Is there official guidance or comment available for custom Xbox chat? Am I the only one confused?

I’m not sure this issue remains settled. Maybe there have been subtle changes in 2021? Please respond with sources and double check your assumptions before you reply. It’s already confusing. Repeating rumors and guesses or outdated policies won’t help clear it up.

My situation:
I’m working on a world building environment that I expect to appeal to RP players, and I’m want to include tablet and console players in the experience.
Inability to communicate in this environment will take a lot away from the experience. I had planned to offer xbox players great gamepad integration, but adapt and limit some activities because the social barrier imposed by chat exclusion.

Then:
I saw some popular games still use custom chat on xbox - much larger ones that I had expected. What’s going on?

For me, allowing a subset of xbox players to access some subset of the social aspect of the game is a better solution for the experience than forcing console players into a second-class level of interaction.

I don’t mind doing any of these:

  • Implementing custom chat
  • adding additional filtering for xbox players
  • checking player age or chat policies set for players ( CanUserChatAsync, etc)
  • limiting some players to pre-determined quick chat
  • allowing chat to be opt-in at the game settings screen

I haven’t found official guidance on specific approaches to limit the risk of having action taken against your game outside of:

Official Roblox Xbox guidelines state:
(developer.roblox.com/en-us/articles/xbox-guidelines)

That checklist includes “No blood / gore” and “No in-game messaging (text chat)”, both of which I see in other popular cross-platform experiences, but with a checkbox to turn them on and off in settings.

If anyone is aware of specific rules that need to be adhered to in order to reduce the risk of a cross platform experience being reported or moderated, please share.
If this is some kind of “easier to ask forgiveness than permission” thing… I guess it is what it is.

Other places I’ve looked for answers/clarification:
Can you enable chat for XBOX (Feb 2021) points out Content Agreement
Quick Chat for Xbox Help (Feb 2021) “I don’t think it’s against the rules”
A “Safe Chat” for XBox? (Feb 2021) “it should be fine”, “IIRC you can”, “should be a built-in feature”
Chat:FilterStringForBroadcast always returns empty string for users on Xbox (Dec 2020-Jan 2021) “This may change in the future” - phri
Clarification on Xbox Rules (Jul 2020) “very unlikely they’ll see this thread and respond.” ?!?!?!
Xbox chat support (Apr 2019) “depends”
Xbox players can no longer chat, resulting in major loss of playercount (Oct-Dec 2019) 2019 nsgriff gives a firm “no”
Is XBOX Chat with PC banned? (Apr 2018) “some other games have custom chat”

It’s a lot to sort through and it’s really confusing, tbh.
The recent “Quick Chat for Xbox Help” topic sums up the confusion well:

Exactly what is allowed, or how people understood it, changes
Xbox chat support (Apr 2019) basically ends on:

Then in the 2019 bug report thread, former roblox studio product manager nsgriff lays the smackdown on custom chat:

Opinions varied further in 2020 and 2021.

The recent Can you enable chat for XBOX points out the familiar content agreement states NONE regarding text chat.

I don’t know how you can argue with this. Can a developer disagree and still publish from studio? Are some publishers just taking their chances and playing dumb?

Maybe I missed something? Did Roblox quietly enable FilterStringForBroadcast and CanUserChatAsync after finally integrating them with Microsoft Live parental controls?

If you don’t understand why I bothered to read all of that, it’s because I want chat on xbox, it seems like the API sets should support it, other developers are using it, and it couldn’t be less clear.
To go back to the official “policy”:
“The launch guidelines below should be used as a checklist to ensure your game has a smooth release on the Xbox platform. They should be followed to minimize the risk of your game being removed from Xbox.”

Guidelines are not regulations or requirements. Should is a recommendation. Ensure comes off as soft. A smooth release is a nice-to-have. Minimizing risk is good.
It sounds like good advice for most publishers.

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Ok. It’s been 5 days since I asked the question.
I’m honestly confused by the lack of response. I thought the topic would be more controversial.

Did I do something wrong? Should I have posted in a different forum category maybe?
I thought maybe something has been happening behind the scenes that Roblox staff might not be ready to comment on yet. Was not expecting crickets tho…

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I would like to know more about this too. Hopefully someone will comment to clear this up (preferably a staff member or someone providing a reliable source so we 100% know for sure, rather than just run off assumptions).

There are clearly discrepancies between the Xbox game criteria guidelines and the games currently available on the platform.

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