Microsoft to ban virtual guns on Xbox Live

The right to bear arms does not extend into the world of virtual game console avatars.

Even though the Xbox 360 is the place to go for bloody shoot-em-ups and FPS games that push the M-rated boundaries, Microsoft is apparently against the idea of cartoony guns for your Xbox Live avatar.

The software giant hasn’t officially announced this seemingly hypocritical decision yet, but third-party publisher Epic Games has.

The publisher’s community manager, who goes by the name Raczilla, wrote in an official blog post that all gun items will be removed from Xbox Live’s Avatar Marketplace in January.

The post was written to inform users that Epic’s Lancer and Hammerburst items will be removed as of the new year. “A new policy goes into effect for all gun-like avatar items on the Marketplace, so get them while they’re hot,” Raczilla wrote.

There are already some draconian restrictions on what player avatars are allowed to do. They can’t smoke or inflict any kind of violence, although of course that kind of content is commonplace in most of the Xbox 360’s hottest selling games.

The policies for Xbox Live are so strict because avatars, usernames, etc, are universal. They need to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Someone playing Call of Duty would expect to see guns and blood, but someone playing an innocent game like Kinect Sports would not.

So if you want to give your Xbox Live avatar a weapon so you can terrorize your friends, you better head to the marketplace and buy it stat.