Microsoft is introducing a new strike-based enforcement system on Xbox game consoles. The system is designed with transparency in mind and is here to help clear up confusion regarding the Xbox community standard guidelines, and aid players in keeping track of enforcement actions made to their accounts, as well as curb-stomp repeat offenders who exhibit toxic behaviour online.
The previous ban system was understandably quite confusing to some players, and also vaguely inconsistent. While some suspensions were resolved within a day, others took weeks or even months to be lifted. The accompanying blog post and included diagram are quite clear and concise, and should be easy to follow, but for the sake of clarity we’ll break it down to the meat and potatoes.
Enforcement is based on the severity of the offence – be it cheating, vulgarity, hateful speech, death threats and every nasty thing in between – and affected players can now report toxic behaviour and receive a direct response from the Xbox Safety Team. If determined to be accurate, the report will result in an enforcement.
Thankfully, there are no automated enforcement actions based solely on the fact that a report was made. This seems to address an underling issue for Xbox One and Series X|S console players, that often resulted in unfair bans or suspended accounts. The result, plenty of unfairly judged players struggling to get hold of Xbox support to plead their case to a real human being in the hope of reinstating their accounts.
Accompanying the enforcement strategy is a strike system that is similar to a demerit strike found in driver’s licence systems in some countries. All Xbox players start with a blank slate, thereafter, for each transgression offenders can receive up to eight strikes, all of which vary in punishment and severity. For example, two strikes gets you suspended for one day, while a player with six strikes can be banned for 21 days. However, once a player receives the maximum of eight strikes, they will be suspended from Xbox’s social features – messaging, party chat and multiplayer – for one year from the enforcement date.
All strikes stay on record for six months, and as always, players have the right to appeal their strikes. Should the appeal be successful, all strikes will be removed accordingly. However, for the most serious offences, including illegal activity, Xbox retains the ability to permanently ban all functionality of an account including access to online purchases.
Below is a visual representation of a players enforcement history:
Multiplayer games are a great place to meet and engage with people who share your interests. I have met many a new friend and continue to create new experiences with others online. It should be a safe place for anyone to join, and for the most part, gaming with both cross-platform Xbox and Sony users has remained a relatively toxic-free environment for me. Microsoft says that in 2022, fewer than one percent of all players received a temporary suspension, and only a third of those received a second. Not bad at all.
I know I’m preaching to the converted, but should this new system work as intended, it means we have the power to properly address troublesome players, at least on Xbox, and I implore everyone not to abuse the system. As the saying goes, “with great power, come’s great responsibility.” Happy gaming, all.