Microsoft’s new Xbox commitments target toxic parts of gaming

Joanna Estrada
May 22, 2019

The gaming community is home to a huge variety of people from every walk of life, including everyone from "grandmothers learning about their grandchildren through play" to soldiers, parents, kids, and teachers. He also describes the shift gaming has made; games aren't just the domain of teenage boys but have grown far beyond that: most gamers are adults, and almost half are women. This widespread embrace of gaming and its global communities have turned video games into the world's leading cultural industry, bigger than movies or music. Unlike "rock and roll, books, and TV", however, which over the years have also been portrayed as as frivolous, violent, and/or hate-filled, the social and interactive nature of gaming make it "uniquely designed for equality".

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.

Spencer said that Microsoft will share its safety innovations with the entire gaming industry, similar to what it's done with PhotoDNA, software that helps detect and delete child pornography, which it shares freely with other technology companies, developers, non-profits, and law enforcement.

Spencer goes on to detail various additional positive aspects of the gaming community, citing evidence of video games helping autistic children socialize and articles suggesting health benefits such as stress-reduction and alleviation of depression.

The goal of his essay is to call on the gaming industry to work together to make gaming a safe space, one where gaming's positive features can be celebrated, without being mired in the same toxicity as contaminates the rest of the online world.

We commit to be vigilant, proactive, and swift.

In an op-ed on the Microsoft blogs, Spencer declared that "gaming is for everyone" while denouncing the stereotype that gamers are predominantly men or teenage boys.

We commit to empowering you to safeguard your gaming experience the way you want. Whether they're racial slurs, "homophobic" comments, or generic "your momma"-style insults, playful and not-so-playful jabs are the bread and butter of the competitive gaming industry". 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", Spencer wrote.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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