In the gaming sphere, the unsavory side of multiplayer experiences often stems from harmful voice chats, and Microsoft is acutely aware of this. Doubling down on curbing such negative interactions, they’ve unveiled a cutting-edge feature for their Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles. Gamers now possess the power to capture a one-minute video snippet of any derogatory or inappropriate voice chat. But it doesn’t stop there – players can then forward this evidence to a team of moderators for assessment.
A Tool Tailored for Seamless Reporting
This groundbreaking feature is all-encompassing. Not only does it support the current generation of games, but it also casts its net back to the Xbox 360 era, with compatibility for its backward-compatible titles. The goal, as stated by Dave McCarthy, the Corporate Vice-President of Xbox Player Services, was to devise a tool that integrates effortlessly into the gaming experience. This means players won’t feel jolted out of their gaming rhythm when they decide to capture a questionable voice chat.
Moreover, the captured clip’s handling is meticulously designed for user convenience and privacy. Once recorded, the clip remains on the user’s Xbox for what can be described as “24 online hours”. Players can either submit it posthaste or decide to wrap up their gaming escapade before doing so. To ensure clips don’t get forgotten, a timely reminder pops up as the 24-hour window nears its end. And if the player opts not to forward the clip? It vanishes from their Xbox, ensuring no clutter. The most reassuring aspect, as emphasized by McCarthy, is the strict privacy associated with these clips. Unless sent for review, no one else, including Xbox itself, can access them. These captures won’t mix up with regular captures and remain untouched – no sharing, downloading, or editing.
A Blend of Tech and Human Judgement for Moderation
Xbox isn’t solely leaning on technology for the moderation process. Instead, a harmonious blend of AI prowess and human discernment will handle the submitted voice chat reports. These moderators will meticulously examine both the audio and video portions of the clips to pinpoint any breaches of the community standards.
However, there’s a cap to the number of players one can report at once, set at three. If, for any reason, the moderator struggles to link the reported voice chat to the alleged Xbox Live player, the report will be shelved and labeled as unactionable. In these scenarios, the captured evidence is slated for deletion within a three-month window. It’s pivotal to recognize that this tool’s jurisdiction only extends to Xbox players, leaving players from other platforms outside its purview.
Broadening the Horizon of Voice Chat Safety
Xbox’s holistic approach to detoxifying voice chat channels isn’t a solo venture. Others in the industry have paved the way, with PlayStation 5 spearheading a similar feature back in 2020. Game studios haven’t been idle either. Riot Games, for instance, embedded a voice recording feature in their popular title, Valorant, which springs into action only when a complaint is lodged.
This promising voice reporting tool’s pilot phase will cater to the Alpha and Alpha-skip Xbox Insider circles within English-speaking regions, such as the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Microsoft is earnestly seeking feedback from these insiders, aiming to refine and perfect the tool further. As part of its ongoing commitment, the tech giant is enthusiastic about diving deeper into voice moderation. They are also gearing up to cater to a broader linguistic audience and promise to regularly update the community via their bi-annual transparency report.