Exactly one year after I first reported on the company's response to anti-gay accusations about the Xbox Live online service, Microsoft has announced an official change of tune this morning. From the Xbox blog:
Our members [may now] more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles.
The story came to light when users accused Microsoft of banning users for casually mentioning their sexuality in their online profiles. Turns out, Microsoft could do just that thanks to Xbox rules meant to police the use of racist and homophobic slurs. Now, the mere use of "gay" on the service won't be auto-filtered by Microsoft, among other changes, though Xbox Live will still be on the lookout for misuses.
Kudos to Stephen Toulouse and the rest of the Xbox Live team for officially wielding some common sense, along with daring to walk the fine line of bully policing. They show true principle where other major tech companies do not.