Lootboxes and gambling mechanics have been causing plenty of issues lately. Some big name publishers have been using these predatory gambling mechanics to boost recurrent spending. Players end up spending a significant amount of money. A recent survey showed how parents are concerned about in-game spendings. However, Microsoft plans to combat predatory practices with Xbox Anaconda. Microsoft’s latest Xbox will get extensive parental controls.
The future of Xbox revolves around what Microsoft is calling “a healthy gaming lifestyle.” Microsoft not only aims to counter predatory loot boxes but also gaming disorders. Hence, a new way for parents to govern their children’s gaming habits. Speaking in an interview, Microsoft’s Dave McCarthy discussed some of the upcoming parental control features and gaming disorders which he agrees needs more research to understand.
Things are a bit spotty and the story isn’t complete and we need to learn more. And we participate in that research and we drive some of our own. At the same time, we feel — at Xbox and Microsoft — that we have a huge responsibility when it comes to the healthy gaming lifestyle of the players on our service overall. We have an on-going commitment to constantly evolving that tool set around things, like screen time, content restrictions and spending controls… because some people need help. Parents especially, it’s not easy being a parent in this modern age.
I think it’s a balance of having the right research to guide decision making overall, but that does not excuse ourselves from having a responsibility to lead in this area.
Features such as restrict websites, set gaming time limits for each day, track their kids’ screen time, prevent spending in-game, and more are expected to be introduced with next-generation Xbox, codename Xbox Anaconda. They will be embedded into Xbox Live once Microsoft ready to role them out. How will companies like Bethesda, EA, and Activision react to Microsoft’s initiate to counter predatory practices remains to be seen. 2K actually fought back to protect loot boxes in Belgium.
In addition to being more responsible for gambling and gaming disorders, Microsoft will use its AI to track offensive imagery. Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology will be used to prevent offensive imagery on Xbox Live.
It’s the power of transparency and showing intent to people on what we actually value and what we want the community to be. It sounds like a painfully simple step to take, but it’s actually been really effective. Having our gamers understand what good looks like… because a lot of them don’t know any better. They’ve grown up without somebody laying it out for them.
Parental control options are just one step closer to a balanced, healthy gaming lifestyle, said Microsoft. The next-generation of Xbox is reportedly scheduled for an appearance at E3 2019. As we step into the next-generation of consoles with Xbox Anaconda and Lockhart, a new Xbox Live update is expected as well.
This is the first time we are seeing Microsoft share part of its plan for Xbox Live changes.