In a recent announcement over the studio’s website, video game development company Psyonix revealed that its next update for vehicular soccer game Rocket League will be refining the game’s report-ban process with an added layer of automation. Specifically, this new system will automatically detect and remove players reported for using the game’s chat feature to transmit abusive, “toxic” messages.
“This automation, simply called the ‘Language Ban’ system, will automatically ban players from online matches when certain words — racial slurs, for example — are seen in reports filed by our players.”
According to the announcement, the system currently only has a list of 20 or so words and their associated variations to detect. Players who type these words “aloud” in Rocket League will be subject to a 24-hour-long ban from the game, with repeat offenses being met with bans extending to 72 hours, an entire week and, should they prove to be especially dedicated, permanently.
The actual list of “bad” words, which hasn’t been released and never will be, will continue to evolve over the game’s development as more ill-intended players learn to replace words and phrases with clever, number-infused counterparts (something the Internet has always been quite ingenuous at). These efforts will extend to different languages of course, combatting slurs and toxicity across all cultures.
Similar systems have been implemented in the video game industry in the past, with varying levels of success. Overwatch, for example, released an update nearly a year ago today that began automatically replacing frequently-used, unpleasant messages with self-degrading substitutions. One popular phrase, “gg ez,” which had been commonly used to mock the opposing team after a victory, would instead appear as, “It’s past my bedtime. Please don’t tell my mommy.”
The announcement also made mention of a series of punishments dealt to players who abused the matchmaking system during Rocket League’s Competitive Season 3. Those caught “gaming the system” to alter their rank via wins or losses were denied rewards for Season 4, though no bans were otherwise dealt for the exploit. An added note suggested that players who thought they’d been punished unfairly could appeal by reaching out to the game’s support team at support.rocketleague.com or by giving them a shout on Twitter.