Microsoft to ban gun Avatar accessories on Xbox Live

By on December 27, 2011, 12:00 PM

Microsoft is set to ban the purchase of all gun-related Avatar accessories as part of a new Xbox Live policy effective January 1, 2012. Users that have purchased the "offending" items before Jan. 1 will be allowed to keep and use them, according to an official post on the Epic Games forums.

In the post, community manager raczilla noted that the Lancer and Hammerburst Avatar accessories related to the Gears of War series will no longer be available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace come the New Year. We are still awaiting a reply from Microsoft regarding the matter.

Microsoft debuted Avatars in November 2008 as a way to visually represent a gamer using a cartoon-like character. Users are able to fully customize their Avatar by adjusting attributes like height, weight, skin color and hair style. Players can earn new Avatar accessories by completing in-game achievements or purchase them with real-world money through the Avatar Marketplace which was launched in August 2009.

One could argue that first person shooters and games that include guns like Call of Duty, Halo, Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War were key to Microsoft’s console success, thus it seems a bit unusual that Redmond is suddenly turning all family-friendly. But as TG Daily points out, the deciding factor here is likely the fact that Avatars are universal, meaning that your Avatar shows up regardless of what game you are playing. Halo gamers might expect to see a gun-toting Avatar but someone playing Kinect Sports might not.

User Comments: 18

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yRaz yRaz said:

What ever will we do?!?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Really - this is all that Microsoft has time for?

Vollezar Vollezar said:

Whaaaa? How is it family friendly? Or unfriendly for that matter? They will ban the avatar but keep on selling "violent" games? Just retarded.

MrAnderson said:

Maybe they need to update the Avatar system to have accessory tags that can rate the extras as adult material and when playing in a safe environment, those extras can be filtered out. Maybe now, they don't have that functionality.

So will they remove all weapons... swords, ninja star, etc or is this a focus on firearms only?

The have a right to do it and at least they are letting people who previoulsy purchased the items keep them. I can understand where they are coming from, and I can also understand the frustration of gamers that might have wanted guns for the flare factor.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

another reason for me to avoid console systems.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Just get rid of avatars, or give us the option to not use them. I never enjoyed these Mii copies.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"You write 'Born to Kill' on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What's that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?!"

Guest said:

The whole thing is STUPID. I guess they will take away my avatar's lightsaber next?

MilwaukeeMike said:

haha, Gwailo, funny, Hopefully enough of these readers are old/cultered enough to get it.

Seriously though... it's their universe, they can ban/allow whatever they want. If enough people leave, then they'll reconsider. Like when Walmart removed the word 'Christmas' from all their Christmas stuff because people might be offended. Turns out, removing Christmas offended far more people, and they put it back the following year.

Vote with your dollars.... works every time.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

I don't really understand 'why' they are doing this.

Guest said:

>"Halo gamers might expect to see a gun-toting Avatar but someone playing Kinect Sports might not."

nonsensical justification. by that measure, one could argue that legend of zelda gamers might expect to see a fairy princess avatar, but someone playing MW3 certainly would not.

this is clearly some misplaced anti-gun silliness, otherwise they'd require avatars to match the theme of whatever game you happen to be playing, not just a simple ban on images of guns. stupid, stupid, stupid.

Guest said:

guns dont kill people, avatars do. wait a minute....

veLa veLa said:

I'll keep to STEAM, no reason to get an Xbox now.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Who needs a gun when you can buy a light saber and a batman suit..

Guest said:

Thats silly. Why don't they just ban the Gears of War series. It features a gun WITH a chainsaw attached to it! That's like double the offense!

Guest said:

Seriously, anyone that has a little common sense and this is what they should have done, if its such a big deal and they are scared of getting sued then put some parental protection options that will remove guns from avatar, or an option that will replace guns with... 2x4 sticks or something.

tengeta tengeta said:

don't worry guys, gun murder rates are sure to do down after they implement this.

Cellar said:

People are so sensitive about guns.

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