“We’re not a free speech platform.”
Console manufacturers should collaborate on cross-platform bans and the ability to block other users, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said.
Speaking as part of a wide-ranging New York Times interview, Spencer said he would like Xbox and other console makers to be able to work together on these ideas.
“Something I would love us to be able to do – this is a hard one as an industry – is when somebody gets banned in one of our networks, is there a way for us to ban them across other networks?” Spencer said.
Another idea would be the ability to apply cross-platform user blocking – so that someone harassing another person could not just turn to a different platform to continue their abuse.
Spencer said he wanted to “be able to bring my banned user list… to other networks where I play. So ‘this is the group of people that I choose not to play with’. Because I don’t want to have to recreate that in every platform that I play video games on.”
On the topic of keeping Xbox clear of toxic content, Spencer made the point that it was “not a free speech platform”.
“We’re a platform around interactive entertainment and video games. And we’re not there to allow all kinds of social discourse to happen on our platform. That’s not why we exist.”
Dodging a question on whether Xbox was better at content moderation than social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, Spencer said “the transparency of our business model” – where people paid for and enjoyed video games instead of being tempted to click “tumultous topics… that drive the most clicks” made things more straightforward.
“We don’t get paid on Xbox by how many times you click on something,” Spencer concluded. “I get paid by how many times your kids like playing Minecraft. And I do think that transparency in the gaming space means that we have to be very, very consistent with our customers. Because we almost more have a subscription relationship with our customer, that if you logged into Minecraft tomorrow and had a bad experience, you might never come back.”