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Xbox Boss Wants Cross-Platform Bans for “Destructive” Conversations

Cross-Platform Bans

A new report reveals Xbox boss Phil Spencer wants cross-platform bans to be a standard, in the hopes of shutting down all “destructive” conversations.

The new interview with Phil Spencer (via NYT) confirms the Xbox boss wants cross-platform bans to be standard practice – meaning if you got banned off Xbox you should banned off Steam, the PlayStation Network, and other digital platforms.

“Something I would love us to be able to do–this is a hard one as an industry–is when somebody gets banned in one of our networks, is there a way for us to ban them across other networks?” Spencer said.

Spencer’s comments follow waves of sexual harassment allegations at big competitors like Activision, as well as sexual discrimination lawsuits at other companies like Riot Games. The Xbox chief also suggested creating a system that lets users maintain a “banned user list” that they can migrate between platforms.

“I’d love to be able to bring them to other networks where I play. So this is the group of people that I choose not to play with,” he said. “Because I don’t want to have to recreate that in every platform that I play video games on.”

Further in the interview, Spencer also talked up Microsoft’s new AI that they use to “monitor the sentiment of a conversation” to help detect “when a conversation is getting to a destructive point.” Coming from this, users have the option to “report a user” in the Xbox UI to flag the other user as behaving inappropriately.

Multi-platform bans haven’t been adopted that much in the gaming industry yet – however some big multi-platform games like the Call of Duty franchise do ban users across all supported platforms of the game – even the ones you haven’t played on yet.

As the original interview suggests, a system to support cross-platform bans would have to get all major platform holders; Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and even PC platforms like Steam and GOG – to all work together and collaborate on their attempts at stomping out perceived bad behavior. We’ve seen in practice this generally won’t happen as each platform is its own walled garden, even though some have toyed with full cross-platform multiplayer for third party games at least.

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