Posted by Raine Hutchens on Oct 31, 2012

Xbox Live Sexism Gets Shot At By Halo 4 Developers

If you’ve ever played a game online via Xbox live then you’re no stranger to the kind of language that permeates through the wires. There are tons of players who verbally abuse others while playing matches, and it’s something that happens too often nowadays. I’ll be the first to admit that I get frustrated when playing online sometimes, but I always play with my microphone on silent unless we’re playing a game with team-based objectives and I need to actively communicate. I say a lot of things through my frustration, but never to other players.

A lot of this trash talk surfaces when playing games in the Halo series. There are always people who trash each other through matches, and when it comes to girls playing it gets even worse. Sexism through online gaming is a big issue, and it’s something that’s not taken lightly, as it shouldn’t be. Two team members of the Halo 4 development staff have come out to publicly scold this type of communication before their huge title release next week. These two are Bonnie Ross, the head of 343 Industries, and Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill.

Wolfkill spoke with GameSpot Australia saying, “It can be dangerous to give adolescents a broadcast mechanism. There are always going to be jerks out there, and if you give them a way to express that side of their personality without being seen, you’re going to see this type of behavior manifest itself.”

For this reason alone a website has been put together called Fat, Ugly, or Slutty. This site chronicles the type of foul communication that female gamers (and gamers in general) get exposed to when playing on Xbox Live. It’s a doorway to expose and point out this type of behavior to show that it does exist and it is a problem. The messages posted here are vulgar, and extremely offensive.

Bonnie Ross came right in behind Wolfill, berating this sort of behavior as “offensive and completely unacceptable.” She continued to say, “I’d like to think most of our Xbox Live players don’t support this kind of behavior. With Halo 4 we were very deliberate in thinking about who should be female and who should be male in the game, and if we came off stereotypical, we went back to question what we were doing and why.”

Ross states that her taking over as the head of 343 changed some gaming stereotypes, she feels, for the  better. “When Microsoft created 343 Industries to take over Halo, I was given first choice to run the studio because I had proven myself. My gender played no part in it,” she added.

There’s really two sides to this coin that are very black and white. Male gamers can make fun of and berate female gamers when playing, while at the same time they constantly look for that female gamer to be their companion. It’s more of a double standards sort of thing, but either way it isn’t right. Hopefully the community has had time to grow a bit since the last Halo game, and this time around let’s hope for a better playing field. You can’t always be certain, though.


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