Xbox chief outlines plans to curb toxic behavior

"Gaming is for everyone," Phil Spencer wrote.

Xbox head Phil Spencer has laid out some measures to combat some of the more negative aspects that pervade gaming communities such as toxicity and abuse. He wrote in a blog post that "gaming is for everyone" and people everywhere, from all backgrounds and walks of life, "are welcome to play and welcome to all the fun and skill-building that comes with gaming."

As such, Spencer wrote, "gaming must promote and protect the safety of all. [...] It's essential that we embrace our role and take responsibility for creating safe gaming." Building and protecting a healthy community is shared, essential work, he said, and he outlined a number of commitments to help towards that goal.

Microsoft and the Xbox team will be "vigilant, proactive and swift" with regards to potential abuse and misuse on the Xbox platform and will act to fix problems swiftly. They have updated the Xbox Community Standards to lay out how everyone should play a role in keeping gaming a safe environment, and detail the repercussions for those who don't abide by the standards. The revamped standards spell out the differences between trash talk and harassment, for instance. "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.

From this summer, Club community managers will have expanded moderation tools to ensure there are safe places for players to talk about games. Additional content moderation features will roll out for all Xbox Live users by the end of the year, while Spencer highlighted that child and teen accounts can help parents and guardians protect their youngsters.

A "For Everyone" section was recently added to the Xbox website that details safety, inclusivity and accessibility features across the platform. Microsoft also plans to share safety, security and privacy insights and best practices with other players in the industry. Moderation, user research, data science and other teams are already collaborating with external partners. "We're innovating now in these and other concrete ways to reduce, filter and develop a shared understanding of toxic experiences, and to ultimately put our community of gamers, and their parents or guardians, in control of their own experiences," Spencer wrote.