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April’s Games with Gold Includes the Original Battlefront 2, Technomancer, and More

With a new month comes a new rotation of free games for active Xbox Live subscribers. Microsoft recently revealed their lineup for April’s Games with Gold, featuring a collection of free Xbox One titles and backward compatible extras that some players might want to pick up, available via Xbox Live Gold for a limited time only.

Most of this month’s collection seems to carry an extraterrestrial theme, as these games revolve around space-faring adventurers, featuring an old favorite from Microsoft’s debut system. For Xbox One owners, April’s highlights kick off tomorrow with Focus Home Interactive’s 2016 title
The Technomancer, where you play as an on-the-run vagabond mage-warrior, feared and respected by all on Mars. It will be free to download from April 1 to April 30.

On April 16, Bigben Interactive’s
Outcast: Second Contact will be available for free up until May 15. This game is a complete remake of the cult classic original Outcast from 1999 on PC, developed once again by Belgian studio Appeal. This will replace Electronic Arts’ Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 from the March Games with Gold rotation.

For Xbox 360 owners, as well as Xbox One via backward compatibility,
Star Wars: Battlefront II (no, not EA’s) from the original Xbox is free to own for Xbox Live Gold members starting tomorrow. The game, developed by the since-EA-shuttered Pandemic Games, comes with improved graphics via Xbox One X enhancements. This will be followed by Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, available until April 31.

Are you subscribed to Xbox Live Gold? Which of these games for April’s Games with Gold are you fancying downloading? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Adventure Time and Metal Gear Rising are Free Through Xbox Games With Gold in March

Every month, Xbox Live Gold members get a handful of free games through the Games With Gold program. Earlier today, Microsoft unveiled the lineup for March. Starting on March 1, Gold members can download Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion for Xbox One and Star Wars: Republic Commando for the Xbox. Then, on March 16th, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance join the roster for Xbox One and Xbox 360, respectively.

As always, Star Wars and Metal Gear Rising will be available to play on the Xbox One through the Xbox Backwards Compatibility program.

Source: Xbox

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Grand Theft Auto V Hits 100 Million Sales

As millions around the world enjoy the Old West in Red Dead Redemption 2, developer Rockstar is now celebrating an incredible milestone for one of their other popular games. Over five years after it made its debut, Grand Theft Auto V still frequents the monthly top-sellers list, continuing to push millions of copies every quarter.

All those sales really stack up over time, and the evergreen title has now officially eclipsed the 100 million mark. Rockstar had previously announced in May that sales of the beloved open world game stood at 95 million, which means they’ve shipped out another 5 million copies over the past five months. That’s a pretty damn impressive sales rate this late in the game!

Unsurprisingly, Grand Theft Auto V is the highest-selling game in the franchise. Other top-sellers include San Andreas at 27.5 million, IV at 25 million, Vice City at 20 million, and III at 17.5 million. Grand Theft Auto V has sold more than all four of those games combined. This makes it the third highest-selling video game of all time, trailing just Minecraft and Tetris.

Source: Variety

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EA Under Criminal Investigation Over Loot Boxes in Belgium

Over the past year, there has been a massive controversy surrounding the existence of randomized loot boxes in video games. Whether or not loot boxes should be classified as gambling has been a hotly disputed topic, and in recent months certain types of loot boxes were made illegal in the Netherlands and Belgium. EA has decided this law doesn’t apply to them.

Following the ruling, Blizzard, Valve, and 2K Games all removed loot boxes from their games to avoid legal woes, and 2K put out a statement asking its fans to petition the government to allow loot boxes. EA decided to take a different route and just ignored the law altogether, keeping the banned loot boxes in FIFA 18. As a result, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office is now investigating EA and could take the matter to the courts.

Because Belgium now classifies randomized loot boxes as gambling, any games containing them must follow gambling restrictions. One of those restrictions would force EA and others to make their loot boxes totally inaccessible to minors, which is why they’ve been disabled altogether by the other companies. EA apparently thinks this is a battle they can win, so they’re standing firm.

Source: Metro (via Eurogamer)

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For Honor and Forza Horizon 2 Headline August’s Xbox Games With Gold

Xbox Games With Gold is bringing in an all-star lineup for August. Four free games will be available for those with an Xbox Live Gold subscription—two for Xbox One and two for Xbox 360.

For Xbox One owners, Forza Horizon 2 will be available starting August 1st and will stay up until the 31st. Forza Horizon 2 is an open-world racing game released in 2014 to highly positive reviews. The next game in the series, Forza Horizon 4, will be released this coming October, so this may be a good opportunity to jump into the Forza Horizon series before the next title’s release.

