Xbox Live is one of the biggest draws to Microsoft's Xbox One console -- even with the advancements in Sony's PlayStation Network, Microsoft still retains the most loyal and competitive multiplayer community. The next step for the new console will be an updated reputation system, rolling out this month. And bad behaviour could be harshly penalised.
Xbox One's Live players are already colour coded -- green represents "Good Players", yellow means "Needs Work" and red means "Avoid Me". Starting this month, Microsoft will be sending out warnings to disruptive players. Those that find themselves falling into the "Avoid Me" category, having received too much bad feedback from other players, will be punished. Michael Dunn, program manager on Xbox Live details this as "reduced matchmaking pairings" and the revocation of "certain privileges such as Twitch broadcasting."
The Twitch broadcasting punishment is an interesting one, seeing as it's a service not owned by Microsoft. While it makes sense for Twitch to revoke access to users abusing its own service, it's interesting that Microsoft itself is considering using the app as a disciplinary incentive -- and is presumably in a position to do so in the first place. It sets an unsettling precedent -- could access to other services, such as Netflix, also become dependant on a player's good behaviour? You'd presume that anything that requires a subscription, such as Netflix or Amazon's Prime Instant Video, would be safe seeing as a secondary payment system is involved. But how about other free services like Crackle? Or YouTube? It would certainly be within the Redmond company's power to cut access to its own Skype service or free-to-play Xbox Fitness and Killer Instinct titles.
Now, nobody likes a troll, and Microsoft has to do something to combat the minority of players who ruin the fun of others. But in this age where digital ownership and access to services is already eyed with suspicion, this new tactic by Microsoft may seem heavy handed. Rage quitting or dropping too many F-Bombs may become a very costly habit. [Xbox]