Ubisoft is already following through on its promise to make toxicity management a top priority as Rainbow Six: Siege moves full steam ahead into its third year.
Last week, players who used hate speech within text chat, such as racial or homophobic slurs, began to be automatically banned without warning. In many cases, the ban occurred in the middle of a game, with the offending player being immediately kicked from the match. Ubisoft has confirmed that Siege’s in-game banning system is now live.
Ubisoft’s toxicity management system appears to have a three-strike progression. Players have reportedly seen a ban of 27-minutes upon the first offense. From there – depending on severity – the time banned increases to two hours. Following a third offense, an investigation into the account is launched, with a permanent ban being the likely outcome.
Ubisoft originally announced their plan to battle toxic players in April, with the goal of encouraging player behavior. The high-level efforts include mute text chat function, chat filtering, team killing, and chat monitoring, the last of which is currently tracked. Bans are tracked on a case-by-case basis using Siege’s Code of Conduct:
"Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment is forbidden.”
Text chat monitoring seems like the best first step for Ubisoft to take in combatting toxic players. It takes more physical effort to type out derogatory remarks and hate speech – versus yelling into a mic – and is something that can be automatically monitored and controlled.
While the move is applauded by many within the gaming community, there is undoubtedly a camp angered by the ban, touting free speech as an argument. But, as has been clearly defined in multiple instances, free speech does not include hate speech. Per Ubisoft’s Twitter timeline, the company has no problem dealing with negative reviews of its new banning system:
Or perhaps the need to use slurs in chat in order to enjoy a game is a bit immature, yeah?— Rainbow Six Siege (@Rainbow6Game) July 15, 2018
This dedicated battle against negativity in gaming should also be viewed as a good thing for the industry overall, especially with the subject of video game violence making its way back into the discourse of politics this year.
In a world where cyber-bullying and online hate is an unfortunate daily occurrence, Ubisoft’s attempt to reduce toxicity from one of the industry’s most popular multiplayer games should be applauded.