Phil Spencer doesn’t want to “punish” game companies for behavior, proposes cross-platform bans against toxicity

The Xbox head also touched on subjects like the metaverse and GamerGate.

Image via Xbox Game Studios

Phil Spencer is no stranger to making big statements to the media, whether about the scammy potential of NFT games or the importance of game preservation. But a recent interview with The New York Times’ Kara Swisher gave Spencer an opportunity to talk about all sorts, including the potential of the metaverse and Microsoft’s relationship with companies like Activision Blizzard going forward.

That ongoing relationship with Activision Blizzard in particular was one of the more notable moments in the interview. Considering Spencer’s previous comments lambasting the company’s track record for harassment and discrimination, when pressed on the matter by Swisher he seemed a little more cagey. He reiterated that he was “saddened and sickened” at the treatment of Activision’s employees, but said only that Xbox “had changed how [it does] certain things with them, and they’re aware of that.” He went on to say that he would rather share how things had changed and improved at Xbox than engage in “finger-wagging” at other companies, adding: “I don’t think my job is out there to punish other companies.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Spencer related the ways that Xbox had tried to counter toxicity in its own communities and pondered on what the future could look like in that respect. One solution he was keen on — though he admitted it would be “a hard one as an industry” — was a cross-platform banning apparatus, rooting out toxic elements altogether rather than encouraging them to move from community to community.

Spencer had plenty more to say on various subjects in the interview, ranging from the metaverse to the lingering effects of GamerGate, and the effects of the pandemic on the gaming industry at large.