One of the biggest downsides about playing online with a headset and in-game voice chat is the barrage of abuse you get from those pesky, twatty teenagers. If it's not homophobic, it's racist, and it's very difficult to avoid without muting the thing or ditching the headset altogether. However, it looks like Microsoft is playing the White Knight and coming to our Xbox One-packing rescue to banish those idiots from our gaming lives.
Essentially, Microsoft's planning on making your Xbox Live reputation actually count for something. An automated monitoring system will log mute and block requests from other players, as well as take into account direct reporting of players to give some kind of reputation score. This will all boil down to a broad rating, labelling people into three separate categories: "Good Player"; "Need Improvement", or "Avoid Me".
Players will then be matched up with other randoms based on those three categories, which hopefully means that if you're normal, and therefore a "Good Player" you won't get saddled with the obnoxious kids blaring out abuse they barely understand.
Of course, you'll still be able to play with your friends, even if you're in different player categories, just by joining lists or playing in groups, but it's really good to see Microsoft trying to do something about a problem that's dogged Xbox Live since its inception. It'll all boil down to how good the algorithm is, so let's hope Microsoft gets that right from the off. [OXM]