Some of my earliest memories include watching my dad play as Master Chief in Halo: Combat Evolved. My brother and I would hide behind the couch to sneak a peek at the super soldiers and aliens in battle, which my mother thought might be too much for our young eyes. But it left an impression on me. When I was a little older, I dropped into battle with my customized Spartan, who had pink armor and a unicorn banner, right alongside my brother.
Even though gaming is one of my passions, I struggled to find gamer friends at the all-girls school I attended. Aside from an occasional party game session, gaming just didn’t seem like a way I could connect with my friends. As a girl, I didn’t identify with the perceived competitive, macho culture that was associated with gamers at the time. Few games were marketed toward girls, and most of them involved pets or brand name dolls. While I enjoyed those games too, I also wanted to experience RPGs, first-person shooters, and action-adventure games where I could be the hero. One of my brothers, though, got to enjoy Halo LAN Parties with his friends. He got Xbox Live and played with online friends, too. I was envious that I couldn’t share that same experience with my friends.
I’m grateful, though, that the industry has changed to be more inviting and inclusive of all people. I’ve worked with Microsoft for five years and landed this amazing role with Xbox working as a Senior Product Manager with the Xbox Store. I’m proud to be part of an organization that continues to evolve to increase diverse representation in its game collection and among game creators. I also find fulfillment in teaching computer science to high school students as part of the Microsoft TEALS program, which pairs industry volunteers with teachers to impart curriculum to them in a sustainable way. It means so much to me to see women increasingly represented in those classes and serve as a role model to those interested in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) careers.
Halo was the first game I experienced which allowed me to customize my character to represent me in some way. Even still when I play a game, whether it is Disney Dreamlight Valley, Fortnite, or Animal Crossing, I enjoy customizing my character’s appearance, gear, and skins. Having that representation creates an emotional connection for me that makes me want to turn on my console, grab a cozy blanket, and return to my favorite games over and over again.
In honor of women, and especially women who enjoy gaming, here are a few ways that Team Xbox is uplifting and supporting women this year.
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards
Microsoft Rewards members can earn and donate points to organizations supporting women with Xbox. The organizations below will be featured on console throughout March:
- Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in tech by equipping students who identify as girls or nonbinary with the necessary computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. (Canada, UK, and US)
- Games & Online Harassment Hotline (via Feminist Frequency): The Games and Online Harassment Hotline is a free, text message-based, confidential emotional support hotline. This Hotline was created specifically for the gaming community. Whether you’re a player, a developer, a streamer, a competitor — any part of this community — they are here for you, whether that means offering emotional support or finding the referrals and resources that you need. (US)
- Women in Games International: Women in Games International works to cultivate resources such as advanced knowledge sharing, access to technology, and actionable mentorship programs to normalize diversity in the games industry through increased representation. (Global)
- National Center for Transgender Equality: NCTE advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice. (US)
Xbox gamers can earn Microsoft Rewards points in various ways, such as playing or purchasing games after downloading the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox. Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join us today and donate through Xbox.
Artist Tacha P Shares Her Vision of Womanhood and Gaming through her Xbox Logo Design
My work is focused on conceptualizing the realms of digital and physical experiences through immersive visuals, and I often take inspiration from the gaming community, especially in character development and world-building. It’s an honor to be part of Women’s History Month celebrations at Xbox and share a design concept inspired by growth, dreams, and stepping out one’s comfort zone without necessarily knowing the outcome.
The idea of womanhood fueled my creativity here, and specifically, choosing to see the beauty that exists everywhere in the world – even places you’ve never been, or within feelings not yet tapped into. This is personal to me as I know that the path lies ahead, yet the destination is unclear. Spiritually, I feel a distinct connection to my future that fuels my own growth. In the piece, golden rays highlight the controller, signifying the positivity brought into the world by the gaming community. Meanwhile, abstract shapes and larger-than-life objects invite us to dream big and know that we hold the power to shape our own destinies.
Check out more of Tacha’s work at HotSupply.
Xbox Sponsoring First-Ever All Women’s Valorant Team to Compete on a National Stage at the CECC
Xbox is partnering with EportsU and Paidia Gaming to provide women gamers with opportunities for competition, greater visibility and access to experts in the gaming field, as well as deliver content that celebrates high achievement, inclusivity, and positive play. This activation includes three gaming events and two content series, designed to spotlight collegiate women gamers as well as up and coming female shoutcasters. This groundbreaking partnership concludes with sending the first ever women’s team and two new female shoutcasters to the national Collegiate Esports Commissioner’s Cup (CECC) in Texas this May.
Find out more about how you can follow and support the women on their ‘road to nationals’ journey in the following events and content series:
- Competitive national, collegiate Valorant qualifying tournament with colleges participating across the United States and Canada.
- Finals at the Collegiate Esports Commissioner’s Cup (CECC) in Texas, which runs May 5 to May 7, 2023.
- Women’s Matchmaking Season, a separate national competition for women gamers, with top two teams competing at CECC Texas.
- “Road to CECC” will highlight participating teams as they prepare for competition in Texas.
- “Cast This” will focus on discovering and developing budding shoutcasting talent.
