TGO Daily | November 4, 2020 | Toxicity in Gaming

Toxicity In Gaming

Let’s talk about player toxicity in online multiplayer games.

Today, a patent filing created by Amazon in December 2017 was found, which was approved last month. The patent itself is a collection of systems and methods for matchmaking based on player behaviour, rather than skill. A collection of quotes from will explain it better than I can:

“…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 player pool, such that one toxic player is paired only with other toxic players.”

They go on to admit that the term “toxic” can be used in different contexts, and thus their systems would allow players to select preferences for what the individual finds acceptable.

While putting a bunch of “toxic” people into their own pool might sound like a great idea, in my opinion, it’s not. Not only does it do nothing to stop toxic players from continuing to be toxic, but it also tells those players “no problem, we’ll just put you with different people.”

Contrast this with the Activision Blizzard model, which uses machine learning to improve their verification system of user reports, allowing them to issue penalties quicker. Today, J. Allen Brack said that this has resulted in an overall decrease of toxicity, and a decrease of re-offenders. This works not just because they have systems in place, but because the company is actively discouraging and penalizing it.

It will take a lot of work to eliminate toxicity from games completely, but it can happen with a change in community culture and company messaging.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th will be getting a final patch, and the developers are shutting down its dedicated servers, later this month. Peer to peer matchmaking will still be possible, and player progression will remain, so the online features aren’t going away completely.

The game had a rough go of it. It’s an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game which had to compete with Dead by Daylight, while dealing with a whole bunch of technical issues. Then there were rights issues with Friday the 13th as an overall franchise, which prevented them from creating any future content. There was still a solid community, but the devs have probably hit their limit.


Game Events

The original voice cast of Mass Effect will be reuniting on November 7th to celebrate N7 day, and they want you to join them. They’ve got it set up as a panel, and many people are suspecting that this will have some announcements about the franchise as well (the reunion indicates some kind of remaster). Feel free to keep your ear out for that.

Also, Blizzard has confirmed that BlizzCon will be returning as a fully digital event on February 19th/20th, 2021, and it will be completely free. Woohoo!