Microsoft has made the decision to draw a line in the sand as it relates to trash talking on its platforms, handing out temporary bans for players who use profanity or sexual threats among others.
While the game rating system has helped to weed out such behavior in the past, Microsoft has made it clear that it is aware that users aren't following those guidelines. This isn't the first time that the company has taken a stand against these types of behaviors, but it is the first time that it has given specific guidelines on player conduct.
Though this new system isn't going to stop bad behavior immediately, it’s a start. It will get users into the habit of conducting themselves better and in turn, it is likely to positively effect the overall experience that these same people have inside the game they are playing. It means that parents will have some peace of mind knowing that the company is taking these sorts of behaviors seriously and that they now have some form of recourse to deal with it.
To be clear, according to Game Spot, Microsoft isn't saying that trash talking will no longer be allowed on its platform, rather it is specifying which types are acceptable. The company made the decision to do this in large part because it wanted to make Xbox Live a place for everyone of all ages. To do that, players will no longer be allowed to use racial slurs, profanity latent statements or sexually charged comments. True to its word about allowing trash talk, the company gives examples of each phrase and shows users how they can rephrase it to say the same thing.
While many may feel that Microsoft should instead enforce age limits on its games, the fact is that doing something like this is much easier. People lie about their age all the time and no matter what system you have in place, there is always a way for someone to get around it. These changes might have growing pains at first, but overtime the community at large will welcome them. After all, its behavior that has become expected and as a result it has caused players who would otherwise be even-keeled to say or do things that they otherwise wouldn't due to not having a system in place to properly remove such behavior.
This is certainly good news for the online community as a whole, but there is always a concern about rules being taken to far. Anytime you have rules in place, there is always someone who will use them to their advantage. People will not only find ways around the rules, but there will be individuals who use the rules to negatively impact users on the platform. It's for this reason that Microsoft needs to remain diligent and open a dialog with gamers to make sure the things it enforces are fully supported by the community.