Games giant Ubisoft has started imposing automatic bans on users who use homophobic or racist slurs in online games.
The company launched a new automated system for shooter Rainbow Six Siege, after repeated criticism about the prevalence of anti-LGBT and racist slurs in the gaming community.
Under the new rules, anyone who uses a restricted word under a new filtering system will be automatically handed an instant ban.
The first infraction results in a half-hour ban, which escalates to a two-hour ban on a second offence. Repeat infractions quickly lead to permanent bans.
A Reddit user shared a video of the system in action. Seconds after typing the word “fag” into the ingame chat system, the player is forcibly ejected from the game.
A notification says: “Removed from match. You have been temporarily suspended due to Toxic Behaviour.”
Ubisoft directed users to a blog posted in April this year announcing the upcoming changes, which explained: “Toxicity management is a priority we will be focusing on as a team over the next few years, and we have a few different ways we plan on dealing with it.
“Our end goal is to track negative player behaviour, manage those that behave poorly, and eventually implement features that will encourage players to improve their behaviour.
“We have been working on some short-term changes that will quickly have an impact, such as chat improvements.”
It added: “We are currently tracking the frequency at which racial or homophobic slurs are used by individual players, and will be applying bans with increasing severity on a case-by-case basis.
“This is clearly outlined in the following section of the Code of Conduct: Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment is forbidden.”
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Its Twitter account responded to users who were upset about the new rules.
The company insisted: “We don’t want slurs or hate speech being used in our game. The only players who will be punished are those who continue to use the slurs and banned words in chat.”
It also clapped back at users who were upset at the ban on racist and homophobic terms, responding to a complaint from a banned user by saying: “Good”.
However some players claimed that rogue users were attempting to “trick” people into bans by asking them to say the slang term for cigarette.
Rainbow Six Siege insisted: “If you know it can be taken out of context, you can always choose to not respond.
“No system is perfect, but it is working as intended in a majority of the cases we’ve been seeing.
“This is not our final update for dealing with toxicity — we will continue to observe and make changes and expansions as needed.”