Xbox, PS4 Games Hitting Swearing Gamers With Technical Fouls

from the Nintendo's-Cooking-Mama-apparently-washes-mouths-out-with-soap dept

Recently, Xbox users uploading gameplay videos with recorded commentary were surprised to find themselves booted from Upload Studio for their use of “adult” language. Microsoft apparently intends to run a very clean service, but it also bans a common slang word for penis, which also happens to be the co-op player’s name in Dead Rising 3. So, you can see where the ideal begins to clash with reality.

The clash turns to cognitive disconnect when you take into account the number of foul-mouthed protagonists of popular M-rated games. Microsoft apparently has no problem with the actual gameplay consisting mainly of gunplay and f-bombs, but its customer base had better not be adding in any colorful verbal explosions of their own.

Microsoft’s sliding ban scale still allows most swearing players to access other areas of its online offerings, but temporary-to-complete bans of all services are still an option for those who can’t keep a civil tongue in their headset.

Following on the heels of this news is the discovery that swearing too much during gameplay can have consequences within the games themselves.

In a video that’s both amazing and a little creepy, one gamer playing NBA 2K14 shows how he was given a technical foul after the Kinect heard him curse. In an actual NBA game, referees can hand out technicals if players swear excessively, and it looks like the same happens in NBA 2K14.

Here’s the video. (SFW? Well, it obviously contains swearing…)

And it’s not just basketball. Players of Unamerican Football are being served with sternly-worded notices from their club’s board of directors.

These same “features” were noted on the PS4 versions, which means it was a developer decision rather than a Microsoft “exclusive.” Both games do offer the option to toggle off the potty mouth penalties, thus allowing gamers to play them as God intended when He/She/It gave them expansive four-letter-dependent vocabularies.

Now, while Microsoft has been dealing with degenerate vernacular, Sony has taken a decidedly hands-off approach to user-generated content. Its system also utilizes an (optional) camera and mic. PS4 users are (well, were) able to stream video live thanks to Sony’s partnership with Twitch and its pre-loaded alternate-reality game, The Playroom.

The Playroom gives PS4 users a squad of tiny digital “robots” to interact with. And interact they have, often bypassing the digital playmates completely in favor of interacting with other players.

To date, there have been no users banned for talking like over-caffeinated sailors. Sony gave its users the freedom to use the system however they’d like. And users responded by doing exactly that.

[The users have] put shoes on their head at the exhortation of others watching their broadcast live. They’ve had sex in front of their TV screen. They’ve stripped their wife naked as she lay seemingly unconscious on a couch. They’ve had to explain to a local police department that they didn’t have a child locked up in their basement after viewers called to tip the cops off to the suspected crime.

Other bizarre and disturbing behavior has also been noted. A user tormented a young child by pretending he was lurking outside his house. The hosts of “The Spartan Show,” a call-in show that swiftly gained a following on Twitch, was besieged by trolls who taunted the hosts and hit them with a barrage of cruel questions.

Twitch has now banned streams from Sony’s “Playroom.” It says it will consider reconnecting the two once PS4 users “become more familiar with the games-only focus of Twitch content.” In other words, you can have your stuff back when you’ve shown me you’ve matured.

So, did Microsoft make the right move by using a version of the “broken windows theory” (ban small-time swearing and the larger problems vanish)? Or is its policy simply unreasonable consider the number of M-rated titles it supports? Or did Sony just screw up by assuming its customers would create nothing but beauty and kindness (and unit-moving videos) when given access to live-streaming?

The only way you learn is by trying. Sony erred on side of the freedom while Microsoft erred on the side of caution. Points will be scored by Microsoft simply because its users have yet to upload rapey videos. Treating the average gamer (still hovering around age 30 despite the influx of younger gamers using tablets and mobile devices) like a child will only get you so far. Any platform will be misused by a certain subset of humanity –that’s a given — but that’s no reason to overreact far in advance of potential issues.

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Comments on “Xbox, PS4 Games Hitting Swearing Gamers With Technical Fouls”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

How's this for a filter...

Users get ‘strikes’ for every violation(excessive swearing, harassing other players, whatever), and each user is able to set a ‘strikes threshold’, where once someone gets enough ‘strikes’, they are muted/blocked for players who’s strikes threshold they’ve exceeded.

Of important note is that the second half, the ‘mute/block’ bit, would be entirely opt-in, so if someone felt they were up to dealing with even those that had accumulated dozens/hundreds of strikes, they could simply keep the filter deactivated, or set it so high that only the worst would be filtered out.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: How's this for a filter...

