In April this year, Sony Interactive Entertainment filed a patent application for a system to process “disruptive” behavior in multiplayer games, and take appropriate action against abusive players and cyberbullies.
As spotted by GameRant, the application was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in September, and claims that online harassment and cyberbullying has unfortunately become a “growing trend” in online video games. Commonly referred to as trolls and griefers, a disruptive player is described as one who “deliberately irritates, annoys, and harasses other players within the video game. In some instances, the disruptive player will use aspects of the video game in unintended ways to disrupt normal play of the video game.”
Currently, game companies heavily rely on manual reporting and vetting methods. Sony appears to be testing a system that automatically identifies disruptive events and patterns of disruptive behavior.
“The method also includes applying a behavioral designation to players in the online gaming system,” the application reads. “The behavioral designation indicates whether or not a player is verified as responsible for one or more of the identified disruptive behavior events. The method also includes generating current real-time player behavior demographic data for a specified game space using the behavioral designations applied to players associated with the specified game space.”
The application further discusses “allowable” tolerance levels for such behavior. The idea behind the system isn’t to ban players outright, but to discourage griefing by putting appropriate restrictions in place, and streamlining the process of dealing with such players.
The application contains a lot of technical jargon, but if you’re interested, head over to WIPO’s website.