Toxicity has been a problem in games for as long as any of us can remember. Even without online options, losing out on a pinball high score was sure to elicit some sort of sweary response – bad losers are a tale as old as time. These days, toxicity plagues the game scene with a blanket of anonymity. Some feel safe saying whatever they want with little consequence- so Amazon wants to put them all in the same game and see what happens.
In a report from GamesIndustry.Biz, it’s confirmed that Amazon has patented a way of grouping toxic players together in games so that their toxicity doesn’t spill over into a general player base. Protocol originally spotted the patent which suggests looking at player behaviour, the words and actions they take against others playing the game and deciding if they are toxic or not.
Once toxic players are identified, they can be placed in games with other players with the same mentality and together they can fire insults and friendly-fire at one another as they spin into the hatred circle they placed themselves in.
The patent stresses that although skill-based matchmaking can be allowed for games to be played where people should enjoy the challenge of similarly skilled players, that players behaviours also has a profound effect on someone’s enjoyment of a game. “Traditional matchmaking for electronic games operates naively, focusing on relatively few characteristics of players in order to group players into a session.”
The patent explains briefly the logic behind the matchmaking idea. “Contrary to this assumption, players’ enjoyment may depend heavily based on behaviours of other users with which they are paired, such as the proclivity of other players to use profanity or engage in other undesirable behaviours. Players who engage in such behaviours may be labelled as ‘toxic’ by other players. One mechanism for dealing with such players is to isolate all ‘toxic’ players into a separate players pool, such that one toxic player is only paired with other toxic players.”
There is a good question, though, of if players will be able to drag themselves out of hell for good behaviour, or is one back toxicity day enough to send you to the depths of matchmaking forever? Who knows.
Additionally, there is a question about what games would this system be implemented. This patent was originally filed in December 2017 which means they likely thought it would be used on its recent development attempt in the competitive multiplayer field; Crucible.
Amazon’s most recent release (and unrelease) was Crucible, an arena shooter which didn’t land well with the players it was trying to attract. Although mechanically sound and gorgeous to look at, the game never explained itself well enough to audiences or compelled new players to continue trying the game out. Amazon has since announced that the game was to be shut down and resources would be funneled into its next, more promising project New World.
So although this tech exists, who knows when we’ll be seeing it surface. Maybe Amazon can share the code with, oh I don’t know, every other online game, please?
Journalist at GAMINGbible by day, streamer by night. Previously a staff writer for PCGamesN, and a sprinkle of work in places like Kotaku, Eurogamer, The Loadout, and more. Normally plays the archer character in any game or just picks a main solely on aesthetics.
Amazon.com, Patent, Player, Matchmaking, System
World news – GB – Amazon Patents Method For Grouping Toxic Players Together In One Lobby