In light of Microsoft's recent efforts to eliminate online harassment via updated community guidelines, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has laid out a new initiative intended to provide the groundwork for a better gaming experience. In a personal blog entry, Spencer established the principles Microsoft and Team Xbox will implement going forward as a means of fostering a more positive, accessible, and inclusive environment for all gamers.
This comes on the coattails of the aforementioned new community guidelines, which were aimed at specific issues like sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as more general issues like hate. Among the particular guidelines laid out, Microsoft specified that trash talk devoid of slurs, curse words, and politically-charged statements was fine, for example.
In his op-ed on Microsoft's blog, Phil Spencer first states that he believes in two fundamental truths about gaming, including the importance of inclusivity and the necessity for "community safety." He speaks of gaming as a universal cultural phenomenon, writing that playing games "doesn’t just bring stereotype-defying gamers together; it unites us through our universal language of fun and answers our human need to play."
In carrying forth the company's devotion to inclusivity and safety in the universal realm of gaming, Spencer says that he, Microsoft, and Team Xbox "are personally committing to this." Providing the bonafide "principles and actions" that will be dedicated to going forward, the first action is committing "to be vigilant, proactive, and swift." Based on the recently-founded new community guidelines, Spencer indicates an aim at toxic gaming, elaborating that Microsoft and Team Xbox "will identify potentials for abuse and misuse on our platform and will fix problems quickly" and are expanding they are expanding their safety team "so wide-ranging perspectives can help us identify future safety problems and solutions."
"We commit to empowering you to safeguard your gaming experience the way you want," writes Spencer. In creating hubs for discourse on Xbox owners' favorite games, Spencer hopes gamers interact in a positive manner over their gaming experiences. He also references content moderation that parents can do on behalf of their children, as well as the recent "For Everyone" section for their website, which succinctly captures the values laid forth by Spencer and Microsoft, and provides links to expansions on each value.
Finally, Spencer writes, "We commit to working across the gaming industry on safety measures." In doing so, the promise is to assist other companies in their tackling of similar issues of harassment, hatred, and toxicity in gaming, adding that, as the gaming community grows, the "industry must now answer the fierce urgency to play with our fierce urgency for safety."
Conclusively, Spencer states, "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."
These are solid statements from Phil Spencer and Team Xbox. Ideally, the gaming community, as well as other communities for that matter, should not be susceptible to the type of toxicity described by Spencer. Thus far, the principles and actions established by Spencer in his op-ed seem to be based on spreading values, as opposed to providing means of punishment. Perhaps these values will take center stage at Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference, or perhaps the conference will be used as a platform for the values.
In either event, gamers should remain hopeful that Xbox's new initiative brings a sense of value and unity to the gaming community as we've never seen it before.
Source: Official Microsoft Blog