Xbox Women’s History Month Affirmation Deck
Regardless of where they are in their careers, the women that work across the entire organization of Microsoft are essential and integral to our mission, success, and culture. In support of the talented women who work at Xbox, we collected affirmations and quotes that inspire us and our personal journeys. We created this interactive Xbox Affirmations Deck for you to download or the Xbox Affirmations Deck for you to print. We encourage you to use these cards as part of your self-care routine, to meditate on these words, and to set a positive tone for your day.
Women’s History Month 2023: Xbox Ambassadors Share Their Stories
The Xbox Ambassadors community is made up of diverse gamers from around the world and we love to amplify and highlight the voices of these players. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we asked select Xbox Ambassador Community Champions what it means to them to be a woman in gaming.
Here’s a sneak peek from our Q&A with Xbox Ambassadors BlondiebutGeeky and oOGingerAleOo.
What is your favorite memory as a woman in gaming?
“I would have to say when a younger female gamer came to me and thanked me for helping them. While we look at each other as all gamers, it is nice to be some kind of a role model for younger women.” – oOGingerAleOo, Xbox Ambassador
From your perspective, what does the future look like for women in gaming?
“I think it looks very promising. Ever growing. With more women in the industry, from game developers to hundreds of other roles. Women will be a part of every avenue and making the gaming space bigger and brighter. I watch how the narrative of games has expanded, grabbing the attention of women, and turning them into gamers. Programs like STEM and Women in Games are encouraging women to explore fields they might not normally gravitate towards. Empowerment like this is making huge differences in the growth of women in gaming and technology. We need to raise the awareness and have more conversations about representation for women in gaming.” – BlondiebutGeeky, Xbox Ambassador
Visit the Xbox Ambassadors Community Blog to see the full story!
The Xbox Ambassador community is also celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of XA Missions that feature games with powerful women. Play, share, and discuss your favorite games by becoming an Xbox Ambassador today!
Explore Games Featuring Powerful Women and Games Created by Women
Women have been a huge part of innovative technology since the beginning and the history of video games is no different. Not only have women been involved in the creation of games every step of the way, but studies are showing more and more that women play and enjoy games as much as men do. Since seeing ourselves represented is so important, we want to showcase that powerful can mean many things, from being able to take on a horde of enemies to being able to practice empathy for others.
During March and beyond, we are highlighting games that bring focus to powerful women protagonists and games created by women. These collections are available on The Microsoft Stores on Xbox, Windows, and within the Game Pass mobile app year-round as part of our ongoing work to create more inclusive gaming ecosystems and elevate content that resonates with communities.
Featured titles within the collections on the Microsoft Stores on Xbox and Windows, Xbox Game Pass, and PC Game Pass include:
- Signalis (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Created by Yuri Stern and Barbara Wittman, this artistic take on survival horror follows the story of a humanoid android, Elster, on a quest to find her missing partner, Ariane. Discover terrifying secrets, challenging puzzles, and nightmarish creatures all while searching for lost love in a dystopian solar system.
- The Walking Dead: Michonne (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Haunted by her past, this game explores the trauma from the devastating loss and difficult decisions that the resilient character, Michonne, had to endure in order to survive the zombie apocalypse on her own. Nichole Martinez, Meghan Thornton, Erica Harrell, and Desirée Proctor were all contributing writers for this deeply emotional mini-series.
- A Plague Tale: Requiem (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Take on the role of Amicia, the intelligent protector of her cursed younger brother, Hugo, in this heartrending sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence. Embark on a journey to find a new home in a twisted world of supernatural forces and figure out just how far Amicia is willing to go in order to save her brother.
- Cities: Skylines Remastered (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – Originally brought to us from lead designer Karoliina Korppoo, this city building game has now released a remastered edition for console. The latest edition provides the opportunity for bigger and more beautiful cities. This game encourages creativity and self-expression by allowing players to design a city of their dreams while managing the ever-changing demands of thousands of citizens.
- Gears 5 (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – As the first woman protagonist of this iconic franchise, Kait Diaz is on a mission to uncover the origins of the Locust Horde. Kait not only battles her way bravely through swarms of enemies, but also endures disturbing visions that inevitably help her get the answers she seeks. Experience Kait’s journey of self-discovery as she learns her family’s true history.
New Gamerpics, Profile Theme, Wallpaper and Avatar Items to Celebrate Women’s History
In partnership with women communities at Xbox, we’re introducing a new gamerpic, profile theme, wallpapers and avatar items! The gamerpic and profile theme will be available on console and the Xbox PC app. Get your avatar items and wallpaper items here. Content is subject to availability by country.
Xbox Plays Livestreaming
Every Monday during the month of March, the Xbox Plays team will be spotlighting some of our favorite women streamers and inviting them to take over the Xbox Twitch Channel in celebration of Women’s History Month! Tune in and catch all the action on Twitch.tv/Xbox!
- Atiyana playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (11am PT)
- Ashlinaa playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (3pm PT)
- Emme playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (11am PT)
- TacticalGramma playing Call of Duty Warzone 2 (3pm PT)
- Laelindra playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (11am PT)
- Bettynixx playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (3pm PT)
- Blushi playing Minecraft (11am PT)
- OathxX playing Halo Infinite (3pm PT)
Ghost Garden Games: Women-Led Independent Developer Studio Shares Their Experience at Xbox Game Studios Game Camp New Orleans
The Xbox Mentoring Program Kicks Off: Register Now
Xbox Celebrates International Women’s Day in Support of Women in Gaming
Source: MajorNelson Xbox News