Xbox's Phil Spencer discusses toxicity in gaming and how to combat it

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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.

:arrow: Source
 

CrAzYLiFe

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:/ people need to grow a back bone sometimes.

Parties have all but killed the toxic fun anyway.

But I will always have those hilarious memories of halo 2 the og xbox where we were forced to chat to each other. Some of the most fun in gaming I have ever had haha but it was fairly toxic.

Say hi to anyone these days and you get a comm ban, and since the 360 most people just chat in there own parties witch is fair enough, but man has it taken some of the fun a good ole unfiltered trash talking brings to the table
 

Izual Urashima

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Yeah, ok, just handing the next generation to Nintendo again we see. ;p

Fixed.

But yeah, if they're trying to throw buzzwords in order to save their sorry ass, I won't feel sorry ignoring them again. And going to Sony isn't better, considering they're not only doing the same, but also actively censoring games to ensure they can prove how "safe" and "secure" their games are.
 
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Silent_Gunner

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So...what am I getting for the Xbox One, Mr. Spencer? Are we going to get an epic last hurrah that will make people come to the console for that exclusive that will stay as an exclusive? Will you finally decide on a menu layout (from what I've heard, the menu layout was and still is a mess unlike that of the 360 in its final years when there were still a lot of people playing online and not hacking left and right) and do it correctly? Are you going to bring Xbox One, 360, and OG Xbox games to PC via the Microsoft Store or Steam? (preferably the games that haven't seen an official PC release *winks at all of the 3D Ninja Gaiden games that aren't Yaiba, Red Dead Redemption, and Jet Set Radio Future, Panzer Dragoon Orta, etc..*)

Wait, inclusivity? Solving "abuse"? (over someone being called names as opposed to focusing on, say, protecting your consumers' personal information in an era where companies are hacked daily) Trying to protect kids who, frankly, I don't see playing games with a traditional controller given how a lot of parents will usually hand them a tablet/phone and expect it to be the parent (which isn't necessarily how you parent) with no potential for problems? (*winks at microtransaction use in FTP games and transactions the parents never initiated themselves*)

IDK, it seems like I could write this off to people not taking responsibility and just giving kids, say, an ODroid XU4 with a bunch of games on it and no online multiplayer gaming to be sure, but then again, I wasn't playing games online until I played GameSpy Chess when I was in 3rd or 4th grade with some very colorful individuals that'd make whatever "toxicity" Microsoft wants to police look like MLP in comparison! But I was satisfied with what I had growing up, especially with older brothers who didn't mind playing games every now and then and yeah, we got mad, frustrated, and maybe there was a little roughhousing afterwards, but it was all in good fun as opposed to, "this guy's pwning me hard, I'll show him/her by looking up their personal information and either dox them or call a SWAT team on them! I'm a real badass! Hurr durr!" Now THAT's a real problem to solve. I don't know why it's so easy for some freak or immature brat to somehow get where you live, your phone number, or whatever, and suddenly, now I'm afraid to play online not just because of this nonsense of anything being considered offensive (remember when someone with the username DonaldTrump was banned from Overwatch/Battle.net's service?), and also the fact that, with more people playing games "regularly" now than ever before, that means you have more LEGITIMATE psychos that could be like that Tyler Barris douche and get someone innocent killed.

Video games, contrary to popular belief, are not serious business. Yeah, I know there's FaZE, EVO, Fatal1ty and every professional gamer I could list, but those who are successful and stay that way for years are the exceptions and not the rules in that sphere of gaming. Just take a deep breath, remind yourself that video games are just escapes from reality, and chill. The world isn't coming to an end because you didn't get the round-winning EPIC 1080 No-Scope to win the match for your team that's probably full of randoms if you aren't in a party or whatever Sony's equivalent is on PS4.
 

Digs

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Fixed.

But yeah, if they're trying to throw buzzwords in order to save their sorry ass, I won't feel sorry ignoring them again. And going to Sony isn't better, considering they're not only doing the same, but also actively censoring games to ensure they can prove how "safe" and "secure" their games are.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Censorship is far easier to get away with than actively being the pooper at everyone's not so "safe" party.
 
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I remember playing halo 2 on xbox live being a young child,back when political correctness wasn't rampant and you could let off a little steam on a first person shooter.Good times.
 
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NoNAND

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Good to see them finally take action for a change.
toxic, rude and bashful kids like that are the reason I shy away from any kind of online gaming activity. Avoiding them and rather playing alone is less stressful smh.
I just can't stand those pro gamer wannabe kiddos.
 
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Viri

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I can't wait until games remove the crouch or ducking feature to stop t bagging! Based Microsoft protecting me from mean people!
 

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