Xbox introduces new strike system to combat toxic players

Xbox is looking to tackle harassment and bullying in online gaming spaces.
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Xbox has announced a stronger stance against online bullying and harassment in multiplayer games, with a new strike system put into place to discourage toxicity. The ‘Enforcement Strike System’ is cumulative, and aims to punish players who receive multiple strikes for bad behaviour.

When players see a violation of Xbox’s Community Standards – bullying, harassment, or abuse – they are encouraged to make a formal report. These are reviewed by Xbox community managers, and strikes are delivered based on the severity of the incident. Per Xbox, penalties are now harsher for players that are repeat offenders.

Strikes are recorded on a player’s profile for six months. Get two strikes within that period, and you’ll be suspended from Xbox live services for one day. A player with four strikes in the same period will be suspended for seven days. Should a player receive eight strikes within a six month period, they will be suspended from Xbox social features, parties and party chat, multiplayer, and other services for one year.

Read: 40% of all video game developers have faced player harassment

Details of the offending incidents will be viewable under a new, private ‘enforcement history’ tab found on personal profiles. This will record the strike tally and any active suspensions earned, alongside details of the incident.

The renewed enforcement system kicks into gear from today, with all players getting blank slates and zero-strike status. Any reported incidents resulting in a strike will subsequently be recorded on player profiles. Beyond this system, Xbox has also retained the right to permanently ban players for ‘the most serious violations’, including illegal activity.

Xbox has pledged to remain transparent about this reporting process, with bi-annual reports set to reveal more about enforcement standards, and how the new system is implementing actual change within the Xbox gaming community.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.