Play With Pride
LGBTQ Xbox players will have a new way to celebrate Pride this year thanks to a brand new Pride-inspired rainbow Xbox controller from Xbox Design Labs.
The video game giant announced the new offering in a blog post Wednesday as part of the company’s wider commitments toward supporting queer populations during June. The controller itself features 34 different Pride flags representing most of the LGBTQ spectrum woven together into a tapestry celebrating a wide span of the community. Many other parts of the controller are customizable as well, including distinct colors and finishes and personal engravings.
“This isn’t just a controller. It’s a symbol of the LGBTQIA+ communities that inspired it, and a call to continue efforts toward inclusion and representation across all gaming spaces,” said Kate Rayner, vice president and technical director at Xbox development studio The Coalition. “We continue to work on creating safe spaces in gaming where all LGBTQIA+ people are welcome and belong, where everyone is invited to play as their authentic self and enjoy a community that welcomes self-expression.”
The company introduced a version of the Pride rainbow Xbox controller last June, but didn’t make it available to the general public, choosing instead to distribute a limited number to LGBTQ online creators, media and developers. That has changed this year as the controller will be available for anyone purchase starting June 9 through Xbox Deisgn Lab and will be available year-round rather than limiting sales to June alone.
Donations, Fundraisers And “Tell Me Why” Is Free Again
The new Pride controller is only one facet of how Xbox says it is honoring the LGBTQ community during Pride month. The company also announced a $170,000 donation to a collection of LGBTQ advocacy and support organizations, including U.K.-based trans advocacy group Mermaids, OutRight Action International and the National Center for Transgender Equality. Players with Microsoft Rewards accounts can also earn points by playing games which can be donated to these organizations as well.
Xbox is again making the game “Tell Me Why,” recognized as a groundbreaking title for trans representation in video games, free to download throughout the month of June. The move is accompanied by the donation of an additional $25,000 to the Transgender Law Center and Trans Lifeline in what Xbox said is “to acknowledge that this year has seen a sharp rise in anti-trans sentiment in the United States.” Additionally, the company will host a charity live stream of the game on June 23 to benefit Trans Lifeline.
Other titles are getting in on the rainbow Xbox action as well. Both “Halo Infinite” and “Forza Horizon 5” are adding Pride-themed in-game content, including giving Master Chief a fun rainbow visor player icon.
Rainbow Xbox : Previously on Towleroad
Image via Microsoft/Xbox