Microsoft is bringing a new strike-based enforcement program to Xbox, aimed at curbing toxic behaviour among its players. The company outlined its new measures in a blog post, with a systemic diagram that clears up any confusion regarding how punishments will be handed out based on infractions. Based on the severity of the offence, be it using slurs, hateful conduct, or even sending death threats, affected players can now report toxic behaviour, triggering a response from the moderation team, who will investigate the issue. The new system will see players receiving strikes, going all the way up to eight, after which they will be barred from using Xbox multiplayer services like messages and voice chat.
With the previous ban system, it was quite confusing for players as to why some bans were resolved within a day, while others took weeks or even months to settle down. For now, it’s a bit unclear how Xbox determines the severity of a strike, but starting now, every player in its gaming ecosystem will start with a clean slate, devoid of strikes. The punishments based on strikes scale in increasing order, with longer penalties issued to those who failed to maintain good behaviour despite being suspended once. As mentioned before, Xbox has released a diagram that best explains this, with things like the use of profanity or cheating in-game amounting to one strike each. Both the first and second strikes will ban you from using Xbox online services for a day, while the third strike suspends you for three days. When it eventually adds up to eight days, players will be banned for an entire year.
All strikes stay on your profile record for six months, so if you don’t want strikes to stack up over time, it’s best to calm down on the toxicity. Also, upon being banned, affected users will be able to see their enforcement history, which details the strike count, reasoning, active suspension’s start and end date, and a link to Xbox’s community standards. Any completed and expired suspensions will also show, though I’m assuming the latter is merely for your record once you’ve built a clean slate. That said, Xbox assures that players will always have the ability to submit an appeal for any enforcements that have been issued against them. And if the punishment is reversed, the strike goes away as well.
Here’s how Xbox’s latest Enforcement Strike System issues punishments:
Strike 1 — 1-day suspension
Strike 2 — 1-day suspension
Strike 3 — 3-day suspension
Strike 4 — 7-day suspension
Strike 5 — 14-day suspension
Strike 6 — 21-day suspension
Strike 7 — 60-day suspension
Strike 8 — 365-day suspension
Xbox has assured that all reports are carefully evaluated and that no automated enforcement will be enacted based on a simple report. “In 2022, fewer than 1 percent of all players received a temporary suspension, and only one-third of those received a second. Our data shows us that players typically stop inappropriate behaviour after one enforcement, quickly learning what is and is not acceptable based on the Xbox Community Standards and how to better engage on our platform,” Dave McCarthy, CVP, Xbox Player Services said in the blog post.
“The strike system is designed to further empower players to engage positively and appropriately on Xbox and with the community.”