A good amount of people who have picked up an online competitive game in the past few years will be able to tell a story of ridiculous chat messages, aggressive behavior, or even harassment from random players across the world. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, is well aware of this, and took to Microsoft's official blog page to discuss how important gaming can be, and how it brings people together and inspires players around the world. Which is why he believes that video games should "be a safe environment" and will be taking measures to combat toxicity in gaming. The first change of which is that Xbox has updated its community standards page to reflect stricter guidelines in regards to "harmful behavior".
Second, gaming must promote and protect the safety of all. Gaming must be a safe environment. Creating community is shared work, and protecting community is essential work, so, we all carry part of the payload of community safety – game industry and gamers alike.
We commit to be vigilant, proactive, and swift. Our Xbox Safety team is nicknamed the “Defenders of Joy” because we will defend you in every humanly and technologically possible way, so gaming remains fun. We will identify potentials for abuse and misuse on our platform and will fix problems quickly. We are also intent on expanding the composition of our safety team so wide-ranging perspectives can help us identify future safety problems and solutions. Because hate and harassment have no place in gaming, we recently published a refreshed version of our Xbox Community Standards to communicate how each of us can keep gaming fun and safe for all and detail the consequences when any of us break these standards. A welcoming community is the key to a safe community, so our 150,000 Xbox Ambassadors – community leaders, stewards, and allies – will be engaged to embark on new community missions to help create an inviting and safe environment for all gamers. We will also continue to roll out new programs for the health of our entire gaming community.
This new policy promises to be "vigilant, proactive, and swift" in seeking out abuse on its online platforms to create a safe experience so that anyone of any background can play games without having to deal with toxic people creating problems. Additionally, a focus will be put on Xbox Club community managers, giving them "new moderation tools" to better protect fans, as well as simplifying the process of creating a child account for Microsoft gaming services. At the end of his post, Spencer also mentions that any innovations made to protect its younger gamers will be shared with the entire industry, to ensure the safety of as many players as possible.
We commit to working across the gaming industry on safety measures. Because we intend to protect all gamers, we will openly share safety innovations with our industry the same way Microsoft has made PhotoDNA technology universally available to everyone from the police to the tech industry to fight the spread of child pornography. Today, multiple teams working in areas like moderation, user research, data science, and others are already aligning with industry partners to share insights, and best practices in areas of safety, security and privacy.
The gaming community continues to grow rapidly, and the imminent roll-out of new game services such as Apple Arcade, Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud, will make gaming available to even more people worldwide. Our industry must now answer the fierce urgency to play with our fierce urgency for safety.
We invite everyone who plays games, and industry partners, to join us in following these principles to help unify the world and do our part: make gaming accessible for everyone and protect gamers, one and all.
While it's an impossible goal to entirely wipe out rude and cruel people from the internet, it seems Microsoft is dedicated to protecting its players, and being an inclusive platform to play games on.