It’s a story as old as time in the gaming community, at least so far. Disgruntled male gamer mocks and harasses female gamer, abuse is hurled over a microphone and so on and so on. A lot of this is familiar to many. The roots of this old story in question however are unclear. Did it stem from “get good” culture or even possibly from misinterpreted hyper masculine titles we’ve seen dominate the charts over the year? Who’s to say? We’ve seen this image of gamers mocked in Television and Film time and time again, and it’s probably with reason. This stereotype has to come from somewhere after all, right? Well Phil Spencer, executive vice president of Xbox, might have a way to challenge this.
Phil Spencer wants one thing to be clear and worked upon: there is toxicity in gaming. He goes on further in a press release released today, stating that gaming is a “”growing toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry and misogyny.”
Additionally, Phil believes in his own “two fundamental truths about gaming,” and he goes on to explain this. “Gaming is for everyone,” is one of his big points. Phil also tells how “no one group owns games” and whether you’re new to gaming or a seasoned player, you’re welcome to play and welcome to the fun.
“If you imagine gamers as predominantly men and specifically teen boys, think again. We are a 2.6 billion-person strong community of parents playing with our kids, adventurers exploring worlds together, teachers making math wondrous, grandmothers learning about their grandchildren through play, and soldiers connecting with their folks back home. Most gamers today are adults; nearly half are women.”
“Gaming must promote and protect the safety of all,” is his next fundamental. Gaming has become the worlds leading cultural industry but it hasn’t come without a cost. Especially in the ever present digital life, according to this research Phil quotes.
So, just how does Phil Spencer and Xbox plan on fighting this?
Xbox swears to be “vigilant, proactive, and swift.” when it comes to defending gamers using their technology or space. They plan on achieving this through their updated Xbox Community Standards , which will serve as guidelines for what is and isn’t tolerated when using services Xbox provides. This will come as a great celebration to marginalised gamers that may be prone to harassment, and an eye opener to those that commit such acts. The Community Standards as such states consequences for breaching these lines, and insists on their gaming space remaining safe. The release also states how Xbox’s 150,000 Ambassadors will be tasked with new community missions to help foster and enforce this safe environment
More ways that Xbox looks to incorporate inclusiveness and safety is through updated versions of Child or Teen accounts. With this, parents will be able to further manage what games this audience are consuming as well as the audience of other players their child is engaging with. Additionally, Microsoft stores have begun introducing family workshops to help parents understand available relevant tools on Xbox or PC.
“We commit to working across the gaming industry on safety measures.“
This isn’t all though, Microsoft is to seemingly launch Gaming Summer Camps, which promise education in healthy habits and life skills both in and out of the gaming world. Microsoft also vows to share safety innovations with all competitors as they are intent on remaining gamers’ safety a priority, not just across their company but the industry itself.
With this, Microsoft is taking a step in a very positive direction for the gaming space. Big players like Google Stadia and Apple Arcade are soon to also come into the space. This could also mean that with the amount of options of services available for players, safety risk is at an all time high. With the gaming space growing and growing it only makes sense that other giants in the industry follow. Whether or not they will however, time will tell.