SOE Will Ban Players For Out-of-Game Offenses

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SOE Will Ban Players For Out-of-Game Offenses

planetside 2 tanks

Sony Online Entertainment's Linda Carlson says the company takes harassment "seriously" whether in-game or over Twitter.

We've all heard the stories. A studio or game developer does or says something gamers don't like and things go bonkers. In July, for instance, Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar found himself and his family the subject of violent threats following tweaks to the gameplay of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. As ridiculous as the situation was, it's something some could easily see happening again. That in mind, some companies take a hard line with gamers who cross the lines of common decency.

Sony Online Entertainment, the publisher behind games like Everquest Next and PlanetSide 2, for instance, has recently affirmed its willingness to ban players not just for in-game abuses, but also for actions they take out of character. "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," said Linda Carlson, director of global community relations at SOE. "It's not always possible to identify people [in that way], but we take that seriously." According to Carlson, "We do not need those individuals as customers."

Far from just trying to protect staff members from abuse, Carlson believes this firm stance is necessary to try and maintain a fun and positive experience for players as well. "99.5 percent plus of the player base are tremendous individuals," she said. In turn, she sees it as the job of game makers to do what they can to defend against the often vitriolic noise of the other .5 percent and maintain the good atmosphere that most gamers and developers are looking for. "I don't believe anybody needs to put up with that stuff," she said.

Source: GamesIndustry International

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Good on ya Sony, I say. Just be prepared to make sure your banning the right people and that you fix any mistaken bannings.

inb4 OMG INVASION OF PRIVACY ;_____;!!!!

I don't approve, but I don't disapprove either. I anticipate the launch so we can find out if it works out.

This will make a lot of 13 yo Call of Dooty players go apeshit. :D

And once again we have Sony trying to be some sort of international police force. Just like they tried to do when they prosecuted people who had modified their PS3s.

I, for one, would be much happier playing MMOs without all the douche canoes. But Sony really has no legal or moral responsibility to track down and ban in-game customers based on threats from non-corporate sources.

Prosecuting people who make online threats is a job for local, state, national and ACTUAL international law enforcement agencies.

99.5 percent plus of the player base are tremendous individuals," she said. In turn, she sees it as the job of game makers to do what they can to defend against the often vitriolic noise of the other .05 percent and maintain the good atmosphere that most gamers and developers are looking for.

So what about the last 0.45%, are they just mediocre?

T-Shirt Turtle:
Good on ya Sony, I say. Just be prepared to make sure your banning the right people and that you fix any mistaken bannings.

That was my thought. They're sure to butthurt a few people, but the biggest problem I see is IRL griefing. The internet being what it is, it's certain that people like Lulzsec will start framing people.

>.>

<.<

I'm ok with this. God knows the gaming community needs to be cleaned up anyway, better late then never to start dumping the bleach into the pool

MinionJoe:
And once again we have Sony trying to be some sort of international police force. Just like they tried to do when they prosecuted people who had modified their PS3s.

I, for one, would be much happier playing MMOs without all the douche canoes. But Sony really has no legal or moral responsibility to track down and ban in-game customers based on threats from non-corporate sources.

Prosecuting people who make online threats is a job for local, state, national and ACTUAL international law enforcement agencies.

If someone is threatening their employees and/or other players then yes Sony has the right to ban their account and tell them to piss off. Part of the EULA says that they can ban you for abusive behaviour and doing it on twitter if caught would fall under this clause, esp if they update it.

I don't see any issues at all with doing this. Real world repercussions are what's needed to quell this sort of behaviour.

On one hand, I'm entirely in favor of this sort of thing. It's the lack of repercussions for being a jackhole that's the underlying cause for it being so prevalent in the Internet.

On the other hand, I would hope there's some sort of appeals system just so you don't lose a lot of paid-for stuff due to some moderator's bad day.

I approve of this, but I don't think it'll work. I give it one class action suit from pissed off teens with too much money and one hacked twitter account, and the policy'll be gone. Nice try, though.

