Xbox: More research is needed into effects of games, but we also need to take responsibility

Xbox: More research is needed into effects of games, but we also need to take responsibility

Microsoft's Xbox arm has said that while more research is needed into the impact of video games with regards to addiction, loot boxes and gambling, the firm says that it also needs to take responsibility for how they are played.

That's according to head of operations Dave McCarthy, who told that it is happy to be involved into studies into the effect of video games, it is also investing to make sure experiences are enjoyed in a healthy way. The top bod points to measures to regulate screen time and so on and other parental controls as being examples of this.

"Things are a bit spotty and the story isn't complete and we need to learn more," McCarthy said.

"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 responsibility to lead in this area."

He continued, pressed about how adult gamers can be protected as well as kids: "We have to be clear in our stance that we do believe a balanced approach to a gaming lifestyle is key. We need to state that's a value of ours. It is reflected right now in the parental settings and the family controls. We're exploring the idea over whether we would apply those more broadly across our ecosystem.

"I go back to user choice. When we do that on Xbox, and this is something Phil has been really effective at in his role, is centring us on the gamer, and how choice is key for all that on Xbox. Choice around screen time, choice around the content that I want to play, choice around the services I want to have... And I think that is going to remain our philosophy, versus telling people they need to go in this direction. It's more about giving people the tools to enable them."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.