Microsoft has announced a new Xbox feature in the seemingly endless battle to get gamers to stop acting like raging assholes: an enforcement strike system.
The company detailed how the new feature will work and what it means for gamers in an August 15 blog post announcing the new system, which launched on the same day. “Enforcements” is the existing Xbox term for actions taken against accounts that violate community standards, and the new system will help players keep better track of these enforcements—including what they were for and how they’ll impact their records. “This revised system gives players a better understanding of enforcement severity and the cumulative effect of multiple enforcements,” the post read.
Enforcements will now include strikes based on “the severity of [player’s] actions,” and Microsoft likens it to getting strikes on your driver’s license, which in countries like the U.S. can eventually result in the suspension of your license. “For example, a player that has received two strikes will be suspended from the platform for one day, whereas a player that receives four strikes will be suspended for seven days,” the post detailed.
Players have a limit of eight strikes—once they reach that number, they’ll be kicked off Xbox’s social features, including messaging, party chat, and multiplayer “for one year from the enforcement date.” Strikes remain on players’ records for six months, and I can’t help but wonder if Microsoft will eventually introduce its own version of a defensive driving course to help players knock a few strikes off of their accounts.
The enforcement strike system is part of the Xbox maker’s larger effort to curb toxicity in online gaming. Back in July 2023, the company rolled out a new voice reporting feature that lets players record and submit clips of voice chats that violate its community standards. It’s unclear how effective the voice reporting feature has been in the month or so since its launch.
For toxic gamers scared that the jig is up—or people who are often the victim of false reporting—the Xbox team seems determined to reassure you that it’s very unlikely that you’ll get banned. “In 2022, fewer than one percent of all players received a temporary suspension, and only one third of those received a second. Our data shows us that players typically stop inappropriate behavior after one enforcement, quickly learning what is and is not acceptable based on the Xbox Community Standards and how to better engage on our platform.”
Xbox players have long had the ability to appeal enforcements, but this new system will make it even more clear if there are any against your account, and now a successful appeal will result in one of your eight potential strikes being removed. In short, don’t be an asshole online.