As long as you can apply to a reconsideration or cry foul if your account got hacked or something, I'm okay with this. Send a hard message to people that if you want to abuse the developers, no more game you paid good money for and spent good time on for you. Keep it constructive if you're unhappy, or GTFO.

MinionJoe:
And once again we have Sony trying to be some sort of international police force. Just like they tried to do when they prosecuted people who had modified their PS3s.

I, for one, would be much happier playing MMOs without all the douche canoes. But Sony really has no legal or moral responsibility to track down and ban in-game customers based on threats from non-corporate sources.

Prosecuting people who make online threats is a job for local, state, national and ACTUAL international law enforcement agencies.

Perhaps you should read the article. No one said anything about prosecution.

Sony has every right to fire their customers for any reason or no reason at all. I think threatening tweets are a fair enough reason to fire a customer.

It just means people won't be linking their twitter accounts to their PSN accounts any more. Nothing will change.

RicoADF:

If someone is threatening their employees and/or other players then yes Sony has the right to ban their account and tell them to piss off.

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Fair enough, but not always the case (as I detail below).

If someone is actually threatening Sony employees, Sony has the right to report all relevant details to law enforcement authorities and to press charges through legal channels.

evilneko:

Sony has every right to fire their customers for any reason or no reason at all.

For one, customers cannot be "fired". And Sony cannot "fire" a customer for any reason they want.

Can Sony refuse service to a customer for being black? Or a woman? Or Christian?

If so, that's awesome. Because I've always wanted to start an online dating service and refuse to provide services to gay men and women.

Except eHarmony already tried that. And they lost their lawsuit.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2008-12-12/news/36870076_1_eharmony-compatible-partners-gay-users

So here's the question: Where do we draw the line?

If Sony is allowed to rebuke customers based on perceived threats made from non-Sony sites (instead of allowing law enforcement agencies pursue those threats), what's to stop them from refusing service to anyone who simply speaks out against the company in general?

(Addendum: Anyone making threats ON Sony's site can certainly be acted upon. I've no issue with that. It'd be the same situation as a drunk walking into Denny's at 3am and harassing the wait staff. That person can be legally ejected. But that person can't be barred from Denny's because of comments they made while down at Waffle House.)

So all people need to do to abuse Sony employees is make a new email account and set up a new twitter account? Personally I don't think they should ban people, they should just modify their account so that they have a huge handicap whilst playing. Like having them show up on radar/maps constantly or give them weapons that fire pretty sparkles instead of bullets. Or subtle things like increasing their hitbox and lowering the accuracy of their weapons. If they complain then ask if they want to publically apologise for being a twat, or whether they would rather be banned permanently.

Since BuzzCutpsycho left planetside 2 of boredom and the Enclave is gone, the system is worthless now. Not that it ever worked. Way too late to fix any real issue. The damage has been done. Him and his crew broke a whole server from his bullcrap and was the most toxic AND the most POWERFUL (politically) player planetside has to offer.

Even when he broke the in game rules on his own stream, they didn't do anything. Even when he practically broke the game for his own benefit. On video.

He even was on tape when he gave orders to his gigantic outfit (clan) to teamkill another friendly outfit (was also a huge outfit) in the area and blow their mobile spawner (sunderer) because Buzz wanted to do easy xp farming with his own sunderer.

A toxic, racist, and misogynist player. The most famous player in the entire game right next to "Scourge of the server." With a legion of lackies that helps him exploit the game month after month on a live stream and destroy anyone else's fun.

Its just more puffering on SOE's part. Like when he said we will "track you hackers down." Yeah, that went no where. SOE does absolutely nothing for punishments. They never actually took care of any real problem the game has.

If they want to help their games they can start by not letting toxic players becoming so powerful they practically own an entire server in the first place and actually enforcing their rules than just sitting around doing nothing. Instead of acting tough to get brownie points from people who don't play their games.

I am hesitantly okay with this. As always, everything depends on implementation of the policy, though, not the policy itself.

I was ready to be outraged, but reading over the article itself, the basis sounds pretty reasonable. I do wonder how effective it will be against anyone who takes even the most basic preventative measures to keep their online personae separate from one another, and I hope that there's a reasonable appeal system in place (I don't want to see anyone banned for writing non-approved fan-fiction of game universes, for example.) But all in all, I approve of there being consequences for extreme antisocial behavior.

