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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Ben Lamoreux


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