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05/15/2008

Gayer player gets X'ed by Box

by Jeremy Hooper

Is "TheGAYERgamer" an offensive user name? Well it's not to us, of course. But according to the Xbox Live service, the moniker is unacceptable because of its sexual nature.

A gaymer who tried to use the ID as his handle for the Xbox 360 online service says he was told by a Microsoft employee that he'd have to change the name, as the greater Xbox community finds it to be offensive. Click the image for the full story on Consumerist.com:

Xbox494

Now, we totally understand that the company has to have certain standards, and see how allowing gay names opens the door for others to try and sneak in anti-gay ones. But still, the fact that a community filled with games wherein folks shoot each other for sport is putting the kibosh on names this benign -- well, it seems a little short-sighted.

Our suggestion for the gaymer: Just create a handle that says how much you want to "lick Wii." We're sure they'll gladly approve of that competition-targeting double entendre.

"Gay" Player Name Banned By Xbox Live [Consumerist]

**UPDATE: Xbox Live team member Stephen Toulouse has posted an explanation on his blog. Considering it's factual, it would seem that Microsoft's standards are just really constrictive:

We recieved [sic] a complaint on the Gamertag and determined that it did indeed contain sexual innuendo. Now granted, there could be an argument that the text is not pejorative to homosexuality and should therefore be allowed. But there is no context to explain that. Gamertags are visible to everyone and it would be hard for me to defend to a parent of a young child who saw it that the name did not contain content of a sexual nature.

We view these situations objectively during our review under the terms of use. To answer the question another way, yes "TheStraighterGamer" or "TheHeterosexualgamer" would have gotten the same treatment and would have been found to be in violation and forced to be changed. We've actually done that to tags like that before.

So if it's true that their ban is this sweeping, it would seem that Microsoft might need to drop the kid gloves a little bit. Because again, there are many who would love to put rigid restraints on other aspects of their service. It seems a tad myopic to (rightfully) defend the violence and whatnot by saying that parents and adults can make their own choices, yet so rigidly define what is and is not acceptable in terms of how the users identify themselves.

Xbox Live policies and Gamertags [StepTo]

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Your thoughts

I don't play X-Box (don't even own one), but thanks to the power of Google, I found out how the average X-Box Live "community" treats gay folks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6alOnuN-wCY

I'm sure the people objecting to the guy's handles were the same ones making all the comments on the video. Microsoft is just trying to keep the 'phobe business and has made the calculation that 'phobes spend more than gay folk.

Posted by: Brian Miller | May 15, 2008 11:40:39 AM

Gods, this is one of the reasons I prefer single player games. The online jerks are wore than children.

Posted by: Zack | May 17, 2008 2:49:00 AM

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