Xbox to begin giving out strikes to accounts breaking the rules

Xbox logo on a red background.
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox's enforcement system tracks the reported behavior of players and punishes them accordingly for repeated community guidelines violations.
  • On Tuesday, Xbox announced a sizeable update to this system to make it more transparent and easier to understand.
  • Now, all community guidelines violations will result in strikes added to your account; the more strikes you accumulate, the longer a potential online suspension.
  • Xbox is also rolling out a new enforcement history page every player can access to track their strikes and appeals.

Xbox has long been committed to making the Xbox ecosystem a safe and inclusive platform for gamers of all ages and backgrounds. Part of this has been an enforcement system that sees a dedicated Xbox team evaluate player-submitted reports of community guidelines violations, and then dole out punishments (usually in the form of temporary suspensions) to those players. On Tuesday, the Xbox team announced a sizeable update to improve this system for players.

A chart showing an account's history over months of playing, as well as the progression of suspensions following strikes. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Now, each time a player is found to have violated Xbox's community guidelines in online multiplayer, Party Chat, messages, and beyond (violations including bullying and harassment, inappropriate sexual misconduct, cheating, hate speech, and more) after another player reports them, Xbox will add strikes to that account proportionate to the severity of the violation.

As strikes are added to your account, the length of the punishment (online suspension) will increase. For example, your first and second strikes are just for one day, but 6 strikes will earn you a 21-day online suspension. If you earn 8 strikes and lose your appeals, your account will be suspended for a full year. Xbox stresses that these suspensions only apply to online features (multiplayer games, Party Chat, social features, and more), and that even suspended players will still have full access to their single-player and purchased content (although Xbox can still permanently revoke account access for illegal activities).

This adds a sense of consistency to the Xbox enforcement system, which was previously vaguer in its punishments. Additionally, Xbox is adding a new enforcement history view, which will allow players to track how many strikes their account has, any pending or previous suspensions, when strikes expire (after six months), and ways to appeal strikes if a player believe it's errant. As always, Xbox encourages players to report community guidelines violations whenever they're witnessed, including using the new Xbox voice reporting tool introduced earlier this year.

Xbox's new enforcement history view, which all players will be able to access. (Image credit: Microsoft)

These updates to the Xbox enforcement system make it more transparent and easier to understand for players, with clearer punishments for community guidelines violations that can be easily tracked. Xbox is committed to making playing the best Xbox games as fun and safe as possible for all players, and this is a part of that mission. Xbox will be monitoring the success of these changes and will, as always, provide that data to players through its bi-annual Xbox Transparency Report. Xbox's data shows that less than 1% of Xbox players received even one enforcement in 2022, and less than 1/3 of those players received a second enforcement.

Analysis: Positive changes to a necessary system

The vast majority of Xbox players are good people that just want to enjoy their time with video games, either on their own or with friends and family. There are a small subset of toxic players that attempt to ruin the fun for everyone else, even going so far as to actively hurt or affect the safety of other players. The Xbox enforcement system has been working diligently to punish those players according to the Xbox community guidelines (via player reports), but it has admittedly been vague in the kinds of punishments players can expect and how severe their current enforcements are.

I believe these are positive changes to a necessary system. It gives players more transparent information they can use to avoid future strikes and be a more positive force in the Xbox community. That's exactly what Xbox is hoping to see, with even its above graphic showing the example player improving their behavior to avoid future strikes, and then showing those strikes fall off the account after six months. It's good to see Xbox continue to make strides in this area, and I'm sure we'll see even more new features in the future.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • DimitriPetrenko
    I have been playing Xbox for much of my life. It's a slippery slope to begin policing people's speech. Is it against the rules to trash talk in video games? It better not be. The mute function was implemented for a reason, and so was the block function. I understand it becomes an issue when someone makes new accounts to go after someone, that's definitely unreasonable, but if I say someone sucks in call of duty, I shouldn't be given a strike on my account. I'm also not very sensitive to trash talk or even inappropriate insults. If it bothers me I block and or mute the person, and it always ends there. The report function also exists for a reason, and it's to report legitimate threats, doxxing, or cheating. These are just my thoughts. Obviously Microsoft and it's employees will do whatever they want and tend to listen to a vocal minority rather than the entire customer base, but I would at least like to leave my thoughts in the hopes that the community will see and agree. Anyone who agrees with this 1,000,000% true reply should let it be known by liking this, and/or replying to me so that if you disagree then your thoughts can be seen. Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read this