A 2017 patent from Sony has only recently resurfaced. In the patent, Sony outlined their plans for monitoring the language and comments made by users in social VR applications.
The filing shows a method of recognising and tracking the behaviours of a reported user. This is meant for social VR apps and games. The system that is in the patent filing could monitor the user’s language, gestures, and movements. This will allow Sony to generate a “safety rating” for the user in question. This could then be compared to a set threshold determined by Sony, and if they meet the requirements, they could be labelled a “griefer”.
The use of the system could result in a reported user being shadow banned. While this is not a complete ban from the game or app that they are using, it would make them and their actions completely invisible to other users. They do not lose out on the app, but others will not have to interact with them.
The patent abstract:
“Shadow banning a participant within a social VR system includes: receiving and forwarding an identity of the participant, who may be shadow banned; recognizing and tracking inappropriate behaviours including inappropriate language and comments, inappropriate gestures, and inappropriate movements; receiving and processing the recognized and tracked inappropriate behaviours of the participant; generating a safety rating based on the processed inappropriate behaviours; comparing the safety rating to a threshold value; and outputting a signal to label the participant as a griefer and shadow ban the griefer when the safety rating is greater than the threshold value.”
This sort of tech will be necessary when the user base in VR grows beyond the ability to police themselves. Right now, the tech is still very much in the hobbyists domain. But, with the proliferation of cheap and available headsets like the Quest 2, there could be a less invested and more inappropriate userbase.
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