Xbox Live program manager details how new reputation system outs “cheats and jerks”

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 21:51 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Xbox Live program manager Micheal Dunn has detailed how the new reputation system will work a bit more, stating that the new system will no longer be a play for cheats or jerks to run wild.

Speaking on Xbox Wire, Dunn said his team has been working hard on a community-powered reputation system which will help filter out people you don’t want to play with.

“No question that Xbox Live is a distinct community of passionate gamers,” he said. “We love that. But just like in life, there are all types of people – some shy, some polite, some aggressive, some snarky, some annoying and some that can’t avoid swearing at #$%^ happens to them.

“Most Xbox Live players are polite online and know how to socially adjust to people they’re playing with. But not everyone does this. And, it can be challenging to pick up on social cues when you are connected online and not face-to-face in the same room.

“With the new community-powered reputation model for Xbox One, we want to help you avoid the players you don’t want to play with. If you don’t want to play with cheats or jerks, you shouldn’t have to. Our new reputation model helps expose people that aren’t fun to be around and creates real consequences for trouble-makers that harass our good players.”

One of the ways the team is going about it is by simplifying the mechanism for Xbox One: moving from a survey option to more direct feedback, including things like “block” or “mute player” actions into the feedback model.

“The new model will take all of the feedback from a player’s online flow, put it in the system with a crazy algorithm we created and validated with an MSR PhD to make sure things are fair for everyone,” Dunn explained. “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. 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.”

Dunn said the algorithm is “sophisticated” and won’t penalize you for a few bad reports, as even “good” players might receive a few player feedback reports each month. The algorithm weighs the data collected so if a dozen people are 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,” he continued. “The system also looks at the reputation of the person reporting and the alleged offender, frequency of reports from a single user and a number of other factors.”

Dunn said the system will continue to evolve and get better as more feedback is received and tracked, and Microsoft will also add “more consequences for the jerks.”

“Of course, the system will be as good as you make it, so all you need to do is report the players that are abusive, cheating or causing mayhem and their reputation will reflect that,” he concluded.

Xbox One is due o shelves sometime this November.

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