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How Microsoft plans to shield you from cheats and jerks on Xbox One

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Microsoft is promising to make it easier to avoid the harassment of "cheats and jerks" online with the next console generation, outlining its updated reputation algorithm for Xbox One in a new post from Michael Dunn, program manager for Xbox Live.

Microsoft is simplifying its player reputation model for Xbox One, incorporating direct feedback — like blocking or muting troublesome players — and moving away from Xbox Live's survey option. The new process will factor in "all of the feedback from a player's online flow," not just reports of abuse, to determine who's rude and who's polite.

Players will be identified as "good," "needs improvement" or "avoid me," assessments that will be reflected through color-coded indicators on their gamer card, Dunn writes. Most players, he says, will be seen as "good" but will penalize those who are repeatedly disruptive on Xbox Live.

"The algorithm is sophisticated and won't penalize you for a few bad reports," Dunn assures players. "Even good players might receive a few player feedback reports each month and that is OK. The algorithm weighs the data collected so if a dozen people suddenly reporting a single user, the system will look at a variety of factors before docking their reputation." The system will use additional verification methods in an attempt to provide accurate reputation scores.

"Looking at someone's gamer card you'll be able to quickly see their reputation," he says. "And, your reputation score is ultimately up to you. The more hours you play online without being a jerk, the better your reputation will be; similar to the more hours you drive without an accident, the better your driving record and insurance rates will be."

Dunn says the reputation algorithm will continue to evolve, and that players providing feedback will be instrumental to its success.

"If you don't want to play with cheats or jerks, you shouldn't have to," Dunn writes. "Our new reputation model helps expose people that aren't fun to be around and creates real consequences for trouble-makers that harass our good players."

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