I’m with the strikes system if there are kids playing (to which the server should clearly tell that one or more players are underage) or simply prevent kids from playing with adults in random encounters.

Other than that, if it’s adults playing let the verbal carnage run loose. Don’t like the cursing party? just /mute

out_of_the_blue says:

So either don't use it or don't complain of corporate control!

If you’re going to be consistent and not worry about Google — or Microsoft with Kinect — spying on you full time, then why object to this? Just small sample of how the people control system is being put in place, right in front of your willfully blind eyes. Just quit paying and playing. You’re not going to get mega-corporations to stop at any level of spying or control: they want ALL of you.

Mike often tells us that he knows how teh internets work, but never really shows a grasp of human nature in practice, the fraud and control to gain money any way can.

silverscarcat (profile) says:

Re: So either don't use it or don't complain of corporate control!

You’re still an idiot.

of course I’m not going to use it or play those games, but, blue, think of it like this…

How long until other companies see “hey, they can get away with curbing people’s speech, let’s do the same thing”?

It’s the same reason why, despite not getting certain games or electronics, I can still complain about certain “features” that those things contain, like on-disk DLC and Micro-transactions, among other things.

Because, if you buy the stuff, you’re supporting the whole “less is good” mentality that corporations want to shove down your throat.

Sure, you could NOT buy, but not speaking up about it is JUST as bad!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So either don't use it or don't complain of corporate control!

You’re making the same argument for two separate situations.

Situation 1: Your usually Google rant. Google is getting a ton of information on us and is going to know more than we want. Okay, but you’re choosing to share information with them by using their system. They aren’t restricting you in any way, just watching what you do.

Situation 2: Microsoft vocal censorship. They listen to you and gather inforamtion that allow them to censor or punish you for not acting properly. You have no choice in the penalties that affect what you do. It’s restrictive.

Can you see the difference? Or am I asking too much?

Nick (profile) says:

Re: So either don't use it or don't complain of corporate control!

Um, you’re telling us not to do these articles that inform us of abusive “language filtering” settings. You are trying to claim that if we don’t like it, to not support the behavior (by purchasing the product).

These two arguments DO NOT MIX. If sites like this did not report on the issue (as you are so apt to demand), then people would not know about the issue, thus wouldn’t be informed enough to avoid it. In this day and age, return policies are slim to nil, and by the time a customer knows about it, it is too late to refund.

So, Blue, you should NOT be arguing against these articles. They aren’t the site itself “complaining, yet still supporting” the behavior. If the site didn’t “complain” (or what is called REPORTING), then nobody would know.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re:

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m telling you to stop making these articles because I DON’T WANT you to inform people so they can boycott. Every person is a potential troller you know like what happens to me in every single comments section.

Just more proof that this place is out of control and the world needs more censorship.

haik (profile) says:

When you put aside the controversy, and focus on pure gameplay: I like the idea.
I don’t play sports games much, more of a simracer (yeah, yeah, racing guys aren’t athletes, I know Donovan…) – but knowing that that I can be fouled (or served a penalty, or earned a $$ fine in a career mode, etc..), yeah, I think it can open up a new whole experience. Maybe helping to feel even more immersed in the game.
But – like in any game – if you got the option to turn it off.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:


Getting a technical foul for swearing in sports games sounds rather realistic and something that could happen in the real world as well. Of course, I’m basing this on my 9 years experience as a baseball umpire for various little league, where if a player/coach is heard swearing within earshot of an umpire the offender receives one warning to stop and gets thrown out of the game if the umpires hear them swearing after that. Don’t know how much of that that translates over to the professional leagues of basketball and soccer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. Is it kinda dumb since it’s a video game? Eh.

On the flipside, those PS4 users in the playroom are probably going to end up as “why we can’t have nice things” within a year or so.

Not s fan of XB1’s swear-filter, but considering the potty-mouthed teenagers I’ve encountered while playing Halo 4’s multiplayer on live, I can’t say I’m too surprised this happened.

Hopefully Microsoft will relax the swearing restrictions at some point in 2014. Let’s just pray they don’t grow that disturbing brand of puritanism that seems to permeate Apple’s walled garden these days.

As the Zen Master says, “We’ll see.”

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Actually..

You’d be surprised how many terms in common usage such a ban might sweep up.

Scum bag, for example, compares the target to a used condom. Scum has a similar meaning. A nice person is someone too stupid/retarded to be mean to people in the original meaning. Retarded used to be a clinical term before it was an insult. Most people would be astounded what a properly programmed bad language filter might block.

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