Microsoft cracks down on offensive language and toxicity across Xbox services


Microsoft has amended its Microsoft Services Agreement in a bid to crack down on “offensive language” and toxicity on services including Xbox Live. 

In a post detailing changes to the Microsoft Services Agreement, the Seattle-based platform-holder said: “In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited. We’ve also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licences, Xbox Gold Membership time and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.”

The changes to the Microsoft Services Agreement will come into effect on May 1 2018; so far, Microsoft has not stated how it will enforce the clarified policy. However, the move fits in with comments made by Microsoft’s head of games, Phil Spencer, made during his keynote address to the DICE summit in Las Vegas last month. In that speech, he said: “Toxic behaviour doesn’t just hurt the individual, it hurts our entire industry. We have to ask ourselves, ‘Am I building worlds where all of us can thrive and achieve more?’ The time to get our culture right is right now.” 

The Microsoft Services Agreement goes beyond the Xbox side of the company’s business, encompassing services like Skype, Bing, Cortana and third-party apps. The list of amendments also addressed cheating among Xbox owners: “In the Xbox section, we’ve added new sections for Xbox’s Arena and Mixer Services, in available markets, and a new section to address cheating and tampering software.”

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Steve Boxer
Steve Boxer has been writing about videogames since the early 1990s. His first console was an Atari VCS, and he misspent most of his youth in the 1980s in the arcades. As well as for Green Man Gaming, he can be found writing for The Guardian, Empire, TechRadar and Pocket-Lint. He’s currently having trouble deciding whether his favourite console is his Xbox One X or his Switch, and plays a wide range of games, but especially RPGs (he loves a good JRPG) action-adventure titles, shooters of all descriptions and driving games. Follow him here.