From August 16th to September 15th, Ubisoft’s For Honor will also be available. For Honor is a historical, team-based fighting game. While it received middling reviews at launch, Ubisoft has kept supporting it since its launch last year and fixed many of its original flaws.

For Xbox 360, Dead Space 3 will be available from the 1st to the 15th, and Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two will tag in on the 16th and will be available for the remainder of the month. Both games will be playable on the Xbox One as well thanks to backward compatibility.

Currently, Microsoft is having a sale on Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. While normally a twelve-month subscription costs $59.99, it’s now on sale for $39.99. The three-month subscription has also been knocked down to $9.99, the same price as a one-month subscription. The sale ends in a few days, so benefit from it while you still can!

Source: Polygon

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Gearbox “Hiring” Copy Editor After Typo Found in Coding

Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines released in 2013 to infamously bad reviews. Despite a very promising demo at E3, the game ultimately released with low-quality graphics and terrible enemy AI. The game was such a let-down that a lawsuit was filed against Gearbox and SEGA for false advertisement. But just a few days ago, it was discovered that a number of the problems with the game’s wonky AI were caused by a single typo in the coding.

The typo, it turned out, was very simple. Enemy Xenomorphs are attached to “tethers” in the game, which means they should form strategies based around the level design and patrol like enemies do in other survival horror games. To make this happen, the coding should have looked like this:

ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTether

But sadly there was a slight misspelling, and it came out looking like this:

ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

Because of the extra ‘a’ in “teather,” the Xenomorphs blindly meander through areas, charge toward the player straight-on, and generally act as some of the least threatening enemies in survival horror. A mod was created a few years post-release to fix this bug, but the exact details of the “teather” mishap didn’t come to light until a recent Steam sale. Removing the rogue ‘a’ has drastically improved the enemy AI and significantly improves the overall quality of the game.

Thanks to the revelation, Gearbox has decided to open a new position at their company, one that is totally real and certainly not at all a joke. Gearbox is looking for go-getters who enjoy finding simple typos for the new Programming Copy Editor position. On Twitter, Gearbox said that people should apply if they are “[f]eeling teathered to [their] current job.” Applicants don’t even have to submit a resume! All they need to do is correctly answer a single, very hard question: is it “tether” or “teather?”

Source: VG247

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Todd Howard Says to Stop Buying Skyrim if You Want Bethesda to Stop Releasing It

Have you ever thought that there are just too many darn ports of Skyrim? I know I have, and I bet Bethesda has too. Heck, they made a whole trailer making fun of how many times they’ve released the game. But they immediately went on to make that joke trailer a reality. So are we finally done seeing Skyrim ports every year? Is Bethesda finally going to stop cashing in on their most popular title? It’s hard to say for sure. But if you want the company to stop, you may not want to buy any more copies.

According to the lovely Todd Howard, Skyrim was released on so many different systems because of its sales and popularity. This is fairly obvious, which is why some people are so annoyed that it keeps happening. Many gamers accuse Bethesda of taking the easy way out by cashing in on their most profitable property. As it turns out, that’s exactly what the company is doing. If you want the publisher to stop releasing Skyrim, Todd Howard says you should stop buying it:

“Even now, the amount of people who play Skyrim seven years later — millions of people every month are playing that game. That’s why we keep releasing it. If you want us to stop releasing it, stop buying it.” — Todd Howard

The man certainly doesn’t beat around the bush, and I think we can all appreciate that level of transparency. Honestly, this is why most games are ported to modern systems. They were popular when they released, so companies release them again to make some quick money. This is often thought of as a cheap sales strategy, but it can actually be a really good thing.

Most people don’t consider where their money is going when they buy ports of older games. They don’t cost that much to create and release compared to a new game, so developers usually make a decent profit from them. This money then goes back to the team so they can work on their next project. In Bethesda’s case, the sales gained from the many releases of Skyrim are probably funding The Elder Scrolls VI, which is what everybody has been clamoring for in the first place.

Ports also help new fans gain an appreciation for the franchise, which will inevitably increase sales for the next title in the series. This will also help fans make new friends and have conversations about a game they were unable to play before. The expansion of the gaming community is never a bad thing.

So in the future, if you have an urge to complain about a game being ported, think about why it’s being released again. Usually there is a massive audience for these types of releases. Otherwise, most developers wouldn’t waste their time and energy on them.

Todd Howard talked about many other things with Geoff Keighley at Gamelab 2018. They discuss a wide range of topics, such as E3, Howard’s legacy, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, the release of retro games on modern systems, and much more. You can read the full interview over on VentureBeat.

