Xbox One players immediately reacted to the change, as the policy also places their account balances at risk of being confiscated. What exactly is happening here?
Will Microsoft Now Ban Xbox One Players For Offensive Language?
According to the summary of changes to the Microsoft Services Agreement, the Code of Conduct section added clarifications on the prohibition of offensive language and fraudulent activity. Microsoft also clarified that Code of Conduct violations may result in bans or suspensions from using Xbox services, including Xbox Gold memberships, content licenses, and even the account balances associated with Microsoft and Xbox accounts.
On the surface, the change should be a good one, as it will help reduce trolls on the Xbox Live platform and fight back against toxicity in video games. However, upon a closer look, it appears that there will be no significant changes at all.
In a tweet, Xbox boss Mike Ybarra said that "[t]here is no policy change for Xbox Live." This is because the Code of Conduct for Xbox Live has always allowed the reporting of players for cases such as using profane language.
"This update clarifies that violating the Code of Conduct on our service may result in enforcement action," said an Xbox spokesperson. This means that Microsoft did not gain the ability to ban Xbox One players from their accounts for using offensive language, but rather, the change reinforces the ability to do so.
Microsoft May Go Through Your Data
Jonathan Corbett, a civil rights activist, noted in his blog the ambiguity of the term "offensive language," as the definition varies between people.
"If I call someone a mean name in Xbox Live, not only will they cancel my account, but also confiscate any funds I've deposited in my account?" Corbett asked.
Corbett then added Microsoft reserved the right to go through the data of users.
"When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue," according to the Microsoft Services Agreement.
According to Corbett, Microsoft purposely kept the terms of the agreement vague so that it can "play unrestrained censor" when it wants to. The company is also apparently reserving the right to go through the personal data of its users.
It is unclear if this is the true goal of Microsoft with the updated Microsoft Services Agreement, but it should be noted that Corbett was banned from the Microsoft subreddit after sharing his blog post.