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Microsoft To Allow Racial, Sexual, and Religious Identifiers On Xbox Live

by Matt Helgeson on Mar 05, 2010 at 06:31 AM

In a letter posted on Microsoft’s Gamerscore Blog, Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten revealed a new update to the service's Code of Conduct that will “allow members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles.” This is a clear change of policy for Microsoft. Previously, these types of profile identifications were limited to “prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs,” according to Whitten.

“While the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox Live community,” Whitten went on to say. He also said that this new, more open policy will be implemented along with “increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms.”

It’s encouraging to see Microsoft taking steps to recognize that the audience for video games is becoming more diverse. Those who want to share more information about their identity on Xbox Live now have that ability, something that carries its own risks and benefits. Anyone who’s played a single match of Modern Warfare 2 online knows just how ugly certain parts of the Xbox Live community can be. Let’s hope that new policy enforcement strategies prevent these new identifiers from being reasons to target individuals for abuse.

To view the complete Xbox Live Code of Conduct, click here.

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