Toxicity is a very big problem with online gaming, and companies are constantly looking for new ways to make things more welcoming. A newly discovered patent from PlayStation indicates that the company is attempting to do just that, with a system that would reward players for good behavior, and punish those that make games less enjoyable for others. Rewards would include things like medals and "virtual points," while toxic players would have their actions reviewed by a human moderator, and players would be given a chance to appeal any potential punishments.
A chart from the patent can be found below.
A 2021 survey conducted by Lenovo and Reach3 Insights offered some troubling statistics about women that face harassment while gaming. Of the 900 women that took part in the survey, 59% said that they conceal their gender while gaming, and 77% said that they had to deal with harassment based on their gender. That same year, Twitch streamer Grenade Queen shared a video of the harassment she received while playing Halo Infinite, prompting Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley to call on Microsoft and gamers to bring about change. The fact of the matter is that this type of harassment drives players away, and video games are supposed to offer escapism, not another place for people to feel harassed or unwelcome.
Unfortunately, just because a patent is filed, it does not necessarily mean that the feature will see release. PlayStation has filed a lot of patents that never materialized, for one reason or another. At one point, the company filed for a patent that would allow players to use household items in place of a controller, including a banana. While that patent sounded intriguing, nothing has come of it over the last two years, and it's possible the same could be said for this rewards system. It's unclear if PlayStation's patent will end up implemented, but it is encouraging to see the company taking the issue seriously, and taking steps to fix the problem!
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