What you need to know
- Xbox is rolling out a new voice reporting feature that allows players to capture and report inappropriate voice activity.
- The "capture now, report" later feature allows players to record problematic multiplayer conversations without completely interrupting gameplay.
- The Xbox voice reporting feature is now available to Xbox Insiders in hopes of gathering feedback from users.
We've all endured online multiplayer lobbies filled with vile, hateful, and shockingly graphic language from total strangers. Pre-party chat Call of Duty lobbies were notorious for this brand of unpleasant interactions. However, times have changed quite a bit as more and more people engage with online gaming. In an effort to make Xbox Live a more welcoming and enjoyable place for everyone, Xbox is launching a new voice reporting feature that enables players to capture and report toxic in-game voice chats.
Beginning this week, Alpha and Alpha-skip Xbox Insiders can test the voice reporting feature. Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One players can capture 60-second video clips that highlight unseemly in-game voice exchanges they believe violate Xbox's community standards. Once recorded, the player can submit the clip as evidence to the Xbox Safety Team, who will review the recording and take appropriate actions, including restricting access to online multiplayer for the offending community member.
Xbox's voice reporting feature works similarly to capturing standard gameplay clips, but notable precautions are implemented with these potentially sensitive recordings. Unlike conventional game clips, the 60-second voice reporting segments are only used for content moderation purposes. They won't appear in recent captures, and you can't download or share the recordings. The clips only stay on your Xbox console for 24 hours, providing a relatively brief window to decide whether to submit a formal report.
Windows Central's take
There's been increased friction when it comes to the handling of user information and data as audiences are expected to relinquish tremendous amounts of personal details in order to use apps and services. It's absolutely within a company's rights to moderate and penalize users who've agreed to and subsequently breached the terms and services of their products. While critics and skeptics, especially in the United States, will cynically lambast Microsoft's initiative as another means of aggregating personal information, there are apparent benefits to players who want to feel safe and welcomed when playing games online.
Ultimately, it appears that Microsoft understands the theoretical risks of allowing any user to quickly and easily record other players' voices. The messaging from Xbox suggests that they are taking ample precautions to carefully introduce an effective moderation tool that protects its users' privacy. As someone who's repeatedly had friends and loved ones share horrifying stories of verbal harassment in online gaming lobbies, I'm perfectly fine with Xbox's new voice reporting feature.
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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.