Xbox has introduced the “Enforcement Strike System,” a new ban policy that it hopes will reduce the toxicity of gaming online.
The consistently awful experience that many had playing Call of Duty games on Xbox Live in the 2000s gave the platform a notorious reputation for toxicity. The company has taken steps to reduce the frequency of these incidents but even so, many users have voiced concerns about a lack of consequences for repeated toxic behavior. In response, Xbox has rolled out a strike system for bans with escalating punishments.
Under this system, each toxic action results in a strike, indicative of its severity. Users can review their strike and ban histories, giving a clear idea of what they’ve done and what consequences will arrive should they continue being toxic. This shift in Xbox’s content moderation is intended as a move towards enhanced transparency.
How do the new Xbox bans work?
Bans handed down on Xbox have increasing lengths based on the frequency and severity of toxic behavior over the prior six months.
Xbox compared the new system to the demerit strikes used in many regions’ driver’s licenses. Two strikes result in a day-long platform suspension. Four strikes lead to a week’s break from online play. Users are banned from Xbox’s social platforms for an entire year if they accrue eight strikes on their account.
Some actions accrue more strikes than others. For example, sexually inappropriate comments constitute a single strike, while full-on hate speech can result in up to three strikes.
Suspended users are allowed to continue with single-player games and retain access to their purchased content. That said, grave transgressions such as illegal activities will lead to accounts being frozen entirely, regardless of any purchases they’ve made. This is to ensure fairness and positivity within the Xbox space.
How toxic is gaming on Xbox?
Toxicity on Xbox remains a problem, but toxic individuals are a minority on the platform.
Xbox states that in 2022 fewer than 1% of all players received a ban. Of that percentage, only a third of them received second suspensions.
The company’s data suggests that a lone ban typically makes most players stop being toxic altogether, at least on their platform. Furthermore, if suspended users feel a decision was unjust, Xbox allows for appeals. A successful appeal results in the removal of the corresponding strike.
Overall, this new system is another example of Xbox’s campaign for inclusivity in its platform. Hopefully, these changes help pave the way for a healthier online environment for the Xbox community.