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Microsoft is beefing up its Xbox Live reputation tools to make the online community friendlier for Xbox One players. The current system lets players rank one another by stars and block troublesome folks individually, but keeping jerks out of your headphones is like fighting a particularly foul-mouthed tide unless you only play with friends.
"What we're looking at doing is creating a very robust system around reputation and matchmaking," Microsoft senior product manager Mike Lavin told OXM. "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 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."
Lavin said the new measures will track players over time: on top of several new means of positive encouragement for friendly, welcoming players, bad eggs who show a history of nasty behavior can be isolated. Literally.
New matchmaking algorithms will take into account player reputations, meaning poor sports will be paired with other Debbie Downers. If they keep misbehaving, they'll just descend deeper into Angry-ville.
That said, a group of rabid 12-year-olds can't conspire to cast you into low-rep hell, unless they're willing to wage a long-term campaign. The new reputation system is tougher to exploit.
"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," Lavin said. "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."