What you need to know
- Pride Month 2023 has officially begun, with members of the LGBTQIA+ community proudly celebrating their identities all over the globe.
- Xbox has revealed how its supporting Pride Month celebrations with a lengthy article from Pav Bhardwaj, Xbox Marketing’s Chief of Staff and an openly gay man.
- Xbox is celebrating Pride Month with a new theme and logo, year-round featured game collections, partnerships with LGBTQIA+ organizations, and much more.
- Pride Month this year arrives amidst increasing hostility toward LGBTQIA+ communities in some places, especially those of the transgender and non-binary communities.
June is here, and that means a month in which the extensive, global LGBTQIA+ community openly celebrates our collective pride in our endlessly diverse, unique identities. Many companies and organizations also choose to participate in Pride Month in their own ways, and Xbox is no exception. Every year, Xbox makes a point of celebrating Pride Month, and the company has revealed its plans for 2023.
Published on Xbox Wire, Xbox’s Pride Month 2023 celebrations are detailed by Pav Bhardwaj, the Chief of Staff at Xbox Marketing and an openly gay man of Indian descent. Bhardwaj begins with a personal tale of his time at Xbox, starting with the launch of the Xbox 360, and continues to stress the importance of cultivating safe, inclusive spaces for gamers of all identities, including the LGBTQIA+ community. Here’s a rundown of some of the ways Xbox is celebrating Pride Month this year.
- A long-term partnership with GLAAD. Xbox Game Studios is partnering with GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQIA+ media advocacy organization, to support Xbox’s LGBTQIA+ team members and work with game developers and creators to increase LGBTQIA+ representation in video games.
- Bhardwaj specifically called out the importance of creating these safe, affirming spaces to protect our LGBTQIA+ youth, who often feel more comfortable presenting their truest selves in video games than real life
- Highlighting LGBTQIA+ video games. Xbox is creating two permanent new gaming collections on the Microsoft Store for Xbox that highlights some of the best Xbox games created by LGBTQIA+ developers or that feature LGBTQIA+ stories and characters. This include the Transgender and Non-Binary Collection, and the more general LGBTQIA+ Collection.
- Many of these featured games are also included in Xbox Game Pass, making them more accessible to more players
- For the third year in a row, Tell Me Why (developed in partnership between Dont Nod, Xbox Game Studios Publishing, and GLAAD) will be completely free for the entire month of June
- Ways to donate to LGBTQIA+ organizations through Microsoft Rewards. Microsoft is giving Xbox gamers another way to spend their Microsoft Rewards points, which are earned by spending money in the Microsoft and Xbox ecosystem, using Microsoft and Xbox products and services, and playing Xbox games or completing Xbox quests.
- For the month of June, people can donate their Microsoft Rewards points to LGBTQIA+ organizations like GLAAD, Outright International, and the National Center for Transgender Equality
- Pride in Xbox video games. Many video games celebrate Pride Month in their own ways, and Xbox is highlighting some of these games, including:
- Halo Infinite and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with players able to get the UNITY nameplate and emblem just by logging in (the emblem is only in Halo Infinite)
- The Race for Pride event in Asphalt Legends 9, which is available for free on Xbox consoles
- Overwatch 2, with players able to get an extensive collection or Pride-themed player cards and icons just by logging in
- Disney Dreamlight Valley, with players able to get a collection of Pride-themed shirts with unique codes claimed through the game’s official social channels
- Celebrating Pride with the community. Xbox is celebrating Pride Month with its massive gaming community in other ways, including through the Xbox Ambassadors program, through Xbox Plays livestreams, and a month-long collaboration with Gayming Magazine’s DIGIPRIDE celebration.
- New Pride theme, wallpaper, icon, and Avatar items on Xbox. When playing on Xbox, you can celebrate Pride Month with a brand-new Xbox theme, wallpaper (and Dynamic Background), player icon, and even inclusive Avatar items. All of this is rolling out to players for free.
- New Xbox Pride merch and gear. The Xbox Gear Shop has released its new Pride collection, which is packed with official Xbox merch, including for various games like Minecraft and the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. The Pride Xbox Wireless Controller is also still available through Xbox Design Lab
Many corporations elect not to participate in Pride Month each year, and a lot of the companies that do only do so superficially with a temporary theme change and brief (often vague) message of support. It’s good to see Xbox release an in-depth overview of all the ways the company supports the LGBTQIA+ community during and outside of Pride Month (as pride never ends just because Pride Month does).
I hope that the company’s partnership with GLAAD does lead to better LGBTQIA+ representation in Xbox games, and I’m happy to see the company already begin highlighting the fantastic LGBTQIA+ games already on Xbox with new permanent collections. I have Xbox to thank for helping me find my truest self and for giving me a place to express my identity as a non-binary individual. I hope to see Xbox continue to use its resources and influence to improve inclusivity, diversity, and player representation in video games, rather than the basic show of support that other companies offer.
With so many people actively attempting to hurt or take way the rights of LGBTQIA+ communities, especially transgender and non-binary members, we need the safe spaces that video games and their inclusive communities can provide to us more than ever.