Xbox have announced their LGBTQIA+ focused activities for Pride Month, including charitable donations, a new controller, and more.
As explained in Xbox’s “Celebrate Pride, Uplift LGBTQIA+ Communities and Creators with Team Xbox” statement, Microsoft’s gaming division are celebrating Pride Month.
“With more than half of video game players (52% ) agreeing that ‘my gaming identity is a better reflection of myself than my real-world identity,'” Xbox explain, “video games are an important outlet that gives players – especially those who are LGBTQIA+ – the chance to be who they want to be.”
To help their ongoing work in creating safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ people and overall equality Xbox boast they “will continue to champion a wide array of content and creators, so that games can better represent players from all communities and identities.”
As part of these efforts, Microsoft have donated $170,000 to multiple LGBQTIA+ non-profits. These are Mermaids (a UK trans charity), OutRight Action International (a US charity fighting for LGBQTIA+ internationally), and the National Center for Transgender Equality (a US charity advocating pro-transgender and non-binary policies).
In addition, Xbox will “feature an increased number of Pride-themed products and designs which can hopefully inspire conversations and rally community actions.” This includes a new Pride Xbox controller, decked out in 34 community flags and practically every color to represent as many people as possible.
While it will be available via the Xbox Design Lab (currently offline but promising to return soon), with other elements such as finishes, grips, and engravings being customizable.
Based on feedback from last year’s controller, Xbox will also make it available “universally,” and as noted by Social Media Manager Josh Stein, will be available through the whole year.
Other pride-themed merchandise will include a variety of shirts, bags, and other memorabilia from the Xbox Gear Shop. This also includes a shirt by Double Fine Production, Obsidian, the Forza series, and more. A Microsoft Casual Games t-shirt will also be available, along with a $25 Xbox Gear Shop Gift Card sweepstakes starting June 13th.
Speaking of video games, Dontnod Entertainment’s Tell Me Why will be free on Xbox consoles for all of June. Further charitable donations were also announced, as the company claimed “that this year has seen a sharp rise in anti-trans sentiment in the United States.”
“Xbox Publishing is accompanying the free period with donations of $25,000 each to Transgender Law Center and Trans Lifeline, two non-profit organizations offering resources and support to trans, non-binary, and genderqueer people.” June 23rd will also see a Trans Lifeline fundraiser livestream, hosted by Xbox.
Within video games, 343 Industries has created a new Pride-themed “Unity” emblem and nameplate for those logging into Halo Infinite this month. Meanwhile, a 2009 Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster with a rainbow livery will be gifted to Forza Horizon 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Forza Motorsport 7 players.
Games’ close to the LGBTQIA+ community’s heart will also be showcased, with Xbox and Windows Stores and Game Pass highlighting games focused on those themes, LGBTQIA+ developers, and winners of GLAAD and Gayming Awards. This includes Unsighted, No Longer Home, Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, Dead by Daylight, and more.
Xbox Ambassadors will be sharing their stories, while Bethesda hosted a roundtable with LGBTQIA+ students to get them into games development. New gamerpic, profile themes, and avatar items will also be available on Xbox, along with the Xbox Twitch channel hosting LGBTQIA+ focused livestreams and podcasts.
Finally, Xbox will be a presenting partner of Gayming Mag’s DIGIPRIDE– “the UK’s leading LGBTQIA+ video game event-” with content planned for the next three months, including “giveaways, Let’s Play streams, special guests on the Gayming Podcast and even more still to be revealed!”
Are Xbox’ efforts this year token or meaningful? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.