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Xbox's Baldur's Gate 3 Bans Have Fans Seeing Red

"Baldur's Gate 3" is one of the most celebrated RPGs in recent memory, taking home the coveted Game of the Year award from the 2023 Game Awards ceremony and convincing millions of players that "Dungeons & Dragons" is actually cool. It has also garnered quite a bit of attention for its steamier aspects, including an in-depth romance system that allows players to woo many of the characters they come across in their travels. Yes, that even includes druids who can turn themselves into bears, as the developers proudly revealed in a much-discussed gameplay preview last July. Now, however, the game's love scenes are causing an unexpected level of trouble for players on one particular platform.


Upon uploading gameplay videos on Xbox Series X and Series S, many players are suddenly discovering that their Xbox accounts have been suspended for violating the company's content policies. Specifically, it seems these players who were hit with the banhammer received their sentences after sharing clips of some of the game's steamier romance sequences. This has caused quite a bit of consternation among "Baldur's Gate 3" fans, many of whom feel like it doesn't make sense to be punished for using an Xbox console to upload clips from an Xbox-approved title. 

Suspended for one year over Baldur's Gate 3 clips

The seriousness of this issue really came to the attention of the fan community at the beginning of January, when Reddit user Daddy-Vegas revealed that they'd been slapped with a one-year suspension from all Xbox Network services. After capturing what they referred to as "3 clips ... of naked camp fun time," Daddy-Vegas said that each of the clips was automatically uploaded to Xbox's cloud server. This is apparently what caused Xbox to flag the user's account, and unfortunately for Daddy-Vegas, "Each clip counted as a different infraction," so the accumulative offense led to the lengthy ban.


In the aftermath, Daddy-Vegas has recommended not recording any clips from "Baldur's Gate 3" whatsoever, while others have simply reminded Xbox gamers that they can toggle off the console's automatic sharing function, which would presumably keep Xbox's moderators from leaping into action. However, Daddy-Vegas is far from the only person who has been suspended for uploading similarly R-rated "Baldur's Gate 3 clips," and both Larian Studios and the fan community have expressed their displeasure with the situation.

Larian Studios reacts to Baldur's Gate 3 bans

As more and more reports of unexpected bans started to pour in, Larian's director of publishing, Michael Douse, took to X (formerly Twitter) to address the situation. "We've seen the reports that some players got banned or otherwise faced issues on Xbox having uploaded screenshots/videos of their 'gameplay content,'" said Douse, who confirmed that Larian was in communication with Microsoft in an attempt to sort this out. Douse also called the situation "Annoying and uncool," which seems to be a sentiment shared by a great number of fans.


Responding to the outcry, Xbox remained steadfast in its dedication to the company's long-standing guidelines. The company explained on X, "Xbox account suspensions are not automatic. Each clip is reviewed by a moderator and, if found in violation of our safety and content policies, actioned accordingly." Gamers are allowed to appeal these suspensions, however, and Xbox's moderators are willing to explain why a particular suspension was handed out, giving the impacted players the knowledge to hopefully avoid such a ban in the future.


This response hasn't been very popular with many in the "Baldur's Gate" community, however. Some have suggested that Xbox should just allow players to set their own content filters and allow the upload of M-rated clips, while others have argued that many inexplicable bans are still handed to accounts that didn't do anything wrong. Some fans accused Xbox of cracking down specifically on sexual content, but being lax in other areas. As one gamer quipped, "Can take a photo of a dismembered body in a game but heaven forbid we show a photo of a breast."

Xbox content policies remain firm on Baldur's Gate 3

It's worth noting that Xbox's official support page still indicates that sharing mature content is frowned upon by Microsoft. In an FAQ page regarding the company's content guidelines, Xbox cautions, "Content that you might find in mature and adult-rated games aren't always suitable for others to view on the Xbox network. We recommend sharing content that's rated Teen (T) at most." Specifically, Xbox discourages users from uploading any clips or screenshots containing harsh language, sexual content, or drug use. 


Even players who aren't directly participating in these activities in-game may be subject to punishment, as Xbox reserves the right to hold users responsible for the behavior of their online teammates and friends in chat. With stringent content policies such as these in place, it makes sense that Microsoft doesn't see "Baldur's Gate 3" as an exception to the rule, regardless of its Game of the Year status. "Baldur's Gate 3" fans who want to cherish the game's more M-rated moments may want to switch off automatic cloud uploads before clipping their favorite scenes.