Microsoft is reworking how player reputation works on Xbox One, and it is taking some of the control out of players’ hands and getting more proactive.
On Xbox 360, every gamer gets a five-star rating based on feedback from other players. After playing with someone, gamers can go to their profile and either prefer or avoid that person. If you choose to avoid a player, it’s less likely that Xbox Live will match you with that person again, but it won’t have any greater effect on who that player gets paired with in the future.
Xbox One is doing things differently, according to Microsoft’s Major Nelson and Official Xbox Magazine. Xbox Live on the next-gen system will now track player reviews along with how often others block or mute a player to decide what reputation to assign. That rep will then dictate who gamers get matched with.
“What we’re looking at doing is creating a very robust system around reputation and match-making. We’re one of the only platforms that really takes an interest in exploring and investigating major problems, and this extends from sexual harassment, to age harassment, to gender to everything else under the sun,” Xbox Live marketing manager Mark Lavin told OXM. “Really fostering a sense of community and providing an infrastructure for that is a huge deal.”
This upgrade to the matchmaking should mean that nice players get to play with other nice players while trolls get stuck with other trolls. This is much more proactive than Xbox 360’s system that forces players to avoid individuals only after they’ve played with them.
Xbox One can also tell if a big group of people is getting together to sink an individual’s reputation.
“The way that it’s built fundamentally stops that,” says Lavin. “It’s very much over a period of time. If we see consistently that people 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.”
We’ve reached out to Microsoft to get more details about how that will work. We’ve also asked Sony if PlayStation 4 will have something similar. We will update this story with and new information.
Microsoft wants to treat this new score similarly to how it promotes its Achievement system. Others will see it and know if you’re a troll.
“You want your Reputation score as high as you can get it,” said Lavin. “There may even be opportunities where if you participate in some of our community programs, your reputation can even get higher.”
Xbox One’s rep system won’t have any impact on people in your friends list. It should only improve the quality of the people you meet in random matches — or if you’re one of the bad ones, it might degrade your experience by pairing you with the worst people on Xbox Live.
“Ultimately if there’s a few percent of our population that are causing the rest of the population to have a miserable time, we should be able to identify those folks,” said Lavin.