Sony Could Try to Combat In-Game Abuser Actions by Modifying Content

Trolling and abuse is a common problem in many online games, and can ruin the experience for many. However, Sony recently put out a patent that is aimed at reducing in-game abuse through a variety of means and preserving the fun factor, according to the background laid out in the patent itself.

Cyber bullying is a pervasive problem that needs to be addressed in order to attract users to the game and to keep them engaged for an extended period of time. It is in this context that embodiments of the disclosure arise.

Many players of online games like MMORPGs and other multiplayer titles can likely share at least one story of someone deliberately causing the group to fail, either due to trolling or deliberate malice. However, one specific reason the patent uses is one player following another around and deliberately targeting them for abuse.

However, sometimes the user (e.g., a first user) may provide input to cause the game play to stop prematurely, or sacrifice their game character (i.e., cause the game character’s “death”) purposefully, or prevent or obstruct a second user in the gaming scenario from advancing in the game, or simply harass the second user, wherein the harassing of the second user may be in the form of directing certain actions (e.g., throwing objects) repeatedly at the game character of the second user.

The patent takes care of this by offering multiple ways that the bully can be taken care of, allowing the second user to not only be able to play the game without bother but also preventing them from, more importantly, leaving the game. Most of the ways the patent describes include various forms of visual trickery.

When it is determined that the first user’s input is targeting the second user and is abusive in nature, the representation of the second user included in the content presented to the first user is dynamically modified to hide the identity of the second user.

Considering how much of an issue bullying can be in online games, hopefully Sony Interactive Entertainment will make use of this new patent quickly so that players don’t have to worry about other players harassing them.