Xbox gamers suspended in cursing crackdown

(CNN) — What the #@!%? Some gamers uploading R-rated videos of themselves playing on the new Xbox One are learning the hard way that Microsoft is trying to crack down on cursing.

Over the past few days, gamers using the Upload Studio on Xbox Live to share videos online have reported being banned from the network, at least temporarily, after using salty language.

What do they think this is? “Grand Theft Auto”?

On Monday, Microsoft confirmed it’s trying to clean up language in its online community.

“(W)e take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously. We want a clean, safe and fun environment for all users,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

The statement did, however, quell a rumor that Microsoft was also monitoring direct communications such as Skype chats among players using the network.

Because Skype often was one of the apps suspended, some players said they thought their behavior on the voice-calling service was being monitored. Several suspended gamers reported having full services restored after 24 hours.

Not surprisingly, the announcement isn’t going over well with some in the gaming community.

“Saying that swearing is not to be tolerated (at least partially) in this one area of gaming on top of a platform that is an obscenity cannon just feels squishy,” Alex Wilhelm wrote for TechCrunch. “Also, it’s inconsistent. And as I don’t think that language deemed by some as ‘foul’ should be banned while playing games, I don’t think that it should be banned in uploaded videos of games being played.”

Many online were echoing Wilhelm’s initial point: How can a company crack down on profanity while at the same time promoting video games filled with the stuff?

“Xbox Live is suspending accounts for (foul) language. They don’t want kids hearing four letter words as they go on a virtual killing spree,” said Mike Frankovich on Twitter.

“If Xbox is gonna ban 12 yr olds for abusive language they just eliminated their entire fan base,” added Twitter user Malakye Morgan.

In “Dead Rising 3,” an exclusive title for the Xbox One, ” the words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” can be heard in the dialogue,” according to the game’s “M for Mature” rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Players are also able to visit a “XXX supply shop” and buy an adult toy that can be turned into the Super Massager — a weapon that can be used on zombies.

Microsoft said players who run afoul of its rules are being temporarily suspended from using certain apps, not banned from Xbox Live indefinitely.

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2 thoughts on “Xbox gamers suspended in cursing crackdown

  1. It is somewhat surprising to me that Microsoft officially announced that it is cracking down on foul language transmitted over Xbox Live. Cussing on Xbox Live has obviously become a major problem for Microsoft. The article even appears to suggest that Microsoft might be monitoring personal conversations over Xbox Live. I see two problems with Microsoft banning people for using foul language over Xbox Live. One problem that arises revolves around freedom of speech especially in the cases where foul language is being transmitted over mature rated games where players should be at least 18 years or older. I am sure there are people that are furious over getting banned for cussing. I know a lot of people probably believe that Microsoft is preventing them from exercising their right to freedom of speech. A second problem that arises revolves around privacy. I know that there are definitely people who don’t feel secure thinking that Microsoft is monitoring their conversations with others. People are always quick to raise hell over privacy concerns and I am sure people are pretty unhappy with the idea of Microsoft monitoring their conversations.

    In my opinion, I think Microsoft should let people say whatever they want over Xbox Live. There are features that allow an Xbox Live user to either mute or block a person who uses foul language. There is also a feature on Xbox Live that allows one user to report another user. If enough people report a user, the user gets banned. I think things should stay the way they used to be. I personally don’t think Microsoft should monitor conversations for cussing.

  2. While I agree that excessive swearing is not a positive thing, I don’t necessarily agree that Microsoft should be going about it in the way they are. I personally believe that if people have bought Microsoft’s system, than they should be allowed to say whatever they want whenever they want. The great thing about Xbox Live is that if you feel that someone is swearing too much or is offending you too much than you can simply choose to mute that individual and go on with your day. Of course, if the swearing is targeted towards other people in a form of bullying, that could indeed be a problem but once again you can choose to mute whoever you want. I feel that it is an infringement on freedom of speech and privacy if Microsoft is monitoring voice or chat logs and banning people if they swear over Xbox Live. I feel that there are enough features in place such as muting that make this issue not really a major factor and I don’t think that any other precautions are necessary.

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