Coming across a nasty troll in the post-game chat is nothing new to many gamers. Usually, it will do you well to simply let it roll off your back and load into a new match. However, this year, Sony will be rewarding you for taking the high road in its annual Win-A-Thon.
The PlayStation Tournaments commenced on December 1 and will run until the end of January 2023. All you need is a PlayStation that’s compatible with PS5 versions of its games, as well as a PlayStation Plus account if you want to try your hand at one of the 14 confirmed games set to offer prizes if you meet winning conditions. While PS4 users will be able to win a current-gen console, the Tournaments’ website lists loads of other gaming goodies that are up for grabs, too.
This year, Sony’s blog post announcing the event stresses their intention to create “meaningful and frictionless competitive gaming experiences for players of all skill levels.” Expect to be disqualified if you can’t be nice to strangers online; there are already chatbots keeping an eye on you.
A soldier for the controller
What’s new in this year’s PlayStation Tournaments? For starters, Sony has made it easier to put your name in the hat.
“The new experience streamlines competitive play with shorter tournament times, seamless on-console sign-up, easily discoverable tournaments, all-new UI, real-time match updates, and more improvements that address common barriers to online competitive play,” reads the official blog post announcement.
You’ll be able to track your progress from the Win-A-Thon screen. “Succeed in any Win-A-Thon eligible tournament to have that victory count towards your overall ranking on your regional leaderboard,” explains the blog post. This means that come the end of January, you might be winning a DualSense Edge controller or even a PS5 if you’ve yet to snag one.
To find tournaments and challenges, simply scroll to the game of your choice and hit the down button on your gamepad to check out all the active matches. You don’t need to be of a certain experience level to sign up, so there’s no need to be shy about it.
Although more players typically meant a longer challenge length in past editions of the Tournaments, the duration of each challenge will be capped to keep it fair – no matter how many people join in.
“We have introduced a new bracket capping feature to ensure a standard duration for every tournament,” the blog post details. “If the cap is exceeded, multiple brackets will be created for the same tournament – but prizing will remain the same for each.”
Also new this year is the opportunity to check the results so far in real-time from the control center, as well as notifications to help guide you through each tournament. These will help you track when each one starts or finishes and provide other valuable details to help you succeed.
Be good, for goodness sake
The Tournaments this year seem more inclusive than ever, and Sony wants you to know they’re looking out for you to make sure it stays that way. “PlayStation Tournaments on PS5 will create more meaningful and frictionless competitive gaming experiences for players of all skill levels,” they remind us at the end of their announcement in a gentle nudge that here, there is no room for harassment.
Xbox banned over seven million Xbox Live accounts for breaching user guidelines, and even individual game studios have been cracking down on toxicity in online gaming this year.
Ubisoft and Riot Games’ anti-bullying campaign, Zero Harm In Comms, kicked off in November 2022. Using AI bots to monitor voice and text comms in their online gaming servers, they intend to collect data that would help autonomous systems spot and remove cases of bad manners and bullying to make online gaming a safer space for everyone.
With Ubisoft game Rainbow Six Siege queued up as one of the titles offering Win-A-Thon challenges, it could prove interesting to see how much data the campaign is able to garner from this two-year event alone.
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Jasmine is a freelance writer and podcaster based in the UK. Whether it's a Sims 4 lore deep-dive or a guide to securing kills in Dead By Daylight, her work is featured on TheGamer as well as the door of her mother's fridge. When she's not aggressively championing the Oxford comma on Twitter, you can find her scoping out the local music scene or buying gaudy Halloween decorations all year round.