire to sink your Reputation on the system. The way that it's built fundamentally stops that. It's very much over a period of time - if we see consistently that people, for instance, don't like playing with you, that you're consistently blocked, that you're the subject of enforcement actions because you're sending naked pictures of yourself to people that don't want naked pictures of you... Blatant things like that have the ability to quickly reduce your Reputation score."
Microsoft is still working out the finer details, but the goals of their new program are fairly straight forward. There will be no impact on playing with people on your friends list, assuming they still want to play with someone with a low rep - as a party's reputation will be that of its lowest scored member. The new reputation score will be just as visible as your gamerscore and like all good class warfare, you'll be able to raise your score with money by participating in XBox Live Rewards.
If they can pull this off sucessefully, it will be nice to not have to play with twelve year old boys talking about banging my mom and people that exploit cheats, but I worry about how complex a task this will be. Will jerk players use multiple accounts, friend voting, or money to buy their way out of a low reputation or worse, will undeserving players be sent to XBox Hell, surrounded by douchebags and trolls?
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About the Author - Jeremy Shane
Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea. Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California. When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead. Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim. If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: www.jeremyshane.info for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.
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