What do you guys think of the countless ports in today’s gaming culture? Do you think they have more of a positive impact on the community? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: VentureBeat

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Here’s Everything We Learned from Ubisoft’s E3 2018 Press Conference

Ubisoft’s E3 2018 press conference has come to an end. Alongside new looks at
Beyond Good & Evil 2 and The Division 2, we also got to learn a ton of new information about The Division 2 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey! Plus, this day and this E3 have just begun, so we’ve got plenty more time to see additional Ubisoft news come out of other conferences and the week’s streams. But in case you missed anything and want to stay up-to-date before E3 continues onward, we’ve gathered all the latest Ubisoft news right here.

Here’s the full list of new reveals and announcements:

We’re still only halfway through the day’s events, with the PC Gaming Show currently running and Sony finishing off the day later tonight (at 6:00 PM PT / 9:00 PM ET). Stay tuned to all the latest news from those events as well!

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Ubisoft Announces Just Dance 2019, and It’s Coming to Several Old Consoles

Ubisoft certainly started their E3 conference in an…interesting manner. Things kicked off with a person in a panda suit dancing around in the streets, soon after joined by multiple dance partners (one of whom was even an alien) to unveil the next Just Dance, Just Dance 2019. While they provided no additional details in the conference itself, a tweet from the official Just Dance Twitter account has revealed a number of platforms for the new game—including some rather old ones.

According to the Tweet, Just Dance 2019 won’t just be showing up on the current platforms. In addition to versions on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the game will also be coming out for the Xbox 360, Wii U, and even the Wii!

Will you be checking out this title? Which console would you get it for? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Ubisoft E3 2018 Press Conference

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Grand Theft Auto V Has Sold 95 Million Copies

Calling Grand Theft Auto V a success would be one of the biggest understatements possible in the video game industry. Rockstar’s latest iteration on the popular open world franchise has been on the market for nearly five years, and it’s still consistently among the top sellers each month in many countries, and especially in the United States.

As it continues to sell by the millions years after launch, Grand Theft Auto V is coming up on a major milestone at lightning speed. According to publisher Take-Two Interactive’s latest earnings report, Grand Theft Auto V has now sold an incredible 95 million copies worldwide. Comparing that figure to the number cited in the previous earnings call shows that it’s sold another 5 million copies just in the last three months alone.

If Grand Theft Auto V can continue this blistering pace, it’ll eclipse the 100 million mark this Summer. It’s currently listed as the third highest-selling video game of all time, trailing only Minecraft and Tetris.

Source: PC Gamer

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Even If It’s Not the Best, What Game is Most Important in Your Life?

Everybody has one special game in their life that they consider the pinnacle of perfection. It’s the one thing you can always go back to that stands out above the rest. You never grow tired of it, and it always puts a smile on your face. You’re often willing to look past all of its flaws because it had such a powerful impact on you as a person.

For me, that one game is Kingdom Hearts II. It’s been about twelve years since the game released in the US, and I still play through it at least once every year. I’m not entirely sure what keeps bringing me back to this title in particular. It has lovable characters, a great story, super satisfying combat, and some of the most exciting challenges a game has ever offered. But this is true with a lot of games I play. There’s not a whole lot separating other Kingdom Hearts titles from that same description, and yet Kingdom Hearts II still resonates with me above any other game I’ve played. Even I know that there are plenty of games better than Kingdom Hearts II in a lot of ways, but for some reason they don’t quite captivate me in the same way.

So which game is it for you? Which title do you always find yourself coming back to, despite its flaws? Even though you’re aware it’s not the best game in the world, what game are you willing to throw out their as the most important in your life?

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What Is Your Favorite Music to Jam Out to When Playing Video Games?

I know what some of you are thinking. “Why would you ever listen to music when you can enjoy the lovely soundtracks video games have to offer?” That’s a fair point, and I used to agree with that. But there’s a certain point when I can’t stand the constant “wahoo!” of Mario Kart or the boring ambient sounds of League of Legends. I need something fresh. I need something that gets me pumped.

That’s why I have several different playlists dedicated to playing video games. If I’m feeling pretty confident about mowing down Stormtroopers in Battlefront, I’ll put on some mid 2000s emo rock. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy, but try to play any shooter with some classic Thirty Seconds to Mars to back you up. That creates some real hype.

If Mario Kart is feeling too slow for you, crank up the tension with a drum and bass playlist. This adds a whole new layer of excitement to the racing experience, and I guarantee you will get way too into it. My personal favorites include Fox Stevenson’s Better Now and Feint’s We Won’t Be Alone.

What about all of you? What are your main jams when playing video games? Or do you just enjoy the sounds of the game? Let us know your preferences in the comments below!

