Microsoft has announced an addition to Xbox Live that’s designed to cut out toxicity for those who are sick of it. An automated filtering system will be rollout out across messages, LFG, Clubs, and Activity Feed, with adjustable levels.
The feature will let gamers decide more or less the content they’re comfortable with. While some may draw the line at comments about their mother, others may think they’re fair game.
The four levels currently are Friendly, Medium, Mature, and Unfiltered. These will be adjustable for specific aspects of Xbox Live, for example, received messages, requests, and media.
When players receive a message that violates their filters, they’ll be informed and the message will be removed. This will let them ask a user to rephrase something if it contains a swear word, for example. You can also turn it on or off from friends.
Of course, if a message violates the Xbox Community Standards, users are encouraged to report it even if they’re on “unfiltered”. Microsoft’s tech also doesn’t currently apply to voice chat, so you’ll be without protection there.
“We recognize that while some adults use profanity without any ill intent while gaming, parents with small children likely won’t find this same experience acceptable,” said Dave McCarthy, CVP, Xbox Operations. “Similarly, there are differences between the everyday speech you’d use with your friends and harmful insults that could negatively impact anyone. With this in mind, we’ve ensured our safety settings are configurable along a spectrum from most filtered to least filtered so you can choose what is best for you.”
The Mature filter is likely a setting many adult gamers can get behind. It will allow vulgarity, but block content it believes is “harsh bullying, explicitly sexual, or severely targeting race, gender, and nationality”.
Medium is a middle ground between mature and friendly, allowing swear words where they’re not directed at someone and don’t reference sexual acts. The same filters can be applied to images, where it’s mostly targetted at offensive and sexual content.
If you see a message is blocked but want to view it anyway, you’re still able to do so, provided you aren’t on a Child and Teens account. This generally seems like a big leap forward in customization, but much will depend on the accuracy of Microsoft’s detection systems.