This week Rocket League gets a new "Language Ban" system that automatically bans players from online matches after they're reported for using certain words in chat.
The developers at Psyonix have come up with an initial list of over 20 words and variants. As you'd expect, Psyonix declined to make this list public, but did say it includes racial slurs.
The list will evolve over time to include words and phrases from multiple languages. Here's how it works:
"Each word has its own threshold, and once a threshold for any word has been reached, that player will be automatically subject to a ban. These bans will typically start at 24 hours, then escalate to 72 hours, one week, and finally, a permanent ban."
What this means is there are some words that, if seen in a report, will result in an immediate ban of the reported player. There are other words with a higher tolerance. These can be seen in several reports (all tied to the same reported player) before a ban is triggered. It's worth noting Rocket League's appeal system for bans applies to these reports.
Rocket League has a whopping 34 million players, so it's no surprise to learn the developers receive thousands of reports every day. The majority of these reports, Psyonix said, are about in-game abuse and harassment, typically in the form of abusive language.
Rocket League players already have player mute and report systems you can access from the in-game menu mid-match. The Language Ban system adds a new layer of automation to the report-ban process, Psyonix stressed.
"This new Language Ban system will help us address reports quickly and precisely while we also continue our usual monitoring of Reddit and other social channels for feedback," Psyonix said.
With Rocket League set to launch cross-platform play across Xbox One, Windows 10, Steam and Nintendo Switch (but not PlayStation 4), Psyonix is under increased pressure to do its best to ensure playing online is as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible.
Currently, PS4 and Xbox One players can play with PC players, but they can't see text chat typed by PC players, so this new Language Ban system seems targeted at Rocket League's PC community.