Microsoft details its 'PhD-validated' Reputation system for Xbox One

By Andrew Yoon, Jul 31, 2013 1:30pm PDT

Microsoft wants to make Xbox Live on Xbox One a better place. Following the reveal of Xbox One, the company promised an updated Reputation system--one that promises to track player behavior and attempt to separate hostile players from the more sportsman gamers. But how exactly will it work?

Xbox Live's Micheal Dunn explains that the new system is centered around "direct feedback," with actions like "block" and "mute player" going into an algorithm that was "created and validated with a Microsoft Research PhD to make sure things are fair for everyone." Kid tested, doctor approved!

Reputation will be visually represented by traffic lights, with Green meaning "Good Player," Yellow meaning "Needs Improvement," and Red meaning "Avoid Me." Most players will have the green light, but disruptive players will fall into the yellow zone. "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 writes in an official blog post.

The algorithm is flexible enough that gamers won't be penalized for the occasional bad report, allowing good players to receive "a few" reports each month before getting warned. The system will weigh where reports are coming from. For example, the system checks if players actually played with each other. In addition, the reputation of the person reporting will also be checked--meaning nasty players won't be able to troll other players through the system.

"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," Dunn adds.

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