This seems rather excessive, honestly. A lot of these people are teenagers who haven't fully matured yet, and permanently banning them and saying "we never want you as a customer again" seems like a harsh punishment to deal out to people who are likely going to grow out of that phase in a few years. Personally, I'm generally for increasingly lengthy suspensions as opposed to permanently banning the person.

Just from the title I was worried
then I read the article

Good idea Sony

lacktheknack:
inb4 OMG INVASION OF PRIVACY ;_____;!!!!

I don't approve, but I don't disapprove either. I anticipate the launch so we can find out if it works out.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic but...
How is Twitter (the online equivalent of yelling at the top of your lungs in a crowded public park) in any way private?

i not only support sony in this but think ever publisher and game service should get on board with this. if people wont act with basic decency then they need to face the consequences of their actions and keep things fun for the rest of the community

Now if they could just extend this fervor to actually doing something about people that commit offenses IN game (cheating, hacking etc.) then Planetside might be a playable game.

MinionJoe:

evilneko:

Sony has every right to fire their customers for any reason or no reason at all.

For one, customers cannot be "fired". And Sony cannot "fire" a customer for any reason they want.

You're getting hung up on a turn of phrase? Ridiculous.

Can Sony refuse service to a customer for being black? Or a woman? Or Christian?

Alright, so "almost" any reason they want. Or rather, any reason they want, protected classes aside. Or again, for no reason at all.

So here's the question: Where do we draw the line?

If Sony is allowed to rebuke customers based on perceived threats made from non-Sony sites (instead of allowing law enforcement agencies pursue those threats), what's to stop them from refusing service to anyone who simply speaks out against the company in general?

(Addendum: Anyone making threats ON Sony's site can certainly be acted upon. I've no issue with that. It'd be the same situation as a drunk walking into Denny's at 3am and harassing the wait staff. That person can be legally ejected. But that person can't be barred from Denny's because of comments they made while down at Waffle House.)

What of it? Sony could refuse service to people who eat their toast butter side down if they wanted to. It might not make sense, but nothing would stop them. They might change their minds and decide butter side downers are A-Okay, it's the vegetarians who are the real menace, and again nothing would stop them. It's their prerogative who they do business with...protected classes excepted.

"Nothing" meaning they would violate no laws. Certainly Sony's stockholders might have something to say about such decisions. Were Sony a privately-held company, nothing would stop Richard Garriot-level crazy so long as it stayed within the law.

At least until it went out of business, I mean.

drthmik:
Just from the title I was worried
then I read the article

Good idea Sony

lacktheknack:
inb4 OMG INVASION OF PRIVACY ;_____;!!!!

I don't approve, but I don't disapprove either. I anticipate the launch so we can find out if it works out.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic but...
How is Twitter (the online equivalent of yelling at the top of your lungs in a crowded public park) in any way private?

"inb4" typically denotes derision and sarcasm, yes. :P

I guess Sony and I are on the same page. I'm neither a troll nor troublemaker, but if they're going this route I see absolutely no reason to touch their products. Not like it matters, since there's millions more taking my place.

MysticSlayer:
This seems rather excessive, honestly. A lot of these people are teenagers who haven't fully matured yet, and permanently banning them and saying "we never want you as a customer again" seems like a harsh punishment to deal out to people who are likely going to grow out of that phase in a few years. Personally, I'm generally for increasingly lengthy suspensions as opposed to permanently banning the person.

Teenagers brains are definitely different.. which is exactly why such harsh punishments are required.

Neurostudies have shown that teen's brains, especially when they think they're being observed by their peers, literally activate in such a way as to minimize risks in their judgment. And while I doubt that was informing Sony's policy in this, it's interesting to note that because of that it takes the threat of an extremely harsh punishment to get through.

MinionJoe:

RicoADF:

If someone is threatening their employees and/or other players then yes Sony has the right to ban their account and tell them to piss off.

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Fair enough, but not always the case (as I detail below).

