The concept of isolating toxic players in online games on a sort of prisoner island is not new but which Amazon is now taking ownership of.
According to a recently approved patent, Amazon is proposing a system (via Games Industry) which allows “behaviour-aware player selection for multiplayer electronic games.” In simpler words; a traditional matchmaking system for online games can be potentially changed to identify toxic players and group them together so that they can only play against or with each other.
Players who engage in such behaviours may be labelled as ‘toxic’ by other players. One mechanism for dealing with such players is to isolate all ‘toxic’ players into a separate player pool, such that one toxic player is paired only with other toxic players.
Toxicity is fairly common in online games and developers often resort to more simpler punishments to keep the playing field clean. The most basic solution is to have a chat filter that censors profanity, racial slurs and such. There can be a reporting button as well. Riot Games, for example, has an automated system where League of Legends players reported for toxicity have to wait out a timer before jumping into matchmaking. Repeated offense can further lead to temporarily muted chats or temporary bans in the game.
What Amazon has patented though goes beyond toxicity. A system that can force marked players into a single player-pool can also be used to counter hacking and cheating. Call of Duty: Warzone, for example, is notorious for having a massive hacking and cheating problem. The only problem is being able to detect such players but once done, forcing hackers to play with and against other hackers in online matches does sound like justice.
Amazon though does accept the fact that there is no clear definition of being toxic. The definition mostly depends on the game in question. Beyond profanity and racial slurs, players can also be labelled as toxic by others if they are hampering gameplay. Blocking paths, staying back intentionally, not helping out team members, quitting prematurely, or even being negative are all reasons for being labelled as a toxic player.