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The Banned Words For Xbox Custom Controllers Are Turning Heads

The Xbox Design Lab has made its triumphant return, allowing people to customize the colors of an official Xbox Series X|S controller and even add a custom engraving. The engraving allows for 16 characters, which is one more than the Xbox 360 era's Gamertag character limit, presumably to allow anyone enough space to put their Gamertag. If you're not wanting to immortalize your Gamertag, you can attempt to write anything you want for the engraving — with mixed results. 

As you might expect, Xbox won't just let you put any old phrase or words on the controllers, and the company has instituted some guidelines pertaining to what is appropriate. As reported by Kotaku, the custom engraving option has a list of banned words or phrases, but fans may be confused to learn what is included in the list and what isn't. 

The system does not allow many of the things you would expect, like various terms for genitalia. Where it gets confusing is the fact that the system seems to be more focused on specific phrases. Kotaku's John Walker tried out a number of phrases to try to figure out what would get blocked by Design Lab. 

For example, the word "kill" is fine on its own, but is unacceptable when used in the phrase "kill women." "Kill men" and "kill penguins" are acceptable but "kill all men" is not acceptable. Meanwhile, Walker discovered several offensive phrases that were accepted by the system.

More confusing phrases

Based on the examples above, it almost seems as though a group of people at Microsoft got together and compiled a list of phrases that should not be allowed, but didn't think of every eventuality, which results in some offensive phrases getting through the system

Also, as any online multiplayer lobby will show you, word ban lists will pretty much always get defeated by people mixing in different letters or numbers into words. Word ban lists also remove the possibility of some words being used positively, just to make extra sure the words aren't used negatively.

The issue with the Xbox Design Lab banned words is that the use of hyper-specific phrases leaves open the possibility that someone with a bit of creativity can get around the list. As much as Microsoft doesn't want its controllers to be officially engraved with horrible phrases, the current system seems to leave an unfortunate bit of wiggle room.

Hopefully Xbox gets this system ironed out in the near future. In the meantime, Xbox gamers have managed to design some pretty cool custom controllers through the program, and they're definitely worth checking out.