Offensive Language in Multiplayer Games
Many gamers out there have run into it from time to time. Your playing your favorite multiplayer game and having fun. Then, there is that one guy taunting or complaining. That guy who decides to call you and/or other players names and insults. You suddenly hear crude language being spewed through your headset and/or TV. We’ve come to accept that online gaming will occasionally have a handful of toxic players and trolls. Those who will say foul things when they can’t beat you. Typically, so long as they avoid terms related to hate speech, they likely will not get into trouble. However, times may be changing when gaming online. Well, on Xbox at least with their stance against “Offensive Language.”
Microsoft Drops the Hammer on Offensive Language and Fraudulent Activity
Microsoft has updated their Services Agreement when using their services. The recent update focuses on Strong Language and Fraudulent Activity now being “Prohibited” on Xbox Live. Strong Language and talking about how to commit a crime can get you into trouble. You can be suspended, banned, or even your downloaded game/content being revoked. The Microsoft Code of Conduct has said not to use strong language for many years now. However, Microsoft appears to be making it clear not to use strong language while using their service. Those who violate their Services Agreement can be:
- Have Content Revoked
- Gold Membership time shortened/removed
- Forfeiture of Microsoft Account Balance of the Account
- or all the above.
This is a strong move to punish gamers who use strong language, especially toxic gamers and trolls. Some concerned gamers have concerns on exactly how Microsoft will enforce this rule. They also worry about how they will determine the type of punishment to be served.
Gamers Are Concerned by Vagueness of “Offensive Language”
I feel that “Offensive Language” is fairly simple to understand. Some gamers out there are concerned about how vague the description of “Offensive Language” actually is. What constitutes Offensive Language? Offensive Language can be defined as “A term that is applied to hurtful, derogatory or obscene comments made by one person to another person.” However, what one person considers hurtful may not be considered hurtful to another. Someone may say “Hah, I think [insert religion] is stupid and their followers are idiots.” Is that enough to get you suspended or even banned? In this hypothetical example, it’s an opinion not directed towards a specific person. When directed at a specific person, does that constitute Offensive Language?
Another factor is the person making the decision “Is this Offensive Language?” and “What punishment does this deserve?” This is the main concern gamers have with the term “Offensive Language.” What if someone feels any negative comment is “Offensive?” What if they report others out of spite? Of course, Microsoft has stated before that abusing the report system can get you into trouble. This however doesn’t stop worries of abuse of false reports. You know, like a moderator on a message board waging a “Crusade” against those who think differently than themselves.
Microsoft Wants a Friendlier Gaming Experience Online
Lets face the facts, Microsoft wants people playing games online and having fun. However, having someone calling others hurtful names and using strong language can make a gaming experience bad. Most parents do not want their child around excessive foul language. Gamers on Xbox vary in age, so Microsoft obviously wants the environment on their services to be as Family Friendly as possible. I don’t mind the occasional mature word from time to time. Crude Insults are something I wouldn’t approve. For many like myself, I have nothing to worry about. I have a habit of avoiding the use of Strong Language, something instilled sense childhood from my parents.
It’s obvious who Microsoft intended this for. The trolls.