Yep, that’s the security team name. Unicorn Ninja. This tight-knit team is dedicated to sifting through content for offensive material to ensure Xbox LIVE remains safe, fun and non-offensive for everyone.
Keeping hackers, cheaters, phishers, account thieves, game code modifiers and communication abuser in line, as well as providing assistance to police when actual crimes are committed on the network. Not a widely known team, “Unicorn Ninja” sets about their tasks dealing with the unsavoury individuals lurking on Xbox LIVE.
“If you’re playing a game on Xbox LIVE, and somebody snipes you from across the map and you drop the F-bomb, we’re not going to ban you – not for the occasional slip. We focus on the really bad stuff,” says Boris Erickson, Xbox LIVE Enforcement Unicorn Ninja. Yes, that is his actual job title.
Adds Erickson: “We are not here to be the arbiters of all speech. But there are certainly some kinds of communication on Xbox LIVE that crosses a line – racism, homophobia, sexism, offensive comments about nationalities, and more.”
Working tirelessly day in and day out, Erickson and co. go through the piles of daily complaints on offensive behavior, speech, and materials. These are the guys responsible for dishing out the banning in extreme situations.
“Or, as we like to say, inviting them to not be our customer,” Erickson says. “These are paid subscriptions we’re taking away, so we want to make sure we’re doing exactly the right thing.”
All Xbox LIVE users agree to a code of conduct when subscribing to the entertainment service. But, as Xbox LIVE tops 35 million users – and, as it incorporates an ever-widening range of entertainment, gaming, and communication features – it’s a given that there will be opportunists and rule-breakers, Erickson says.
Team Director Stephen Toulouse (widely know by his alias Stepto) has said complaints have remained relatively tiny in relation to the ‘explosive growth’ Xbox LIVE has seen in the last few years.
“Looking at the stats, the cross-section of bad apples we deal with every day is small – typically less than one percent of the overall population,” Toulouse says. “The user complaint volume has tended to stay relatively flat compared to the line of new users. What that says to me is that our efforts are having an impact, and also that we’re broadening our audience. We’re bringing in different people that want to experience different things on Xbox LIVE, not just gaming, and at the end of the day that’s going to improve everything.”
So remember, next time you’re on XBOX Live, a Unicorn Ninja could be dishing out some ‘enforcement’ if you step out of line. So be good and play nice.
* Ninja Cavey and Unicorn Cavey image sourced from http://plasticandplush.com