The original Xbox console launched 20 years ago, developed as a standardized system that could compete with the flourishing PlayStation 2. The series of consoles have come a very long way since, but there’s at least one common element in online Xbox gaming that the system’s co-creator isn’t happy about.
Seamus Blackley is one of the designers responsible for the creation of the original Xbox system, and he doesn’t like what he’s seeing on social media. A recently shared tweet revealing a gamer’s experience with toxic players and harassment over voice chat has been making the rounds, and got Blackley’s attention.
The tweet in question was initially shared by Twitter user and streamer GrenadeQueen1, who recorded and uploaded footage of her recent experience with Halo Infinite. While the game has received a good amount of praise, her experience with other players was anything but a positive one. Though she remains quiet through the clip, other players verbally harass her throughout the recording, informing her to “get off my Halo” because she’s “not meant to be here’ alongside other derogatory comments.
Grenade Queen shared the clip to object to the behavior, and many Twitter users took to the comments to either agree or argue against her point. One of these was Blackley, who retweeted it and decried the behavior, stating that it wasn’t the future they wanted for Xbox, and that it was high time for all involved parties to find a way to combat harassment on gaming platforms.
While the comment in question is focusing on Xbox consoles, this type of behavior is common on nearly all gaming platforms. Responses on the tweet varied in response, with some supporting the streamer and calling out this type of behavior. Others noted that some level of ribbing and harassment is a constant in gaming and argued that gamers needed thicker skin, or should use games’ tools to block trolls.
Blackley went on to talk with Axios about the problem, claiming that Microsoft hadn’t done enough during the early days of the Xbox Live’s development to combat harassment. He described the problem as having gone from ‘bad to pure evil’ since then, and called on Steam and Xbox to acknowledge that there’s a problem, if nothing else.
Of course, it’s not as though developers and console companies have done nothing. Xbox introduced clearer guidelines in an effort to minimize trash talking the same year that the Anti-Defamation League revealed that the vast majority of adult gamers had experienced harassment while playing games. The subject hasn’t gone anywhere since then, with a Sony patent designed to fight gaming trolls discovered just a few days ago. It remains to be seen how much publishers and developers can do to fight this kind of behavior, but any step in the right direction would likely be a welcome change for anyone who has dealt with harassment in gaming, especially with targeted attacks based on a player’s gender or race.