I came across an article yesterday on ign.com concerning a new policy that the Xbox One will incorporate. The article can be found here and it concerns something they are calling a “reputation system”.
I have mixed feelings about this implementation. Because the thing is, I believe that once someone purchases a console they should have a right to do what they want with it. It is their property. So if they want to overclock their console they can, knowing that it will void their warranty and will pay the consequences if it breaks down. But I can also understand why Microsoft would feel the need to implement this system into Xbox Live (XBL) because there are a surprising amount of people who find way to hack into a game to cheat at online multiplayer (lag switches anyone?) and an even larger number of people who will get on a headset and trash talk, cuss people out, and act like all around jerks because there is no consequence when you act like that on the internet.
No consequence and no accountability.
It’s the same reason we have forum monitors on websites like reddit.com and why there are policies implemented on social networks because there is always someone who will abuse the freedoms they have as fellow internet users.
So to break it down into what I like and what I’m hesitant about.
What I like is that this reputation system will clearly identify people who have developed a poor reputation in the XBL community, and those who have created good reputation. It will allow players to decide if they really want to participate in any event that might have those with a bad reputation indicator (according to the article this would be are “red light” icon of sorts). I think this is a great concept and I am fully behind this. It would be, to me, the same as rating how reliable someone is on Ebay or Amazon.
Where my hesitation comes is actually in the statement that there would be consequences for those who are in the “need work” or “bad reputation” status. Microsoft mentions that they will send notices to those who “need work” that their actions affect everyone.
And those who have reached the low of “bad reputation” will haven consequences affecting their gameplay. What does that mean exactly? It’s all speculation right now, but I suspect that it might have something to do with their ability to play online for a given time or any number of other things. While I think those who hack into games should face some consequences because they are breaking other people’s property at that point I don’t think people are generally unpleasant should be held to the same consequences. Even if I hate playing with those people it is their right to be that way. And as it stands right now, I have a way to block those players I don’t enjoy playing with so that I don’t have to deal with it.
I suppose my other hesitation about all of this would be that, just like everything else, when people start putting pressure on something there tends to be that group that pushes back. Then it becomes a battle of the standards of what can be considered “bad” become looser and looser, or the consequences become harsher than what is fair.
Truthfully it feels a little like Microsoft is also trying to implement limitations to the way people can play games. The thing I’ve always liked about gaming is that its limitations are mostly left inside the limitations of the games capability (because of technology, or design, etc), but this feels like more when it comes down to a not-so-subtle way to control someone’s behavior.
It could go either way really. I just thought it was something interesting.
What are your thoughts?
Grace and Peace