SOE cracks down on trolls and abuse
Sony Online Entertainment has outlined a zero policy tolerance, banning users even if they misbehave on any other social network...
With the huge growth of online gaming over the last few years, we've witnessed a renaissance of sorts that's pushed gaming further into the public eye than ever before. Technology has grown, games have improved and communication has opened up gaming to the world, allowing players to compete against anyone, in any country.
Sadly, along with all the good comes the bad, with one of the most notable being abuse. Sat behind faceless broadband connections and firewalls, there's a whole army of haters and trolls out there that delight in ruining other people's online activities. Rather than be decent, and respectful, these users get their kicks abusing others and generally being the kind of person no one wants to deal with.
The severity of this changes from game to game, and is just a prevalent online and in social media, which has given these people a whole new platform which they can use to bother others. If Sony Online Entertainment has anything to say about it, though, this will change. Not just within its online games, but social media too.
SOE's director of global community relations, Linda Carlson, has stated that the company is going to take a hard-line stance against abusive behaviour, and this includes any such behaviour undertaken by SOE users on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
If users are found to be abusive, either in a SOE game or on social media sites, they could have their forum accounts banned, and be banned from SOE games entirely, forever.
"Not only will we ban your forum account, but if it's serious enough we'll call up customer service and have you banned from all of our games. We do not need those individuals as customers,” Carlson said in a statement to Games Industry. And she was also clear that it doesn't matter how important you may think you are, or how high level and prestigious you've become in a game.
“A very influential player, high up in a huge guild – we'll still ban them. In our games, if you are an exploiter we don't care who you are, how big your guild is, how many people you threaten to take with you when you go. We can control anybody who's playing our games...[but] if we know who you are and you're abusing somebody on Twitter, we will ban your game account and we will not accept you as a customer ever again.”
Carlson used Fez developer, Phil Fish's shock withdrawal from the industry as an example of how social media and Internet hatred can greatly affect both individual gamers and even developers, and highlights the power of an anonymous Internet connection.
Personally, I applaud SOE for taking such a stance. It's about time more companies took a stronger position on such things, and real ramifications for such abuse are very welcome. How effective this new level of tolerance will be depends on how well Sony can police its user base, after all, the Internet is a very large place. However, if other publishers, such as EA and Ubisoft followed suit, we could well see some improvement given time.
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