Sorry gamers, Xbox says you need to behave. Starting today, Xbox will be cracking down on its Community Standards by rolling out an eight-strike policy that should help curb abusive behavior while educating players about their own rap sheet.
A blog post from Xbox Player Services Corporate Vice President Dave McCarthy describes the details of the new system. Players that don’t abide by the platform’s Community Standards will receive a strike. A strike will remain on a user’s account for six months and will block access to certain Xbox social features like messaging, multiplayer, and party chat for a length of time dependent on the severity of the infraction. Today, every Xbox user will begin with zero strikes in this new system, and once a user reaches eight, they will be suspended from social features for a year.
“This revised system gives players a better understanding of enforcement severity and the cumulative effect of multiple enforcements,” McCarthy wrote in the post. “Enforcement transparency is about giving players clarity into how their behavior impacts their experience.”
The new system also lets users easily take a peek at their own disciplinary record. The enforcement history interface will show a player how many strikes they have as well as why they received those strikes. The menu will also have a handy link to the platform’s Community Standards so users can brush up to prevent repeat offenses. Different offenses carry different numbers of strikes—McCarthy likened this to driver’s license point programs. A graphic in the blog illustrates some examples: profanity is one strike, sexually inappropriate behavior is two strikes, and hate speech is three strikes. Players will also be able to appeal strikes.
The new system comes as Xbox continues to try to shake the stink of toxic gaming culture off its brand. The company’s executive vice president Phil Spencer previously said that Xbox is not a free-speech platform, but is one that is designed for games and entertainment. Spencer’s attitude and Xbox’s efforts at curbing bad player behavior are not without warrant—the Anti-Defamation League says that in 2021, 83% of the 80 million adult gamers surveyed claimed to have experienced harassment in online multiplayer games.