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Shovel Knight is On Sale to Celebrate 2 Million Copies Sold

Yacht Club Games passed a rather large milestone for any indie developer recently, surpassing 2 million total sales with their hit game Shovel Knight. The developers have provided data that shows which platform the game sold the most on and what region it was most popular in.

Surprisingly, the PC and 3DS versions make up almost half of Shovel Knight‘s total sales. The Switch edition also clocks in at 17.6% of the 2 million, even though it released well after the original launch. The Switch is also the biggest source of revenue for Shovel Knight, since it outpaced the sales of other consoles so drastically in the short amount of time it’s been out. With the release of Nintendo Switch and Specter of Torment, Yacht Club Games was able to double their revenue in 2017 compared to 2016.

So what do all of these sale numbers mean for the gamers? It means we get to celebrate by playing the game! If you somehow haven’t managed to pick up Shovel Knight yet, the game is now on sale on all major platforms. You can purchase Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove at 20% off for $19.99. This edition of the game comes with Specter of Torment, Plague of Shadows, and the King Knight campaign and battle mode when they release later on.

Grab your shovels and get to digging! Will you be picking up Shovel Knight now that it’s on sale, or are you patiently waiting for the new content that’s coming to the game later? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below!

Source: Yacht Club Games

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Six Xbox 360 Fan Favorites Just Got Xbox One X Enhanced

Today’s Inside Xbox livestream was a good day for Microsoft mavericks, and all the more so for Xbox One X owners, as a slate of classic Xbox 360 titles are getting the X-Enhanced treatment. This tangible performance upgrade to older software comes with improvements such as heightened framerate stability and higher definition resolution, effectively making last-gen games look like new.

Among the legacy library’s lineup receiving the X upgrade comes a newly retrofitted game joining the Xbox One Backward Compatibility lineup, as Microsoft has announced during their presentation that 2011’s
Sonic Generations will debut on Xbox One tonight. The 20th anniversary celebration of SEGA’s mascot saw Sonic the Hedgehog team up with his classic self to save their friends and restore a shattered timeline from the mysterious Time Eater.

Joining
Sonic Generations for Xbox One X enhancements are the following Xbox 360 games:

  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Gears of War 2
  • Portal 2
  • Darksiders
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

So, good news to those of you who either held on to your old game discs, or who had owned them digitally! If not, will you be picking any of these older games up for yourself and see how they shine like new on your Xbox One X? Sound off in the comments below.

Source: Inside Xbox

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GTA V is More Profitable Than Any Game or Movie in History

Saying Grand Theft Auto V is a big hit would be the understatement of the century. The latest entry in Rockstar’s flagship series has sold an incredible 90 million copies worldwide since its launch 2013. It’s still a hot title to this day, pulling in another 15 million sales in 2017 alone. Add in Grand Theft Auto Online and its in-game purchases, and you’re looking at the most lucrative singular media property of all time.

According to estimates from Market Watch,
Grand Theft Auto V has generated around $6 billion in total revenue. By comparison, successful blockbuster films like Star Wars and Gone With the Wind each earned in the neighborhood of $3 billion to $4 billion when inflation and DVD/streaming sales are factored in. That $6 billion total will only continue to grow as more copies are sold and as more money is invested in Grand Theft Auto Online. Believe it or not, Grand Theft Auto V was the sixth best-selling game of 2017, years after launch.

Source: Market Watch

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Dark Souls Remastered Blows the Original Away in Comparison Footage

FromSoftware’s Dark Souls was one of the biggest games of the last generation, and soon it will see new life on modern platforms. Dark Souls Remastered drops on May 25th, but is it an upgrade worth your money? Digital Foundry went hands-on with the remaster on PlayStation 4 Pro, and they’ve provided an excellent graphical and performance comparison between that version and the original on Xbox 360.

The new version of the game is crisp and smooth, running at a resolution of 3200×1800 at 60 frames per second. Textures are a bit of a mixed bag, with FromSoftware sometimes choosing to upgrade them and sometimes leaving them as is. Even similar textures appear improved though, as lighting has been overhauled to better display the game’s assets. You can check out the full breakdown by clicking the video above.

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Lindsay Lohan’s GTA V Lawsuit Gets Shot Down Again

Way back in 2013, Lindsay Lohan announced her intention to sue Rockstar Games and publisher Take-Two Interactive over what she believed to be an unlicensed use of her likeness. The suit was officially filed in 2014 and eventually made its way to New York’s Supreme Court where it was allowed to move forward but was later tossed out.

