As reported earlier by Kotaku and Forbes, video game industry titans Riot, Blizzard, and Twitch have begun to collaborate to fight “cyber bullying” and “toxic behavior”. Many others in the industry are likely to follow their lead and deal with players in an equivalent manner.
Some players have complained that the “report toxic behavior” button is being abused and taken advantage by spiteful players. Once a player is reported a week to two-week ban is usually enacted. The biggest complaint players have with this system is that there is no clear definition on what defines “toxic behavior”. Hypothetically, nearly any comment could be considered “toxic behavior”.
It is not all bad however. As per Forbes, the “report toxic behavior” button has seemed to reduce incidents of abuse in in-game chats by 17%.
Blizzard has upped the ante however, and not just toxic behavior in in-game chats are subject to review. As per now YouTube videos and forum posts which can identify players by their usernames are being reviewed. If a player is deemed “toxic” even outside the game, it may lead to a ban.
Many Players are upset with the Orwellian actions of Blizzard and have claimed that policies such as this hinder a game’s “fun factor”. Some Players have claimed to have been banned for very vague instances such as arguing with teammates over character selection in Blizzard’s Overwatch.
One League of Legends player claimed to get “perma-banned” for typing “gg ez” at the end of a match. “gg ez” is internet lingo for “good game, easy”.
It is likely that in decentralized & Blockchain based games of the future, no bans will be able to take place. This is due to the nature of such technology. This would remove the excess of power large companies such as Blizzard have.
Companies that will follow Blizzard’s excessive policing could possibly face a consumer rebellion in the future. Consumer rebellions happened in the past and have deeply impacted the sales of EA’s Battlefront II just a few months ago, which we have covered earlier. One can hope that these companies will dial down on what is considered offensive until decentralized games become more mainstream.