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Here’s how Xbox wants to fight toxicity and harassment in video games

SHARE Here’s how Xbox wants to fight toxicity and harassment in video games
Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox at Microsoft, delivers a keynote address at the Xbox 2018 E3 press briefing.

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox at Microsoft, delivers a keynote address at the Xbox 2018 E3 press briefing.

Screenshot, YouTube

SALT LAKE CITY — Phil Spencer, the chief of Microsoft’s Xbox division, is sick of toxicity in online gaming. Here’s how he wants to fix it.

The Vergereports Spencer announced Microsoft’s new initiative on a blog post titled “Video Games: A Unifying Force for the World.” The initiative will push to solve online bullying and abuse in video games by sharing technology and taking an aggressive stance towards bad actors.

“No one group ‘owns’ gaming. Instead, whether you’re new to gaming or are a diehard e-sports fan, you are welcome to play and welcome to all the fun and skill-building that comes with gaming. In this way, when everyone can play, the entire world wins,” Spencer writes.

Spencer says the initiative is built on two “fundamental truths”: Gaming is for people of all ages, genders, nationalities, orientations and skin color. Spencer also believes companies behind video games are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for people to play in.

Here are some other highlights:

  • Spencer says Microsoft’s initiative isn’t just for the company — they invite the entire video game industry to participate.
  • He also says it’s important for gaming to be safe since girls who play video games are three times more likely to pursue STEM degrees, while 74 percent of teens who play online with others have made friends with other players.
  • Microsoft recently updated its Community Standards as part of the initiative, indicating what acceptable behavior on Xbox Live entails.
  • Microsoft will also expand its safety team — nicknamed “Defenders of Joy” — to include more diversity and skillsets.
  • Xbox Live will roll out new moderation tools for community managers and will make it easier for parents to set up restricted children accounts.
  • The company will also host family workshops at Microsoft Stores to teach inclusivity, accessibility and safety. They’ll also share their knowledge and technology with other companies to help prevent online abuse and criminal activity.

Spencer also says that while cloud gaming services like xCloud and Google Stadia will introduce new possibilities for gaming, it’ll also increase risk — which is why he believes companies should push for safer spaces in gaming now.