It’s been a year and a half since then and over four years ago since the suit began, but Lohan hasn’t stopped fighting all this time. Her latest appeal was to the New York state Court of Appeals, but things once again failed to pan out for her. A panel of six judges unanimously rejected her claims to a privacy breach.

For those unfamiliar with the details of the case, Lohan believes the character of Lacey Jonas in Grand Theft Auto V was based on her and used without her permission. Judges, thus far, have disagreed with this claim and hold that Jonas merely resembles the “persona of a modern, beach-going young woman… that is not recognisable as plaintiff.” Lohan’s team argues that she is well-known for using the peace sign hand gesture that Jonas uses in the game, and that Jonas’ dual job as an actress and singer is meant to parody Lohan.

In the eyes of the courts of New York, there is no evidence that Jonas was directly based on Lohan; Jonas could be anyone. Given that Lohan recently accepted a job as a spokesperson at Lawyer.com, I would imagine she intends to continue pushing the case for as long as the courts will allow.

Source: NYcourts.gov (via BBC)

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April’s Games With Gold Lineup is One of the Best Ever

It’s the end of March, which can only mean one thing for Xbox gamers—the reveal of next month’s Games With Gold lineup! This time around, Microsoft is swinging for the fences as the release schedule is one of the best ones I can remember. As usual, the lineup includes two Xbox One titles and two Xbox 360 titles for free, though you need an active Xbox Live Gold membership to claim them.

For the entire month of April, first-person puzzler The Witness is being made available to download. Featuring more than 500 puzzles, The Witness challenges your observation and reasoning skills as you constantly try to figure out new puzzle mechanics while combining them with those you already know. It’s a fantastic experience if you enjoy puzzles.

When you aren’t honing your mental abilities, training your stealth skills is a solid alternative. From April 16th-May 15th, you can dive into London’s Industrial Revolution in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Syndicate follows the tale of sibling assassins Jacob and Evie Frye as they wrestle back control of the city from the Templars.

As for the Xbox 360 games, the first half of April focuses on lightning… Lightning McQueen, that is. Disney Interactive’s Cars 2 will test drivers’ ability to use high-tech gadgetry as they race to become international spies.

Microsoft is closing out April with a spook or two (or likely, way more) with Dead Space 2. Starting April 16th, join Isaac Clarke in exploring the mysterious space station known as The Spawl as he attempts to regain his memories of the events of Dead Space. It’s no walk in the park, however, as government operatives and the ever-frightening Necromorphs attempt to stop you from leaving.

Being Xbox One titles, The Witness and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will require an active Gold membership to retain access, though Cars 2 and Dead Space 2 are yours to keep once you claim them. Additionally, Cars 2 and Dead Space 2 are backwards compatible, allowing you to play them on an Xbox One as well.

What do you think of April’s Games With Gold lineup?

Source: Major Nelson

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Microsoft Says Xbox Live’s Language Policy Isn’t Changing After All

Yesterday Microsoft announced changes to their Terms of Service, set to go into effect on May 1st. Most were minor, but a significant revision to the agreement’s Code of Conduct warned of suspensions, bans, and even the loss of funds in your account as a penalty for using “offensive language.” Naturally, this has not sat well with many Xbox users, so Microsoft has stepped forward to clarify the situation.

In response to inquiries on Twitter, Mike Ybarra (Corporate Vice President of Xbox Program Management at Microsoft) indicated that there will be no policy changes on Xbox Live. It’s still unclear exactly how Microsoft will go about enforcing this new policy on services like Skype, but it appears that the Xbox brand is safe from any major shake-ups for now.

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Microsoft Will Soon Begin Banning Xbox Accounts for Offensive Language

Update: Microsoft now says Xbox Live will not be impacted by these changes to their Terms of Service. 

Original: Microsoft is currently preparing to revamp their Terms of Service across most of their services, including Xbox, Skype, and even shared Word documents. The update will go live on May 1st, and the new Service Agreement contains a handful of changes, including one major change to the Code of Conduct that could impact many gamers.

In just over a month, Microsoft will begin taking action against accounts that use “offensive language.” Penalties can include being suspended, being banned, forfeiting your content licenses, and even losing the balance in your account. You can find the complete list of Service Agreement changes here, and the fifth section reads as follows:

“In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited. We’ve also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.”

It’s not clear exactly what counts as “offensive language” to Microsoft or how they’ll go about determining which actions are deserving of which penalties. This is further complicated by section iv of the Code of Conduct, which prohibits “nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity,” as some of those things exist within Microsoft’s own first-party games as well as many third-party titles. We’ll be on the lookout for clarification from Microsoft on this issue going forward. In the meantime, watch your language!

Source: Microsoft Services Agreement

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