It was just a matter of time. Microsoft confirmed this week that it’s following the industry’s lead, transforming its gun emoji into the water squirting variety. The company unveiled its design for a new, benign firearm that looks like cross between a martian ray gun and Super Soaker.
In a tweet revealing the new emoji, the company said it had evolved the design “to reflect our values and the feedback we’ve received.” The changes come as a response to growing concerns around gun violence in the U.S. The software giant is the last of the major tech firms to fall in line with a movement that includes Apple, WhatsApp, Samsung, Twitter and, most recently, Google and Facebook.
Notably, Microsoft actually had a far less realistic take on the gun emoji until a few years back, but it swapped its sci-fi ray gun out for a revolver, citing concerns over cross-platform consistency. “Our intent with every glyph is to align with the global Unicode standard, and the previous design did not map to industry designs or our customers’ expectations of the emoji definition,” the company said at the time.
Of course, consistency is key here, with regards to intent. Sending someone a playful squirt gun only to have it viewed as a real firearm (or vice versa) is a recipe some serious emoji misunderstanding. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that initial change arrived just as Apple was switching to a squirt gun, a move that helped set this whole recent trend. So much for sticking to its guns.
Microsoft has not indicated when the emoji will change over in Windows 10.