One of the more innovative features in Microsoft’s new all-in-one game console/entertainment box, the Xbox One, is Upload Studio, an app that lets you edit and share clips of your gameplay online. Even more interesting is that the console’s built-in motion camera and microphone, the Kinect, will automatically record your commentary and overlay it automatically for you, should you choose to include it.
While this feature is proving popular among new console buyers, video makers are quickly discovering that certain phrases they use during recordings are getting them nothing but wrist slaps from Microsoft. After reports began cropping up online that players were receiving bans for cursing during their online video uploads, Microsoft confirmed in a statement to The Verge that they are indeed banning folks who use “excessive” foul language in Upload Studio.
The bans being issued don’t affect services that are unrelated to Upload Studio, such as online gameplay or use of Xbox Live. Instead, the bans will block those affected from using the Kinect recording feature over their gameplay. In some other cases, users are simply blocked temporarily from using Upload Studio.
Many frustrated users have taken to sites like Reddit to argue over the validity of such punishment, and even speculate as to whether or not Microsoft is monitoring Skype calls made from the system to check for use of profanity.
Microsoft has since denied such accusations.
“To be clear, the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor direct peer-to-peer communications like Skype chats and calls,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge.
“We take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously. We want a clean, safe, and fun environment for all users. Excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live.”
What is determined as “excessive” foul language has yet to be clarified by Microsoft or its Xbox division, and probably never will. And though those bans might sound harsh, at least consider Microsoft’s perspective: these videos are being shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms thousands of times daily. It makes sense that they’d want to protect their brand as best they can, even if they’re attempts at doing so are questionable and overlap heavily into censorship territory.
But then again, Xbox Live has an already monumental reputation for fostering young kids with foul mouths thanks to the Xbox 360 and its online accessibility. So this might be Microsoft’s way of trying to back away from that stereotype as best it can. Let’s see how well it works… or how well it backfires.