Follow-up: Why Microsoft is keeping virtual guns away from Xbox Live avatars

Looks like there’s no such thing as a Second Amendment in the world of virtual goods.

A new policy taking effect Jan. 1 will remove “gun-like” items from Microsoft’s Xbox Live Avatar Marketplace, the online store where gamers can buy items to dress up and accessorize their avatars, according to a forum post by a community manager for Epic Games, the company behind the blockbuster Gears of War franchise for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console.

Virtual weapons affected by the new policy include the Gears of War Lancer, the combination chainsaw/assault rifle being brandished by my Xbox Live avatar in the accompanying picture.

The policy applies to accessories for the avatars that represent Xbox Live users, not to games themselves. According to the Epic forum post, Xbox Live users will be able to keep any of the virtual items purchased before the policy goes into effect.

No reason was given for the change. In general, however, Microsoft is trying to expand the Xbox 360’s audience even as it continues to appeal to hard-core gamers, which can be a difficult balance to strike. Avatars represent users across the Xbox Live system, raising the possibility that a younger or more family-oriented user of the console might encounter an avatar holding a weapon from a Mature-rated game.

We’ve  reached out to Microsoft for confirmation of the news and further details, and we’ll update this post depending on what we hear back.

Via Kotaku.

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  • The_lone__aussie

    You have got to be kidding do those assholes have nothing better to do

  • Lee Hilliard

    Well then, perhaps the Red Cross shouldn’t worry about virtual ‘human rights’ violations eitherr, hmmm?

  • Michael

    A private company making a private decision. Or did you gun freaks forget the meaning of constitutional rights so quickly when they don’t role your way?  You’ll probably hate the fact that God doesn’t permit them in Heaven either, you twits.

    • Todd Bishop

      Hope it’s clear from the post that my Second Amendment reference was a joke. Didn’t expect folks to take the issue quite so seriously. ——————————

    • carl

      just another twit( Michael )with a brain full of shit.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, so does this mean there is virtual “PC” police now? Is my avatar going to get busted?

  • Washington Ceasefire

    thank you Microsoft..there are 30,000 gun deaths annually in America and one reason is young men do not understand that life is not a video game..where they are no consequences for your actions..Washington Ceasefire.

    • cawpin

      “there are 30,000 gun deaths annually in America”
      And how many of those are from legally acquired and legally possessed firearms? Yeah, I thought so. The tool of crime is not responsible for the crime.

      Do you want to ban cars too?

    • Libtards

      Nice Straw Man.  Using your same “logic”, we should be able to go back before the age of the Video game, and find far fewer gun deaths… right???  Oops….

      People were killing people since your giga-great grandfather spotted your giga-great grandmother to be with Mr. Flintstone.

      Yeah, that’s what I thought– and I suppose we can avoid Mall Riots by banning Air Jordans too?

    • Gu3st

      30,000 gun deaths. take away guns, now there are 30,000 knife deaths. i don’t see your point.

  • Cposer

    You got to be kidding me. The company that sells some of the most popular multi-player first person shooter games like the Halo series. What ultra-liberal nitwit thought that up? While they are at it why don’t they add a bit of computer code to prevent any killing on those games they sell? It never ceases to amaze me of the illogical decisions of the liberals.

    • Anonymous

      So, while there is currently no information AT ALL about who instituted this policy or why, YOU’VE already got your mind firmly made up about who dun it, why, and what a terrible idea it was, as well as further speculation about other things the made-up villains in your mind might be planning next.

      Sadly, I am rarely surprised by this sort of reality-optional approach to the news.

  • Robert Brant

    It says in the article the likely reason behind it is to appeal to more people. Microsoft wants the xbox to be more then just aboutthe games as is seen with the recent updates. They want Xbox Live to have mass appeal. To me the better question is what moron would waste money buying items for their xbox live avatar.

  • Jason Platt

    Who cares

  • Anonymous

    Ironic, considering that the majority of games on the platform revolve around killing your adversary with a various smattering of weaponry.

    • Guest

      Of those games, none use your avatar. Your avatar is used in E or E10-rated games only.

      • Leo

        Your avatar does not use the guns.

  • Guest

    I understand Microsoft’s justification in doing this. Avatars are typically considered to be “rated E for everyone,” so content which would be appropriate for teenagers and for matures is unwelcome there.

    Thank you to Microsoft for putting family ahead of guns.

  • Guest

    Why just guns?  How is a virtual Light Saber any less “scary” than a virtual Lancer?

  • Anonymous

    This is incredible. Oh well. You can always buy your virtual guns on

  • Ddenehie

    End of Microsoft games is near, no kid will go for this……

  • JasonW

    … from my cold, dead, virtual fingers.

  • Johnnysalami

    That’s because Bill Gates is a Faggot! Doctors kill more people than guns 100,000 a year due to medical mishaps.

  • Jwtexas

    Simply take your business elsewhere and see how fast they change their priorities.

  • Anonymous

    Can I still dress up as a Muslim player wearing a belly bomb?

  • fishnfool89

    Well if they do that, shoulnt they be banning shooter games on their console?… Oh wait…that’s different…

  • Gorfian Empire

    What kind of hypocritical doublespeak denial nuttery is this?  Okay, fine, no guns for Xbox Live avatars or their games.  Replace Gears of War with Rapala Fishing Frenzy 2009.  Go ahead.

  • Shafiul Alom
  • Jackie Debs

    This is PROOF that Microsoft is about money first. Originally they had halo, gears of war, call of duty, etc as the face of their console. It’s games catered to the more hardcore gamer and that’s just the way it was.

    Then the wii started to outsell it and make more money. BAM, suddenly EVERYTHING CHANGES. Microsoft starts their idiotic kinect project, and makes everyone get bubbly little avatars just like the Wii. The only thing that separated the little avatars is that you could at least dress them up and give them real items so they could look a -LITTLE- less childish than the wii’s so they were at least giving a nod to their hardcore gaming base, even while catering to their new casual child and soccer mom base.

    Now, because some parents rights group got butthurt about virtual weapons on avatars, they are going to spit on their hardcore gamers in favor of catering to the demographic that now takes precedent for them. This is nothing short of complete betrayal of the base that made the Xbox profitable in the first place.

    Keep catering to your soccer moms and children microsoft. It will serve you right to lose some of your base to PC and Playstation and then suffer when your precious new demographic reminds you that casual = fickle when they don’t eat up your gimmicky crap when the next generation of consoles comes out.

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