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  • For as long as video games have existed, some gamers have exhibited less than polite behaviour.
  • The modern term for such player behaviour is "toxic," and Amazon's got a new idea that it patented for dealing with such players: pair them with other toxic players.
  • "One mechanism for dealing with such players is to isolate all 'toxic' players into a separate player pool," the patent says, "such that one toxic player is paired only with other toxic players."
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As long as there have been video games, there have been cheaters, and bad sports, and all manner of other unfortunate behaviour.

The common term for such player behaviour these days is "toxic," and Amazon just patented an interesting way of dealing with these players: put them together.

"One mechanism for dealing with such players is to isolate all 'toxic' players into a separate player pool," a newly published Amazon patent spotted by Protocol says, "such that one toxic player is paired only with other toxic players."

The offending parties will be grouped together into their own game lobby where they'll play whatever multiplayer game in question with each other, rather than playing with a broader group of users who don't exhibit toxic behaviour, 

Since "toxic" behaviour is a broad category, and the type of behaviour defined as such depends on the player, Amazon's solution includes other factors as well. Some players may not find swearing to be "toxic" behaviour, for instance, while others may not find quitting out of games mid-match to be "toxic" behaviour. 

As such, the patent description goes further, and allows toxic players to also be matched with other players based on "behaviors exhibited by those players" and "preferences of those players for those behaviors." In short: A player who swears a lot may be matched with other players who swear a lot, while players who quit out of multiplayer sessions mid-match may be matched with other players who quit games mid-match.

Amazon has plenty of experience attempting to moderate gaming communities: It owns Twitch, the world's most popular video game streaming service, which has struggled with moderation for years.

Various video games have dabbled in the type of player behaviour policing that Amazon's patent covers, including "Grand Theft Auto Online,""Fall Guys," and "Rainbow Six: Siege," among others. The difference with Amazon's patent is that it uses a variety of factors to match a variety of different types of so-called "toxic" players together. 

Of course, given the nature of patents and Amazon's inability thus far to create a successful multiplayer video game, it's anyone's guess if we'll ever see this technology in action.

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