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Today on Xbox: Fast Cars and Saving Pandas

Press Release

Play it Today: Fortune Island Now Available for Forza Horizon 4

The first expansion for Forza Horizon 4 officially rolls out today, bringing new treasure, adventure, and epic driving action to players worldwide. With extreme terrain, perilous weather conditions such as atmospheric storms and the Aurora Borealis, a brand-new Horizon treasure hunt and a host of new driving challenges, Fortune Island cranks the Forza Horizon 4 experience to 11.

For more information on Fortune Island, be sure to check out last week’s announcement.

Forza Horizon 4’s Fortune Island expansion is available on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC for AUD$29.95, and is included for players who own the Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition, the Forza Horizon 4 Expansions Bundle or the Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Add-Ons Bundle. In addition, Xbox Game Pass members are eligible for 10% off a standalone purchase of Fortune Island or 10% off each bundle.

PLACE BAMBOO, SUPPORT WWF!

Minecraft WWF Panda

It’s official! Pandas are now in Minecraft on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows 10 Edition, VR, iOS and Android! It’s the kind of great news that makes us want to celebrate by dancing and singing! Or – better idea – celebrate by supporting an amazing nonprofit, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – also known as World Wide Fund for Nature outside of the US – that helps protect pandas. Yeah, let’s do that instead!

WWF is known for their amazing conservation efforts all over the world. Their work with pandas includes researching and monitoring their habitats (can you imagine the video highlights?!), creating bamboo corridors that help pandas travel to protected areas where they can feed and mate freely, as well as working with communities to help engage them in panda conservation. You can learn more about how WWF help pandas here!

This is just a small part of the great work WWF is doing, and we want in! That’s why we’re launching a new campaign in Minecraft. Once our players have collectively placed 10 million bamboo blocks in Minecraft, we’ll donate $100,000 to WWF to help support all their important work!

We’re confident this donation isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Last summer, when we promised to donate $100,000 to The Nature Conservancy if you placed 10 million coral blocks, you managed it in a matter of days! How quickly can you reach the goal this time? We can’t wait to find out and we’ll update our Twitter as soon as you do!

Before you’re ready to start placing bamboo blocks in Minecraft, perhaps you’d like to look the part? Well, we’re here to help! Today, we’re launching the Paws and Claws Cosplay Pack, letting you look a little more like a sneezing panda, or as swish as a Siamese cat! Give yourself an unfurgettable makeover with 17 cat and panda skins, with 62.5% of the sales going straight to WWF and their amazing work protecting pandas, their habitats and other vulnerable species. Purrrfect!

To learn all about the giant panda (wait, there are mini pandas!?) we spoke to Colby Loucks, Senior Director of WWF’s Wildlife Conservation Program:

Could you tell us more about your work with helping protect panda habitats?

WWF’s giant panda work focuses on protecting pandas in the wild. One way we do that is by working with the Chinese government and local communities to replant trees and bamboo, just like players will be doing in Minecraft. Pandas eat a lot of bamboo (it’s their primary food group), and bamboo grows best when it is shaded by trees, so when we plant both together, we’re expanding panda habitat and helping their diets. WWF also works with local communities to help them develop local businesses– such as beekeeping and homestays for tourists – that way more people benefit from both living near and visiting pandas and other amazing wildlife that share the forests.

Why is it important for us to protect these habitats?

Panda habitat is important for both humans and wildlife. Pandas live in the mountains in areas we call ‘water towers’ – places that collect the rain and filter it into streams. These water towers provide clean water for millions of people and help farmers grow their crops. If these forests were cut down, we’d see some harsh consequences (think catastrophic flooding).

That’s bad news not just to humans and giant pandas, but to many unique species who call that region home – that includes the world’s highest diversity of pheasants and salamanders and endangered species like the golden monkey, takin, and red panda.

That red panda is officially our second-favourite panda! What else can people do to help?

As consumers, people who want to protect species that live in the forests can buy products with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. When the FSC label is on your paper towels, cups, and other wood and paper products, it means those items were sourced from responsibly managed forests that are keeping the health of our wildlife, like the panda, in mind.

You can learn more about some of the amazing wildlife in the forests by visiting worldwildife.org. While you’re there, you can support WWF’s efforts to protect species and habitats around the world by symbolically adopting a panda. We appreciate Minecraft’s support and look forward to engaging Minecraft players on our conservation work around the planet.

 

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