Previously in Part One, I wrote about the many ways that Microsoft and Xbox gives back to its fans and community. Below are some of the initiatives that the company and brand are championing to bring gamers together, push for more inclusivity and provide more accessibility for all gamers.
There’s no doubt that both Microsoft and Xbox are pushing for more inclusivity in gaming, aiming to bridge the once far reaching gap between gamers who play on different platforms, as well as pushing for more diversity by encouraging more girls to get involved in gaming.
Through a number of initiatives, Xbox gamers are now able to utilise the same tools that those on other platforms do and there appears to be a removal of exclusivity when it comes to gaming on products produced by different brands.
The Microsoft and Xbox Play Anywhere initiative is but one innovation that shows off the company’s commitment to all gamers, regardless of their platform of choice. With just one purchase of a Play Anywhere title, gamers are given the flexibility to play on either console or PC, saving them from having to buy multiple copies of the same game in order to play on different platforms.
Before this initiative, gamers would be restricted to playing games with friends who were on the same console or platform. This meant that it was tough to enjoy playing games with a large group of friends who may have different platforms for gaming. With Play Anywhere, this is no longer an issue.
Microsoft and Xbox have clearly listened to their fans and have even included a feature where progress can be carried over to wherever a game is played, this includes all saves, game add-ons, and achievements. Now gamers will never have to feel the frustration of losing any progress.
Cross-play has long been something that fans has been asking for, with little success. However, as gaming and internet technology has improved, online gaming has reached new heights, leading to the recent announcement that cross-platform play is now available between not only PC and Xbox, but also between Xbox and Nintendo.
The ability to play widely popular titles such as Minecraft and Fortnite had fans cheering both companies on. This revolutionary change in how gamers will play games allows for more unification and the ability to play with a wider group of gamers, bringing the world’s gamers a little closer together, which in a way, makes the otherside of the world not seem as far.
Connecting with friends is such a big part of why people play games. Gamers all over the world use and love Discord to easily chat and connect with friends while they game. The partnership and integration between Xbox Live and Discord makes it easier to connect and see what friends are playing across both console and PC.
This is just a small part of the work Microsoft and Xbox are doing to provide gamers with more choice, allowing them to play how and where they want to. It also solidifies the work being done by Xbox to truly bridge the gap between all gamers.
Code Like A Girl and Women in Games
The Microsoft flagship store in Sydney, Australia recently announced a monthly Women in Gaming event, which aims to celebrate the prominent females of the Australian games industry, and give women the chance to raise their profiles and have their voices heard through networking and hearing from leading women in the games industry.
The store has also partnered with Code Like a Girl to bring a series of free coding workshops to girls aged 6-15 years old throughout the July school holidays. The workshops aim to address the need for skilled female information communications technology (ICT) specialists, working to empower and inspire young girls to get involved in coding and encourage this skill for potential future careers in IT industries.
From my experience, both Microsoft and Xbox believes in empowering every person and organisation to achieve more. These principles have the deepest impact in how they build products that are designed for everyone. The company has been on a journey of inclusive design, which celebrates and draws inspiration from several people, especially those who are often overlooked in the typical design process.
For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs has been challenging. The solutions that exist today are often expensive, difficult to source, or require significant technical skill to create. A number of individuals and organisations have created custom solutions, but building these solutions to scale has been a challenge as most rigs tend to require personalisation.
Last month, Xbox announced their Adaptive Controller, which was created to address these challenges and remove barriers to gaming by being adaptable to more gamers’ needs. The goal was to make the device as adaptable as possible, so gamers can create a setup that works for them in a way that is plug-and-play, extensible, and affordable.
When I first learnt about the Adaptive Controller, I was nearly in tears. It brought me so much pride to be a fan of a brand that actively pushes the boundaries, with the goal to offer all gamers the opportunity to play. Learning that there are people around the world who, until today, have been unable to play games with others, made me feel sad, as I know firsthand what it feels like to be shunned and excluded from activities.
Being able to get a closer look at the controller at E3 and learn about it’s development further reinforced just how much Microsoft and Xbox are investing in providing a platform that is inclusive of every kind of gamer.
Read more about the Xbox Adaptive Controller and its history here.
[Update] The Xbox Adaptive Controller has yesterday been titled the winner of E3’s Best Hardware/Peripheral! Such a monumental achievement for the entire team who have worked so hard to bring accessibility to gaming.
Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass is a monthly service that provides subscribers with unlimited access to a selection of downloadable Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games for only NZ$10.95 a month. This includes new release Xbox One exclusive games that will be available to play on the same day as the game’s global release.
This service is not only an affordable way for gamers to play a broad range of titles but it also gives them the opportunity to try out games without having to go through the stresses of paying a premium for a game only to not enjoy it and have to either return it, which often isn’t possible, or sell it.
Overall, I personally believe that Xbox is going down the right path toward creating a bright future for gamers and is continually pushing the boundaries to provide it’s community with services and gaming experiences.
I’m truly inspired by the work that the team at both Microsoft and Xbox do. Here’s to seeing more inclusivity, diversity, accessibility in gaming and more love for and within the thriving Xbox community.
NOTE: This piece is in no way sponsored or paid by Microsoft, Xbox or any of its partners. This article is purely me, Dhayana Sena, being a huge fan of the company and brand and wanting to share my thoughts on all the cool things that Microsoft and Xbox are doing for the gaming industry and community.
Though I have an immense love for Xbox, I do also have a lot of love and support for other brands such as PlayStation, Nintendo, and more. This is just me fan-girling 🙂