Xbox One’s Reputation System Sounds Crazy But It Just Might Work

Xbox One’s Reputation System Sounds Crazy But It Just Might Work

Placing the responsibility for policing a community into the hands of the members of said community is a lovely idea that rarely works as expected. The new Xbox Live reputation system launching with the Xbox One gives players the power to promote the polite over the pestiferous, with (hopefully) enough safeguards in place to prevent gang warfare.

In a post on Major Nelson’s blog earlier this week, Xbox Live’s Michael Dunn laid out the framework for the new reputation system taking the place of the Xbox 360’s ineffectual starring system.

Like the previous system, the new reputation system relies quite a bit on player feedback to determine which category an online gamer falls into — “Good Player”, “Needs Improvement” or “Avoid Me”. What’s different here is the definition of player feedback.

It’s not just about simply leaving a rating. Now if you mute another player, it will affect their reputation. If you ban another player from your server for misbehaving, it affects their reputation. And if you decide you don’t like another player and urge the entirety of your newly-expanded friends list to complain about them? Well, that’s where the safeguards come into play.

Speaking to Major Nelson during Tuesday’s Microsoft E3 Day One broadcast, available to stream on Xbox Live Silver and Gold, Xbox Live gaming features principle program manager Chad Gibson and senior global product marketing manager Mike Lavin explained how unfair situations might be handled.

It’s not just about collecting data, but how the system uses and weighs the data collected. If a dozen people suddenly report a single user, the system looks at a variety of factors before laying the smack down. Did each of those players actually play in an online game with the person they reported? If not, all of their complaints won’t equal that of a single person who spent 15 minutes playing Call of Duty online with the reported party. The system also looks at the reputation of both the person reporting and the alleged offender, the frequency of reports from a single user — it’s a system the team plans on tweaking constantly for balance and fairness, but it sounds like they’re off to a stellar start.

What really intrigues me about the reputation system, however, is how each Xbox One game with an online component can include the ability to recognise griefing behaviours and react to them accordingly. Even if no one reports you for flagrant team killing or purposefully driving the wrong way in Forza, the games will know you’ve been naughty, and you could get dinged for it.

There’s potential there for hiccups and exploitation, but there’s real potential here. It may strip players of their “right” to freely act like an obnoxious arsehole online, but I’m willing to take the hit for the good of Xbox Live society.


  • So it doesn’t actually do anything, right? I’m always nervous when they talk their feedback systems up because they’re always one step away from making the system more than just a way to allow users to vent rage without bothering admins. I recieved a ton of negative feedback because an average of once a night I’d reach just the right balance of awake and relaxed to absolutely dominate in Call of Duty.
    I had my headset on if someone else wanted to talk, I wasn’t bossy, rude or otherwise offensive, I didn’t engage trolls and I always worked towards team goals. Yet I’d still get a heap of negative feedback from people who played against me and lost. I don’t really care because the system did nothing, but if they made it harder for me to find a match or attempted to group me with other people with negative feedback it’d suck.

    • Yeah, I used to have like 95% preferred on the 360…then I started playing MNC and was REALLY good at it for some reason.

      My rep went down to 45% because of that game lol.

    • I don’t even use a headset and the amount of negativity i’ve gotten for abusive behaviour is ridiculous, not to mention impossible.

    • I’d imagine that is pretty much exactly what it would do. Although you’d think someone who gave a negative vote to someone who only beat them would have a pretty low rep themselves and the logical thing to do would be giving someone with a low rep a less weighted vote.

    • I think part of the problem on the 360 is that it’s one of the only ways to filter matchmaking. I know lots of people who simply leave negative feedback on players who own them, in the hope that they will no longer be matched with them, and might have more fun being competitive in the next round. If they can fix matchmaking, and connection preferences, hopefully alot of those negative ratings would just go away.

  • I can see this system being very easily flawed.

    what about people who just mute everyone with a mic simply because they aren’t interested in conversation? will that be taken as negative feedback to the person who was muted?

    • Yeah, that’s exactly what I do and it’s nothing against them. I just don’t really want to hear it. Kind of silly they get a negative rep just because I can be a bit anti social at times.

    • Exactly. I mean I’m deaf and I don’t speak, I ended up getting bad reputation simply because online players reported me as anti social on Xbox 360. Fml

    • I think in that case the system would be able to determine that you mute pretty much everyone regardless of feedback, and just not give much priority to your muting

      • but then if I mute someone because they are genuinely abusing the voice chat does my mute not mean as much? and what about the people I mute before the system decides I’m over-muting?

  • …muting players affects their reputation? So even if you just don’t want to listen to other people’s voices, you still have to neg them? Sounds kinda dumb.

