Xbox boss Phil Spencer has always been a major supporter of cross-platform systems. For now, these systems mainly exist for multiplayer and online gaming, but the head of Xbox wants more, including cross-platform bans and shared users blocklists.
In a recent interview, Phil Spencer commented on how the metaverse compares with online gaming communities and the current state of the video game industry. One topic he touched on during the discussion was harassment and how the industry can deal with it in the future.
Spencer believes a cross-platform ban system is a viable solution to prevent toxicity. When someone is harassing someone on Xbox and gets reported, the support team can ban him from the Microsoft network, but what if that same person could also be banned from other platforms? That’s what the head of Microsoft’s gaming brand wants to achieve, preventing users from being followed by attackers when gaming on different networks.
As an alternative, Spencer also stated that platforms could support shared blocked users lists between themselves, preventing users from playing with unwanted players regardless of where they play.
“I’d love to be able to bring [blocked users lists] to other networks where I play. So this is the group of people that I choose not to play with,” said Spencer. “Because I don’t want to have to recreate that in every platform that I play video games on.”
The Xbox boss also commented about the connection between gaming and political polarization in the USA. Spencer mentioned how online gaming communities became a place for people to talk, communicate, share, and socialize. It was expected to see people sharing their political views, but the Xbox social network wasn’t designed for that purpose.
“One of the things we’ve stated about our social network is we’re not a free speech platform. We’re a platform around interactive entertainment and video games,” said Spencer. “We’re not there to allow all kinds of social discourse to happen on our platform. That’s not why we exist.”
Of course, users can use Xbox Live tools to create a political party if they want, but these tools were never meant for that. They were designed to provide interactive entertainment and gaming-oriented features to the Xbox community.
Spencer clearly wants to distance the Xbox brand from any political point of view. A fact even more evident when considering what he said about the Activision Blizzard sexual harassment scandal, stating Xbox was “evaluating all aspects” of its relationship with the video game publisher.