Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, who effectively control the entirety of the console gaming market, have announced a shared set of safety guidelines for how they’ll moderate and police their online platforms.
The three companies released a statement, published on Microsoft’s Xbox Wire, outlining the new initiative to protect their “youngest and most vulnerable players.” The pledge lacks specific steps toward this goal; instead, is focusing on the “principles” that guide the program.
For example, the joint statement highlights principles that include:
We believe that hate and harassment or exploitation of younger players in any way have no place in gaming. We partner with our community to promote safe gaming behavior and encourage the use of reporting tools to call out bad actors.
We comply with all local laws and will respond to all lawful requests from law enforcement. We promptly notify law enforcement if we observe unlawful conduct or where we believe a player is at risk of imminent harm.
“At Xbox, we are aligned with both Nintendo, on behalf of the community of Nintendo Switch players, and PlayStation in our belief that protecting players online requires a multidisciplinary approach — one that combines the benefits of advanced technology, a supportive community, and skilled human oversight.We can accomplish more when we work toward the same goal, and so we will each continue investing in, evolving, and amplifying our approaches to user safety. As we continue this work, we will prioritize protecting the safety of our players, especially those most vulnerable,” Xbox operations corporate vice president Dave McCarthy said.
The gaming giants likewise want to make it easy to report abuse based on clearly outlined rules, and say they’ll respond to all “lawful requests” from law enforcement.
This won’t necessarily lead to any significant changes in strategy at any of the companies. It’s no secret that Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony all have varying forms of parental controls, anti-abuse policies and other measures to keep online gaming pleasant. However, the common front could reduce inconsistencies and otherwise set expectations no matter what platform you use — you know the companies won’t let caustic players ruin the experience for others.