    • The amount of times I’ve muted a kid arguing with his mom over bed/bath time or some guy whose breathing into his mic or has music or feedback going on I’m going to be giving out a ton of negative votes for what is merely just a way of silencing a minor annoyance but other wise fine player.

  • Once again, Microsoft shovels the responsibility of managing one of it’s design flaws onto somebody else.

  • I would assume turning off chat in the game options wouldn’t affect others negatively. Based on their safeguards, you’d hope they’d just affect those muted after a certain time into the session, and only after more than one person mutes them.
    For repeat offenders, they can examine the vocal history of what their Kinect has captured over the last three months, and send around the Thought Police if you’re found to have uttered anti-Microsoft sentiments.

  • It isn’t up to us to promote our system, we let indie devs do that for us
    it isn’t up to us whether we have always on DRM, we let the publishing houses do that for us
    It isn’t up to us to police the community, we let the players do that for us
    It isn’t up to us to provide information about our console’s perceived negatives, we let the gaming press do that for us
    Please bend over and give us your money, it’s the only part of this release we have any desire to take part in.

  • Well with how online gaming is normally, eventually everyone will be back to square one as people will be constantly in the ‘avoid me’ category. Because anonymity is always great when it comes to giving feedback.

  • It all depends on how well the feedback system is regulated. For example, with the 360, if you file false complaints against people it’ll get to a point where your complaints aren’t even considered. With the Xbone, if there’s a system in place that sees a pattern of someone filing complaints against people who are just really good and strips the weighting of their complaints down to zero it could work out well. But hey, it could also be a massive flop. Who knows. but don’t let that stop the rampant anti-xbox freak out from jumping to conclusions, who needs facts and actual evidence to judge these things.

  • I think microsoft forgets how easily these systems become a new way to discriminate. Once you can hit a button or tick a box thats says, “No-one in my games with a rep below 80%,” you’ve actively created stratification. You’ve also given the ‘bullies’ a tool to act out with.

    That said, if they have robust checks and balances in place to hedge out the chronic complainers, the crooked reports and the fallacious indictments of character it may work out fine. I do have severe doubts about a hands off intelligent agent acting through data alone though. Redemption also needs to be a big part of the system, otherwise it’ll fall over for players who engage in multi very quickly if they start abandoning games because they have pissed someone off and don’t want to hang around for the ‘negs’.

  • So what if you hardly ever play online with people (Like my self, some times i will jump into Gears and play but not often)

    Ill have a low rep to start with, will it mean I wont be able to play with friends who play MP on a more regular basis and have high reps?

  • I found the 360’s Reputation System very Corrupt and Unfair. I had a mic back when I played CoD on the 360 but I would never talk or have it on, but Somehow I would get a bad Reputation.

    Now the Reputation system for the Xbone sounds like a tool that can be used by Gamers with a desire to just ruin everyone else’s experience cause they are crap at games.

    People just want to play their games. Now Microsoft have turned the Xbone into a Gaming Device where people now have to have more to worry about. People now have to worry about who will like them, then their self confidence can be effected.

    Then if they get a very bad Rep, they can have alot of trouble getting into Multiplayer Games. Well Im sorry but nothing about this is fair.
    Even if the person is abusive or a friendly person, their Decision to play online should not be in Other players hands, cause as far as Im concerned, Xbox fan boys are Agressive, Rude and Horrible people that take gaming to far, and now those Xbone gamers have a tool to manipulate the system.

    Anyone who thinks this reputation system is good need to get up to date with Social Media and ned to realise that Reputation System can go wrong.

    When I jump onto my Console to play a game, I don’t pay $500 to be judged while I’m just trying to have fun. I don’t ask for people’s opinions cause I don’t care, and if their baseless opinions effect my Online Gaming Experience, then it is allready a Horrible system.

    But what do I care, Im getting a PS4 anyway, I won’t have the issues that Xbone fans are gonna be stuck with.

    • Been a Xbox fan since the first came out but they are doing more harm to themselves than they realize. Get a Ps4 or stick with last gen or PC until they get their head out of their ass. I know in about 5 years I’ll get a Ps4 possibly not sure yet thou since I’ve bought 2 ps3’s and hardly used them except for blu ray. But you do make a very valid point.

  • How does it sound? Makes me glad I won’t be involved. The comments above provide numerous examples of how even a heavily-nuanced system can still be exploited or reasonable behaviour misrepresented.

    (Edit: Disclaimer is that I don’t actually know what I was hoping to see, which might influence player behaviour of the new generation into something friendlier and more inclusive… but not this.)

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