In context: If you've played an online multiplayer game in your lifetime -- particularly a competitive multiplayer game -- you've probably heard plenty of insults. Whether they're racial slurs, "homophobic" comments, or generic "your momma"-style insults, playful and not-so-playful jabs are the bread and butter of the competitive gaming industry.
For better or worse, though, this "culture" of "toxicity," despite being relatively common in the past, has come under much more intense scrutiny in recent years. Now, that scrutiny is coming from none other than the Xbox chief himself: Phil Spencer.
In a new blog post published today (dubbed "Video games: A unifying force for the world"), Spencer discusses two "fundamental truths" about gaming. First, he says, no one group "owns" the industry or the hobby; it's home to a wide variety of people with a wide variety of tastes. "...whether you’re new to gaming or are a diehard e-sports fan, you are welcome to play and welcome to all the fun and skill-building that comes with gaming," he states. "In this way, when everyone can play, the entire world wins."
"...whether you’re new to gaming or are a diehard e-sports fan, you are welcome to play and welcome to all the fun and skill-building that comes with gaming,"
Spencer's second fundamental truth is that gaming "must promote and protect the safety of all," regardless of their political beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity." He claims that as gaming has grown in popularity, it's started to become a "toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry, and misogyny."
Moving forward, Spencer says Microsoft as a whole commits to being "vigilant, proactive, and swift" to ensure gamers of all stripes can have fun without being targeted with "hate and harassment."
Furthermore, the company will work "across the industry" to create comprehensive, modernized safety measures to expand upon existing Community Standards throughout the gaming sphere -- whatever that might mean.