Online gaming has always had a reputation of being the wild west when it comes to player interactions - it's the reason the small print on game cases warns purchasers against developers being able to moderate what goes on in online spaces. However, Ubisoft have - ironically - been the first to attempt this by taking the extreme measure of reporting gamers to the police.
A new report by the BBC details how one of Ubisoft's UK Customer Relationship Centre, based in Newcastle, is now working with their local police force. This collaboration includes Ubisoft supplying the police with the information of players making online threats and even start legal proceedings, where Ubisoft can prosecute the individual in question.
"We want to be on the right side of history," Damien Glorieux, a director at the Ubisoft Newcastle office, says. Colleague Andrew Holliday provides an example of a case where they collaborated with the police about a player in Norway. "The agreement with Northumbria Police meant that after we flagged it, even though it wasn't a UK citizen, they were able to get Norwegian authorities involved."
So, while this might start in the UK, this relationship between the Ubisoft and local police departments actually has far reaching consequences for those around the globe.
While curbing toxicity is obviously a great thing, it is ironic that this initiative should be put forward by Ubisoft, who have been in constant hot water about the abusive, toxic, and manipulative behaviour of its management.
This move also raises questions about violations of personal privacy, as well as where we draw the line at individual responsibility. It's never nice to be met with a barrage of insults in an online game when you're trying to relax after a long day, but is the solution really police intervention?
And what happens if the police then have to use (or misuse) force when investigating one of Ubisoft's reports?