Xboss Phil Spencer Discusses Toxicity In Gaming Community With Heartfelt Statement
When Phil Spencer discusses toxicity and the impact it is having on today’s gaming community, it might be best to pay attention. That’s exactly what the Xboss did when he got on stage at this year’s DICE Summit in Las Vegas. With a plea for game companies to be more inclusive, Spencer addressed an issue that has been plaguing the gaming world for some time.
Whether it be through common trolling, or downright hate-mongering, it’s rather difficult to deny that toxicity levels have risen in the gaming community over recent years. Anonymity certainly plays a role in this, with people being able to prey on others from the comfort of their own homes and from behind keyboards and monitors. The Xboss looks to hopefully tackle this by creating a more inclusive community overall, beginning with the company that he works for. “In order for us to do our best work, we need our work environment to work well. If that is broken, everything stumbles,” he said.
Spencer then went on to discuss his experiences when he was tasked with leading the Xbox team back in 2014, saying:
The team was in a world of pain. We hadn’t done our best work with the launch of Xbox One. Market share was taking a nosedive. It was painful to read all the headlines. The team thought the leadership team had gone tone-deaf about what our customers expected from us.
We needed a reboot. Morale was at a low. We kept missing big trends. Infighting and fiefdoms were so famous, people made fun of it. It would have been funny if it hasn’t been so true. So we hit refresh on everything, a comprehensive rethinking and rebuilding of our culture.
It is incredibly slow and painful to get everyone on board and to admit your own biases. It’s about making a commitment to keep listening and learning. We must keep at this transformation because we know it enables our best work. That means all genders, all abilities and all ethnicities in all geographies. This is our quest.”
It is on that stage, where Spencer discusses toxicity, that he also notes the mistakes made by he and his team. Some may remember a certain GDC party in 2016, where scantly clad women were paid to dance. This had put a stain on any work Microsoft had done up until that point, and Phil recognized this, stating:
The backlash was justifiable and furious. The internal backlash was almost harder. The easy thing would have been for us to sidestep responsibility. Instead we bet on who we were and what we stood for. We don’t stand for any employee or partner who offends others. We communicated that we stand for inclusivity. I personally committed to do better. It’s the leader’s job to take personal accountability and to be clear about our culture, who we are and what we stand for.
When we make mistakes, the easy way is to retreat or maybe even deny there’s a problem. Instead I think we have to be active learners, educate ourselves, read, understand other people’s views. If we are informed, we can lead with purpose. We must listen first instead of jumping in with the supposed answers. We need to ask the quietest person in the room what they are thinking.”
Of course, this is only one company. With a plethora of other studios thrown into the mix, it’s understandable that some things will get lost along the way. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from wanting to better themselves and ensure their communities follow suit. The Xboss called upon companies to evaluate their practices and be sure that they are doing everything they can to create an inclusive environment for all. Here’s what he said:
Toxic behavior doesn’t just hurt the individual, it hurts our entire industry. We have to ask ourselves, ‘Am I building worlds where all of us can thrive and achieve more?’ Culture can be the tool that enables us to realize the true potential and power of gaming. The time to get our culture right is right now. It’s our increasing responsibility to make gaming for everyone. Representation isn’t just good common sense; it’s good business sense.”
What say you, gamers? Do you believe we should all take note when Phil Spencer discusses toxicity in the gaming community? Have you noticed the rise of toxic levels in recent years? What do you think can be done to combat this? Sound off in the comments section below, and be sure to follow DFTG on Twitter for live gaming and entertainment news 24/7! For other gaming goodness going on right now, check out the following:
Eric Garrett2269 Posts
Eric is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he is not staring at a computer screen filled with text, he is usually staring at a computer screen filled with controllable animations. Today's youth call this gaming. He also likes to shoot things. With a camera, of course.