Video games have oft been blamed for normalizing – even rewarding – violence and desensitizing players to toxic behavior. But as an increasingly liberated consumer base demands acceptance and inclusivity from brands, peers and leaders alike, tolerance for negative and exclusionary attitudes in gaming is reaching a breaking point. In response, torchbearers in the gaming industry are baking anti-bullying messaging and objectives into their community guidelines and storylines for a more welcoming future.
Microsoft is working to build a more positive gaming community with their new anti-bullying filters. Announced on October 14, 2019, a new Xbox Live feature will allow players to set filters on in-game messaging. The update will give each individual the power to decide “what’s acceptable and what isn’t in the text-based messages you receive across Xbox Live,” explained Microsoft. The controls can be customized on four tiers of filtration: Friendly, Medium, Mature and Unfiltered.
“You see stories of…female gamers in competitive environments being called all sorts of names and feeling harassed in the outside world, or members of our LGBTQ community feeling like they can’t speak with their voice on Xbox Live for fear that they’ll be called out,” explained Dave McCarthy, head of Microsoft’s Xbox operations. “If we really are to realize our potential as an industry and have this wonderful medium come to everybody, there’s just no place for that.”