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.