Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley has responded to a viral video of a female player receiving abuse, stating that this kind of toxic behaviour “needs to be highlighted and stopped”.
In the original video posted by streamer Grenade Queen, she receives abuse while playing a losing match of Halo infinite, with much of it aimed at her purely for being a woman. It’s a video that clearly saddened one of the creators of Xbox’s online service, who took to Twitter to share his disappointment.
“This wasn’t the future for Xbox live we envisioned. As a community and with the help of Microsoft this needs to be highlighted and stopped. It will take teamwork between players, devs, and console manufacturers to change this and it’s time. It’s past time.”
As anyone who grew up in the Xbox 360 era will attest, toxic behaviour and abuse is nothing new to Xbox Live. Thankfully this is also a fact that Blackley goes on to acknowledge
“I know this isn’t new. I know you’re angry because nothing has been done for a long time. You’re right. It only motivates me more. It’s possible to clean these environments up. Let’s do it.”
Video games are enjoyed by more people than ever before, with recent figures stating that just under half of players are women. It’s encouraging to see a high profile name encourage Microsoft to do more to address such a longstanding issue, but it’s telling that toxicity in online gaming has become commonplace within certain gaming communities.
This of course, isn't a problem that is isolated to Xbox Live, with all kinds of online gaming spaces rife with harrasment. Ultimately, video games are a place where people escape to in order to leave the real world behind, hang out with friends and find entertainment. Since the pandemic and global lockdowns, virtual worlds have become even more crucial for a lot of people, offering refuge during difficuly times. Let’s all do our bit to make these spaces safer and more pleasant places. If you witness online abuse or harrassment, you can help by reporing toxic users and calling out people in public chats.