If someone is actually threatening Sony employees, Sony has the right to report all relevant details to law enforcement authorities and to press charges through legal channels.

evilneko:

Sony has every right to fire their customers for any reason or no reason at all.

For one, customers cannot be "fired". And Sony cannot "fire" a customer for any reason they want.

Can Sony refuse service to a customer for being black? Or a woman? Or Christian?

If so, that's awesome. Because I've always wanted to start an online dating service and refuse to provide services to gay men and women.

Except eHarmony already tried that. And they lost their lawsuit.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2008-12-12/news/36870076_1_eharmony-compatible-partners-gay-users

So here's the question: Where do we draw the line?

If Sony is allowed to rebuke customers based on perceived threats made from non-Sony sites (instead of allowing law enforcement agencies pursue those threats), what's to stop them from refusing service to anyone who simply speaks out against the company in general?

(Addendum: Anyone making threats ON Sony's site can certainly be acted upon. I've no issue with that. It'd be the same situation as a drunk walking into Denny's at 3am and harassing the wait staff. That person can be legally ejected. But that person can't be barred from Denny's because of comments they made while down at Waffle House.)

Refusing service due to threatening players and employees of Sony and refusing service due to discrimination or opinions of the company/game are 2 different things. Not to mention they would have to know about the threats/abuse which would mean that it had become an issue. You may not agree with it, but legally they would be in the right. If someone challenges it in court then it'd come down to a judge as usual.

Which is stupid, but I don't run the company so they don't have to follow my morals.

1) Is it only harassment towards developers, or to players, or to anyone? I mean, I don't think if you're tweeting someone raging at them about a movie you saw Sony will ban you from Planetside 2... but they make no distinction.

2) How sure will they be an individual is who Sony thinks they are?

3) How strict will this be? Let's say, for instance, someone tweets "SOE must have balanced the latest patch while drunk" (not at SOE). Is that harassment? Does all language now have to be neutered when speaking about anything Sony is doing lest someone who works there be offended?

It's a good idea, IMO, to remove toxic players from the environment. However, searcing for people on Twitter or Facebook who say thins you might not like would be taking this policy way too far, should it come to that.

Hard to say how I feel about this. On the one hand, a third party punishing you for something you did completely outside of your dealings with them feels weird to me.

On the other hand, Sony has the right to refuse to do business with anyone they please, as all businesses do (as long as the reasoning doesn't involve an -ism).

It's not Sony's job to enforce proper behavior. When you start making threats against someone's life, that's when criminal charges start applying. Since you can't really force someone to take your money, and they're specifically going after the serious offenders, think I'll be ok with this in the end. Still feels kinda wrong in a way, but 65% good idea is still overall a good idea.

Developers need to start focusing on games and stop focusing on PR, community policing and advertising, that's all I've got to say. The system should be set up to be self-governing, not moderated by Sony employees.

Kwil:

MysticSlayer:
This seems rather excessive, honestly. A lot of these people are teenagers who haven't fully matured yet, and permanently banning them and saying "we never want you as a customer again" seems like a harsh punishment to deal out to people who are likely going to grow out of that phase in a few years. Personally, I'm generally for increasingly lengthy suspensions as opposed to permanently banning the person.

Teenagers brains are definitely different.. which is exactly why such harsh punishments are required.

Neurostudies have shown that teen's brains, especially when they think they're being observed by their peers, literally activate in such a way as to minimize risks in their judgment. And while I doubt that was informing Sony's policy in this, it's interesting to note that because of that it takes the threat of an extremely harsh punishment to get through.

1. We don't know if teenagers will actually feel like they are being watched by their peers, considering the Internet carries with it such incredibly anonymity that they may feel they are safe from being figured out, rendering this useless.

2. Assuming they do have that feeling, then what benefit does permanently banning them have over lengthy suspensions? If anything the lengthy suspensions would be enough, as the longer they get the more it will register with the teenager that they are being watched and, therefore, are less likely to act in such a horrible manner without undergoing a punishment this strict, one that will carry with them even after they've developed out of this phase.

hmmm, not sure if i think this is good or bad

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