Microsoft, 343 Industries fighting sexism on Xbox Live

Xbox Live isn't exactly known as being a wealth of intelligent discussion. In many games, users will find themselves on the receiving end of racist, sexist and demeaning comments. Now Microsoft studio 343 Industries, the developer of "Halo 4," is looking to do something about that.

In a discussion with GameStop UK, two high-ranking studio employees said Microsoft is implementing a zero-tolerance policy against users who make sexist or derogatory comments on Xbox Live. Users found to be making those kinds of comments face a lifetime ban on the gaming network.

Kiki Wolfkill, the executive producer of Halo 4, said Microsoft is carefully monitoring comments to ensure Xbox Live isn't being used as a place where discriminatory comments find shelter.

"It can be dangerous to give adolescents a broadcast mechanism," she told GameStop. "There are always going to be jerks out there, and if you give them a way to express that side of their personality without being seen, you're going to see this type of behavior manifest itself."

Wolfkill and Bonnie Ross, the studio head of 343 Industries, said that in addition to the Xbox Live monitoring, 343 was careful not to create gender-enforced stereotypes when designing characters for Halo 4.

"With Halo 4, we were very deliberate in thinking about who should be female and who should be male in the game, and if we came off stereotypical, we went back to question what we were doing and why," Ross said. 

Source: GameStop UK

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Weekend downloadable PC game sales: Nov. 2-4

Next Story

IDC: Android inside three out of four smartphones in Q3 2012

24 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Kiki Wolfkill, the executive producer of Halo 4, said Microsoft is carefully monitoring comments to ensure Xbox Live isn't being used as a place where discriminatory comments find shelter.
Aw, Kiki Wolfkill just wants to make killing experience nicer for kids. Why not to take advice from Randy Marsh and rename game to Sarcastahall, in which the players wear bras and tinfoil hats, use balloons instead of guns and give hugs and compliments to the opposing team instead of killing them.

They'll be no one left on XBL within a month!

That's why i like Battlefield, the ratio of dicks to normal people airs on the side of normal people and you get to have a decent game.

I thought everyone was all about being tolerant. If someone wants to act like an a$#h0L3 on xbox-live I mute them and move on, if they really annoy me I choose to avoid the player while online. Plus most of the people playing adult games shouldn't be and they are probably the ones getting offended.

I understand that online games tend to have many boys ages 8 to 18. Otherwise some are older and female.

I am perplexed at other players calling me, JEW and << racial epithet >>, if I happened to slay them in combat.

I always find that any attempt to censor any kind of speech a tread into very slippery territory. On one hand you have individuals that will go out of their way to try and offend, but on the other hand, you have individuals who will go out of their way to be offended by the most insignificant thing.

Just look at when YouTube added religion to its list of taboo subjects. Videos were being taken down left and right on videos that had very legitimate criticisms, just because a few people couldn't keep their emotions in check.

I think the culture of the 80s/90s is largely to blame you know boys play games and girls play with barbies that was forced down people's throats. It's never been the case that girls never play video games. It's not just being anonymous because I don't see the same thing happening on messageboards or other forms of anonymous communication.

Gaffney said,
I think the culture of the 80s/90s is largely to blame you know boys play games and girls play with barbies that was forced down people's throats. It's never been the case that girls never play video games. It's not just being anonymous because I don't see the same thing happening on messageboards or other forms of anonymous communication.

Whats the culture of the 80s/90s you're talking about? Merchandizing stuff like GI Joe/Barbie were popular in the 80s, but became a big joke by the 90s. But both GI Joe and Barbie are dolls, just different types of dolls.

Same way, nobody said girls don't like games, just that they don't necessarily like the same games that are popular with teenage boys, and which drive the gaming market. Shoot'em-up games, sports games, etc. Not all boys like those sports and shoot'em-up games either, so why should a large number of girls have to like them? I don't like FPS games like Halo. I play turn-based strategy games like Civilization, role-playing games with more like depth behind them like Ultima/Elder Scrolls. And I play a lot of different types of indie games.

Fyi, if anyone asks why women characters are dressed like sexual objects, its because these games are designed for teenage boys.

brianshapiro said,

Fyi, if anyone asks why women characters are dressed like sexual objects, its because these games are designed for teenage boys.

That brings up two important questions, though. First, why are they only aiming at teenage boys? Secondly, why are adults creating (or, at the very least, fostering) a perception for these teenage boys that women are just sexual objects?

Anthony Tosie said,

That brings up two important questions, though. First, why are they only aiming at teenage boys? Secondly, why are adults creating (or, at the very least, fostering) a perception for these teenage boys that women are just sexual objects?

My rough answers to that would be : first, because its what sells the easiest. Second, because the designers of action-oriented games are teenage boys in adult bodies. If you like action, you like sex. Action and sex go together in games, like they do in movies. And if you took them to task on that and tell them it fosters certain attitudes in life they'd get really defensive about it and call you a prude and tell you how they're normal people and not mass murderers and don't abuse women.

About the fact they design character non-gender-stereotypical. A game should not be politically correct, it should tell a story, not win a Peace Nobel Price.

Lexcyn said,
Kiki Wolfkill? Seriously?

I think they were trying a little too hard to avoid the damsel in distress and sex object stereotypes all in one go. I dunno, valve seemed to do it right. I also haven't played the game so maybe these names fit perfectly!

KSib said,

I think they were trying a little too hard to avoid the damsel in distress and sex object stereotypes all in one go. I dunno, valve seemed to do it right. I also haven't played the game so maybe these names fit perfectly!


No, Kiki Wolfkill is the executive producer's name, not a character's name in the game.

No matter where you are and what you do, there is always going to be one person, but getting banned for life over this is a bit much isn't it? The account should be "grounded" for a month or two at the most.

Tyler R. said,
No matter where you are and what you do, there is always going to be one person, but getting banned for life over this is a bit much isn't it? The account should be "grounded" for a month or two at the most.

Yeah, but if the developers stopped dressing their (very few) female characters in bra and knickers for armour maybe that'd help things along too. Its ridiculous that female's are portrait in games to be sexual objects rather then the hero. I get that they want to make the females appealing, but for most people, a female undertone is more then enough.

sagum said,

Yeah, but if the developers stopped dressing their (very few) female characters in bra and knickers for armour maybe that'd help things along too. Its ridiculous that female's are portrait in games to be sexual objects rather then the hero. I get that they want to make the females appealing, but for most people, a female undertone is more then enough.

That's why I like Alyx from Half Life 2. She's a normal, friendly, female that isn't "slutty".

Tyler R. said,

That's why I like Alyx from Half Life 2. She's a normal, friendly, female that isn't "slutty".

And just about every female that's not from a fighter or J-RPG.

Reacon said,

And just about every female that's not from a fighter or J-RPG.


That's the point. When it comes to needing armour, they put less on the females and make the boobs bounce, ass jiggle and the belly button ripple. It looks amazing right.. right guys?...

sagum said,

That's the point. When it comes to needing armour, they put less on the females and make the boobs bounce, ass jiggle and the belly button ripple. It looks amazing right.. right guys?...

Yes, but it's stereotypical and degrading to them.