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I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Xbox Live (or rather, Xbox network, I guess?) can be an absolute mess of toxicity. Unfortunately, where there’s voice chat, there’s always potential for people to generally be unpleasant, because apparently that’s a nice way to spend your time if you have no sense of empathy.
Well, obviously it’s not exactly news to the Xbox team either. But earlier this week, the console’s co-creator, Seamus Blackley, took to Twitter to voice his contempt for the state of the service.
This comes after one Twitter user and streamer, Grenade Queen, posted a clip in which she’s verbally harassed by other players in Halo Infinite. The players make a number of misogynistic and derogatory comments, including asking her to leave to go play “whatever you girls do”, “show your t*ts* on Twitch”, and to “get the f**k off my Halo, because you’re not meant to be here”. She wrote in the Tweet: “No woman should have to deal with this if they’re having one rough game against decent people. This was only part of it.”
No woman should have to deal with this if they’re having 1 rough game against decent people.. this was only part of it (sound on) pic.twitter.com/A56x1Vs5eS— Grenade Queen (@GrenadeQueen1) December 19, 2021
Quote-tweeting her original post, Blackley said: “This wasn’t the future for @Xbox Live we envisioned. As a community and with the help of @Microsoft this needs to be highlighted and stopped. It will take teamwork between players, devs, and console manufacturers to change this and it’s time. It’s past time.”
This wasn’t the future for @xbox live we envisioned. As a community and with the help of @Microsoft this needs to be highlighted and stopped. It will take teamwork between players, devs, and console manufacturers to change this and it’s time. It’s past time. https://t.co/hVPHDvESVP— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) December 20, 2021
Many Twitter users responded positively to Blackley’s sentiment, but others pointed out that this is all coming way too late: “You've let this go for too long. You don't ban people for this, you rarely suspend them, and it just keeps happening over and over and over again,” wrote @fiaanaut. “There’s a HUGE female fanbase out there with disposable income that's willing to drop cash fo your product. Make them feel welcome.”
Adding to his Twitter thread, Blackley - who no longer works at Xbox, having left Microsoft in 2002 (so probably don't tell him to change stuff) - continued: “I know this isn’t new. I know you’re angry because nothing has been done for a long time. You’re right. It only motivates me more. It’s possible to clean these environments up. Let’s do it.”
Of course, having the intention of doing something and actually doing it are two very different things, and this isn't even Blackley's fight to have anymore, with responsibility lying at the feet of current Xbox management. Also, if the problem were so easy to solve, you’d like to think that it would have been solved some time in the last 20 years. That said, Sony has been recently working on tech to help reduce trolling in online games, so hopefully some similar steps forward could be taken from Microsoft. Better late than never, right?
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