Amazon recently had a new patent approved in the US for a system designed to fight toxicity in multiplayer games. For those who have paid attention to Apex Legends since its launch, the system might sounds familiar, as it’s centered around forcing players deemed to be toxic to only play with each other. However, while Apex Legends‘ system groups those found to be using cheat software in matches with each other, Amazon’s looks like it will address a wider range of issues.
According to the patent filing notes, Amazon feels that how players enjoy a game isn’t only determined by ensuring level competition, but also by protecting them from toxic players — those that “use profanity or engage in other undesirable behaviors.” The patent notes that, similar to Apex Legends’ system, one way to deal with this is to throw anyone who is deemed toxic into a pool where they are forced to play together. However “toxic” can mean a wide variety of things depending on who’s being asked, so that may not be the best solution.
Most players would agree that cheating is toxic and we can probably safely assume most would be on board with throwing racist comments and hate speech into the mix. However, some things like general profanities may be considered toxic as well. The question is, would game developers really want to throw someone into the toxic pit along with the first two just because they’ve said a dirty word? And what about someone who may have questionable internet connectivity? Do they deserve to be grouped with hackers because they have troubles staying in game?
With that portion in mind, Amazon’s filing introduces a system where players can use settings to indicate what they are and are not okay with. The system should then match players based on what they’re okay with.
Of course, for Amazon to personally use this patent, they’ll actually have to launch a game and keep it launched. But, being Amazon, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll just charge other companies to use it, even if they don’t.