Xboss Phil Spencer talks toxicity in gaming and how Xbox plans to fight back against it

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I’m a big believer that video games are for everyone. Regardless of your skin colour, your age or how you define yourself, the only thing that truly matters is just how green your money is. I mean c’mon, that’s the honest truth here. So long as you have the cash to flash, the industry doesn’t care who you are, which is a fact that is sadly lost on a small subset of gamers who have developed a god complex around certain games and believe themselves to be the gatekeepers of their favourite franchise.

Which in many ways was the real message of Ghostbusters:

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of digital escapism, but having to deal with an angst-riddled child on the other end of your game who demands to know if you can name five Mass Effect albums? Ain’t nobody got time for that crap. Those annoyances sadly evolve into more toxic behaviour over time, with so-called “true” fans looking to keep anyone who doesn’t fit into their narrow status quo mindset, out of their games.

Usually with relentless hostility. Xbox wants to change that perception, by attracting an even more diverse audience towards their brand. “If you imagine gamers as predominantly men and specifically teen boys, think again,” Xboss Phil Spencer wrote in an op-ed on Microsoft.

We are a 2.6 billion-person strong community of parents playing with our kids, adventurers exploring worlds together, teachers making math wondrous, grandmothers learning about their grandchildren through play, and soldiers connecting with their folks back home. Most gamers today are adults; nearly half are women.

Gaming is uniquely designed for equality. We don’t just walk in someone’s shoes – we stand on equal footing, regardless of age, education, socioeconomics, race, religion, politics, gender, orientation, ethnicity, nationality, or ability.

According to Spencer, the key here is to create a community that welcomes everyone in. Something that the Xbox Ambassador program has been pioneering. “A welcoming community is the key to a safe community,” Spencer explained.

Our 150,000 Xbox Ambassadors – community leaders, stewards, and allies – will be engaged to embark on new community missions to help create an inviting and safe environment for all gamers. Our industry must now answer the fierce urgency to play with our fierce urgency for safety,” Spencer says. “We invite everyone who plays games, and industry partners, to join us in following these principles to help unify the world and do our part: make gaming accessible for everyone and protect gamers, one and all.

Too long didn’t read? Just…just don’t be a dick to people online. While we’ll never be able to fully stamp out toxic behaviour, at least Microsoft is making an effort to provide more resources to fight back against said negative behaviour.

Last Updated: May 21, 2019

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