Xbox LIVE Code of Conduct Updated

By zigs00, 8 years ago
You may remember the story last year of a woman named Teresa who was banned from Xbox Live for identifying herself as a lesbian within her gamercard. There was quite a furore surrounding the issue, with complaints from the likes of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation against Microsoft's supposedly-homophobic policies. Just to be clear though, the policies were not homophobic but rather aimed at preventing all sexual nature and innuendos from user's gamertags, mottos and biographies.

In the year that has passed since then, Microsoft have been working to improve their Code of Conduct to be more inclusive to everyone - in terms of gender, nationality, race, religion and sexual preference - but while still being suitable for all 23 million Xbox Live users.

Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten (perhaps better known as Notwen) today announced the following update:
The Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and Code of Conduct are designed to create a place where people can safely enjoy all of the ways to interact on our service, be it online multiplayer gaming, photo sharing, Netflix parties, or social games such as 1 vs 100, without fear of discrimination or harassment. As the service evolves and our customers provide us with feedback, these rules evolve to incorporate new features or changes in how people wish to interact.

With that in mind, I'd like to announce an update to the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and Code of Conduct which will allow our members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles. Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms.

I truly believe that our diversity is what makes us strong: diversity in gaming and entertainment options, and diversity in the people that make up this amazing community. I look forward to seeing you on LIVE soon.
Obviously this doesn't mean that everyone can now litter their profiles with homophobic slurs and racial epithets, and the Code of Conduct does explicitly say that while terms like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight will be acceptable in your profile or gamertag that "you may not use these terms or any other terms regarding relationship orientation to insult, harass, or any other pejorative use against other users."

Bear in mind that just by signing up to use the Xbox Live service that you all agreed to the Terms of Use, so it's definitely worth checking the external link below for the full Code of Conduct if you haven't read it before.