U.S. Patent no. 9,839,838: System and method for online community management

Issued December 12, 2017 to Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Priority Date May 14, 2013

U.S. Patent No. 9,839,838 (the ‘838 Patent) relates to the community management of player in an online multiplayer gaming environment. Specifically, the invention describes computer systems and methods that comprise an automated system to improve player management. As online multiplayer games have increased in popularity, the growing size of communities has increased the number of players who engage in anti-social behavior, unsportsmanlike conduct, and cheating. Traditionally video game developers would maintain staff for manual community management. However, this process is both cumbersome, expensive, and often ineffective given the large volume of games being played at any given time. The ‘838 Patent addresses a system that combines an automated system with tiered classifications of scaled punishment in conjunction with manual management. For certain types of undesired conduct the computer system is able to evaluate and identify such players. As players are moved up the tier classification they are assigned a sportsmanship score. Only those with sufficiently negative values may be subject to the manual management punishment system which increases the effectiveness and lowers the burden on the manual system.

Disclosed are systems and methods for online community management. The disclosed system allows for automatic identification and punishment of players exhibiting bad sportsmanship through a combination of automatic detection schemes and a peer reporting scheme. In addition to the sportsmanship check, the disclosed system also provides automatic checks for identifying potential cheaters and generating a potential cheaters list for review by admin staff. As a result of either classification system, players found to be either bad sports or cheaters are not allowed to participate in play with the general pool of players, but instead must play in an alternate pool. For extremely harmful conduct, players may be banned from the online community.

Illustrative Claim:
1. An online community management system for automated tiered player classification and weighted enforcement, comprising: a first player pool; a second player pool; a plurality of players having associated hash values that define player records comprising player classification statistics, each player classification statistic representing a numerical value; a monitoring component configured to detect at least one of a plurality of predetermined negative player actions and further configured to execute a hash function used to increment the player classification statistic of the player record by a weighted numerical value corresponding to detection of a player performing one of the predetermined negative player actions, the weighted numerical value being unique for a selected predetermined negative player action and a second predetermined negative player action; a determining component configured to evaluate whether the player classification statistic of any of the player records has reached a threshold value and when the threshold value is reached, add a negative classification to the hash value defining the corresponding player record; an enforcement component configured to place players in the first or second player pool based on the negative classification; and a matchmaking component that uses the player’s hash value to match players in a game, wherein the plurality of predetermined negative player actions includes at least one of offensive conduct over voice chat services, using offensive user generated content, sabotaging team members, quitting during play of a game, bullying, sabotage of the game, killing allies, failure to cooperate with the game, purposely dying to give opposing team points, hacking the game, modifying the game, and giving away ally position.