Reports have surfaced over the past 24 hours that Xbox users are losing their Xbox Live account privileges after uploading profanity-laced videos. Xbox One customers complained that they were losing the ability to use Skype and other applications on their consoles.
Microsoft today released a statement regarding the account bans, quashing the side rumor that swearing in private Skype calls could result in account suspensions. However, the company did confirm that if you upload content using the Upload Studio feature of the Xbox One that contains “excessive profanity,” your account could lose some or all of its privileges.
The company did not clarify how it tracks the level of profanity in uploaded content, whether via automated check, or a less pervasive process. Here’s Microsoft’s full statement:
To be clear, the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor direct peer-to-peer communications like Skype chats and calls. Also, we take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously. We want a clean, safe and fun environment for all users. Excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live. We remain committed to preserving and promoting a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all of our Xbox Live members.
I’m always opposed to incursions on free expression, though Microsoft certainly has the right to control its own communications network; this is not a free-speech issue. That said, it’s an odd choice by the company. Gamers are notoriously dickish to one another over in-game chat on any platform.
Saying that swearing is not to be tolerated (at least partially) in this one area of gaming on top of a platform that is an obscenity cannon just feels squishy. Also, it’s inconsistent. And as I don’t think that language deemed by some as “foul” should be banned while playing games, I don’t think that it should be banned in uploaded videos of games being played.
Whomever decided that gamers need to be coddled in Redmond essentially stepped in an unneeded PR puddle of mud. Microsoft wants nothing but a smooth launch for its console. Banning potty-mouthed users isn’t a way to make friends in the gaming world.
Top Image Credit: Flickr