Who’s ready to get political then? I know, I know, we’ve certainly had enough political problems burdening our TV screens in recent weeks. However, when gaming and politics collide in conversation, it’s only fair that we put our input in too. Unfortunately, the two subjects have collided once more with the Xbox, which in the past has usually meant politicians blaming video games for their own failures. Has this happened again?
It looks like it could be heading that way, that’s for sure. This is especially the case in a recent interview with Xbox executive, Phil Spencer, where he was asked about the link between gaming and the contentious state of American politics. Here we go again, he must’ve thought. Well thankfully Spencer replied in a calm collected manner, arguing that the Xbox isn’t designed for free speech.
For those unfamiliar with Phil Spencers work, he’s part of the Senior Leadership team at Microsoft. His roles include heading the Xbox brand and overseeing its global creative teams. Whilst he’s only been in the role since 2017, his history with Microsoft extends much further back, when he joined the company as an intern in the 1980’s. As a result, his words hold quite a lot of meaning within the gaming world, and this statement is no different.
Does Xbox Have A Responsibility Within Politics?
The comments on free speech were given during an interview with The New York Times, where reporter Kara Swisher cited Steve Bannon’s past comments on harnessing gaming communities as political tools. Obviously, Spencer didn’t rise to the bait, and simply denied any hypothesis.
“One of the things we’ve stated about our social network is we’re not a free speech platform. We’re a platform around interactive entertainment and video games… We’re not there to allow any conversation to happen on our platform.”
This isn’t the first time Spencer has gone on record with these comments. Back in 2019, he played a major role in an initiative to redefine Microsoft’s community guidelines, intended to eliminate online harassment. Heavy focus was put on hate, sexual harassment and discrimination, which should go without saying. Anyone who was part of a Modern Warfare lobby could tell you that these were problems that needed to be addressed.
There is some controversy around this subject, not just in the gaming community but for social media as a whole. Many people believe online platforms ought to defend the First Amendment right to free speech. On the other hand, people argue that content moderation is the only way to make people feel safe whilst gaming. Unfortunately, it looks like even Spencer doesn’t have the answers to solve these problems.
“I think we all have a long way to go. You could tell me that’s a lame answer. That’s all right.”
“We’re not there to allow any conversation to happen on our platform,” Spencer says, and more than that Xbox Live is simply not designed for that kind of politicisation. “It’s very difficult to come to Xbox Live and say, Okay, I want to go create a political party on the platform.'”
“You could kind of twist the tools and try to get there, but it’s just not set up for general-purpose conversations or community,” Spencer says but, “It’s really set up for community around interactive entertainment and the games that run on our platform. And that’s the way we invest.”
Overall, it’s a very opinionated argument which certainly won’t be answered overnight. However, it’s good to know the stance that Xbox have on it. Therefore, why not head on over to our store and get some of the best Xbox games we have to offer. After the company’s successful year and recent acquisitions, it couldn’t be a better time to be a Xbox fan!
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