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Xbox Boss Doesn't Think Bans Go Far Enough

Players live in an age where it's never been easier to connect and play games with others. The advent of online play and cross-platform gaming carved a triumphant path into the future. That said, more connectivity introduces its own set of grievances for players to deal with. For example, how can players avoid troublemakers and harassers when they don't play on the same platform as them? These questions aren't only asked by players, but by individuals in top roles within the industry too.

Recently, Xbox boss Phil Spencer sat down for an interview with Kara Swisher's podcast "Sway" to voice his opinions about, among other issues, problems with toxic gamers. During the lengthy chat, Spencer expressed his belief that bans don't accomplish enough in their current form. Spencer has hopes that the problem can be addressed in the future, but as the number of titles that support cross-platform play grows, he worries about the lengths players have to go through to avoid any single problem individual person across multiple games and platforms.

How Does Phil Spencer Want Bans To Evolve?

During the "Sway" interview (transcript via The New York Times), the topic of toxic individuals and player safety came up. When initially asked if he saw any one platform doing a better a better job keeping its players safe, Spencer responded, "I don't think gaming wins by one platform being safer and other platforms not being safe. Because to the uninformed, gaming is gaming. It's a monolithic activity." 

Spencer acknowledged Xbox's own notorious and problematic past within the interview, but the Xbox boss also continued by outlining his hopes for how the industry might change in the future. He wondered, "when somebody gets banned in one of our networks, is there a way for us to ban them across other networks? Or at least as a player, for me to be able to bring my banned user list."

Spencer envisions a world where players might be able to take a list of players they want to avoid along with them as they traverse the industry's various platforms and titles, keeping them safe on each platform. For Spencer's hopes to become a reality, there would have to be an unheard-of level of collaboration between the biggest competitors in gaming, whether it's self-implemented by each platform or achieved through a universally integrated secondary platform. Players may still be a ways off from Spencer's vision, but as more titles embrace cross-play and cross-platform play, maybe it'll get closer to reality.