Microsoft is looking to improve community moderation on Xbox Live in an effort to curb harassment on the service.
As reported in The New York Times, the tech giant is strengthening the service's automated moderation tools, which include algorithms that automatically mute those who are repeatedly blocked by others.
The impetus for change came after an episode of webseries Extra Credits centering on harassment asked gamers to email Microsoft and request that more was done to stop abuse in gaming.
The subsequent slew of email resulted in Extra Credit’s James Portnow being invited to Microsoft’s headquarters for a meeting with the Xbox Live team.
“He met with a team of executives, including a vice president, for four hours, and they discussed how Microsoft was developing better algorithms for things like automatically muting repeat offenders,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
Portnow felt that change was overdue.
“For the longest time, people have seen games as a children’s pastime, and we as an industry have stood behind this idea.”
“But that’s not true any longer. We are a real mass medium, and we have a real effect on the culture. We have to take a step beyond this idea that nothing we could possibly do could be negative, or hurt people.”
Portnow is speaking at PAX later this month as part of a panel called “Ending Harassment in Gaming”.
The issue of online harassment and how to combat it has taken centre stage as of late: an IndieGoGo campaign to resurrect hacked anti-hate speech site Gamers Against Bigotry recently closed after easily achieving its funding goal, and a Kickstarter for a gay-friendly yet all-inclusive gaming convention passed its US$25,000 (AU$23,725) with 24 days remaining in its pledge drive.