Wednesday, April 24, 2024
DIGIPRIDE 2021Opinion

Xbox is leading the way to accessibility and diversity in gaming

The one thing that the Xbox and Bethesda conference at E3 2021 confirmed for us was this: Xbox is putting its best foot forward to add more diversity and accessibility to gamers all over the world.

Xbox introduced its Game Pass to the world back in 2017, and ever since it’s become more and more clear that the company is paving the way for a new way to play video games. Not only that, but the studio has committed to publishing games with inclusive, diverse characters and themes, as shown with Tell Me Why and the newly revealed Redfall – both of them Xbox, Xbox Game Pass and PC exclusives.

Some would argue that the fact that Xbox brought Bethesda (and the studios within it) isn’t all that accessible at all, especially since PlayStation owners are now locked out from playing certain games. In a way, I agree, but on the other hand, it’s to be expected considering PlayStation also has exclusives like The Last of Us and God Of War. Ideally, there’d be no exclusives at all, but then that would just be a big old ‘f u’ to capitalism, and we can’t have that, now can we? Hm.

Regardless of where you stand, it’s hard to deny just how good Xbox Game Pass is for Xbox gamers, who now have access to 200+ games at their fingertips, including new releases as well as old favourites. It’s a press of a button away, and in comparison to PlayStation Now… Well, it’s on a whole other level.

It isn’t just games, though. Xbox has also looked inwards to make gaming with them safer, particularly gamers from marginalized communities, by introducing new moderation tools, as well as celebrating diversity with events throughout the year. It’s obvious that, as far as studios go, Xbox is not shying away from a strong, inclusive future.

That’s not to say that the step towards a united, strong community is accidental. Far from it. In a pre-E3 briefing, Xbox operations Dave McCarthy explicitly stated that “being intentionally inclusive is business critical if we are to meet the needs of billions of players across the world.”

McCarthy’s statement was later followed by Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty saying that “you’ll see us put more commitment and resources into bringing diverse voices into our games and into our teams. As our audience expands around the world to include people from all walks of life, we need to foster and support people seeing themselves in their entertainment.”

We can’t lie, it feels strange to hear Xbox talk about inclusivity and diversity within a business lens considering the dead argument of ‘queers are bad for business’ that have plagued conversations about media for decades now. But we also can’t deny that it is a welcome change, too.

We’re not sure what next to expect from Xbox – apart from an array of ridiculously good games, that is – but whatever it is, we hope that Sony will have something to show to their players that their purchase of an PS5 wasn’t the wrong decision, after all.

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One thought on “Xbox is leading the way to accessibility and diversity in gaming

  • “As our audience expands around the world to include people from all walks of life, we need to foster and support people seeing themselves in their entertainment.”
    If only that was true. Microsoft did not released “Tell me why” in Russia and some other countries and when we’re asked about this their answer to why the game isn’t released is “to provide better experience”.

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