Earlier this week, Microsoft released an updated version of its “Community Standards” for Xbox owners who engage in online gameplay. The guidelines detail what players aren’t allowed to do, but in some cases providing explicit acknowledgement that something is okay, as well. Among the updated guidelines is authorization for “a little bit of trash talk,” but Microsoft warns players need to “keep it clean.”
The updated guidelines were released on Tuesday, April 30. In them, Xbox console owners will find a list of standards Microsoft holds them to, including warnings against fraud, spam, illegal actions, ‘harmful behavior,’ and the nature of one’s content. The company has spent some time explaining the difference between ‘trash talk’ and actual harassment, and where the line exists.
“We get it—gaming can be competitive and interactions with other players can get heated,” the latest document states. “A little trash talk is an expected part of competitive multiplayer action, and that’s not a bad thing.” However, the company warns that “hate has no place here,” and that players will be punished if they cross the line into harassment.
In this case, Microsoft considers ‘lighthearted banter or bragging’ trash talk if it focuses on the game and ultimately ‘encourages healthy competition.’ In contrast, Microsoft says that harassment is ‘negative behavior that’s personalized, disruptive, or likely to make someone feel unwelcome or unsafe.’
Microsoft has been helpful in providing a list of what it considers acceptable and unacceptable trash talk. For example, Xbox players are allowed to say, “That was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked.” But players aren’t allowed to say, “Hey
The full list of acceptable phrase examples includes:
– Get destroyed. Can’t believe you thought you were on my level.
– That was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked.
– Only reason you went positive was you spent all game camping. Try again, kid.
– Cheap win. Come at me when you can actually drive without running cars off the road.
– That sucked. Get good and then come back when your k/d’s over 1.
What happens if you violate the rules? Microsoft has its most recent list of consequences available here, including online gameplay restrictions, loss of voice and text messaging abilities, a block on live broadcasting, and more.