Customers complained that they were losing the ability to use Skype and other applications reliant on Xbox Live on their new consoles, with one user known as rbevanx complaining “I get the message 'Choose something else to play' simply because I assume MS was not happy about a video I uploaded.”
Microsoft confirmed the situation in a statement to technology blog TechCrunch, saying that while peer-to-peer communications such as Skype are unmonitored, videos uploaded through the Xbox One’s “Upload Studio” game recording sharing feature were being monitored and that “excessive swearing” would be treated as a breach of terms of service.
To be clear, the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor direct peer-to-peer communications like Skype chats and calls. Also, we take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously. We want a clean, safe and fun environment for all users. Excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live. We remain committed to preserving and promoting a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all of our Xbox Live members.
Microsoft failed to clarify whether the monitoring of uploaded video was conducted via automated means or not, or whether the account suspensions used as a deterrent would escalate with repeated offences.
Online gaming is notorious for its foul language with users experiencing abuse at the hands of other gamers across in-game chat services, which has lead to a reporting mechanism where victims can flag abusers eventually leading to warnings and possible bans.
However, banning users for swearing in certain games that themselves employ profanity as part of the game’s mechanic could highlight double standards, as users of Microsoft’s official Xbox internet forum point out:
“I think it's strange that MS allows you to record any game footage when there are games with really bad foul language and I say something like plonker or crap and I get my benefits removed especially I had 100% feedback when I was on 360 for about five to seven years on Xbox Live,” said rbevanx.
• In November, Microsoft’s Xbox One console was causing “juddering” issues, which made UK TV content “unwatchable”
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