February marks Black History month here in the United States, and Xbox is once again celebrating in more ways than one. From chances to donate points with Microsoft Rewards, to gaming events, and even spotlighting black streamers, game creators, and nonprofits, here’s a recap of all the things Xbox is doing.
On the actual gaming side of Black History Month, Microsoft will be offering a Black History month emblem and nameplate for Halo Infinite. In addition, Forza is hosting a new in-game livery design contest spotlighting designs celebrating the past, present, and future of Black communities. Designs created in Forza Horizon 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Forza Motorsport 7 that end up as featured designers will receive in-game credit rewards.
Of course, we also can’t forget the avatars. Microsoft is introducing a new gamerpic, profile themes, and avatar items themed towards Black History month. These include a shirt with a special colored Xbox logo, and a hat, too. You can download these here.
We’ll also share the Microsoft Rewards initiatives. Over on the Xbox Microsoft Rewards app, if you activate the special card, you can earn points to support organizations that back black communities. Simply click the card, earn an Xbox achievement, and then donate to either Cxmmunity, Black Girls Rock!, or Gameheads.
In other areas of actual gaming, Microsoft says that it has doubled the games featured on Xbox from Black creators and continues to increase the visibility of diverse and inclusive content in additional regions. There’s even a TV and movies collection featuring black creators and leads.
Finally, Minecraft Education has a free demo that is is featuring lessons on social movements throughout history including the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter as well as lessons about Dr. Martin Luther King.
Now, for the events. Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios will be hosting Game Camp in New Orleans from March 9 to April 27. This event will provide people from underrepresented communities with access to subject matter experts, tools, and industry connections to aid them through the game creation process.
In addition, Xbox is holding a special panel with its employees who are HBCU Connect Alumni. They’re planning to talk about how to contribute to an inclusive place where people from various walks of life can excel.
The final event is “The New Face of Gaming” at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this March. There, Xbox panelists, Senior Program Manager at Xbox Calicia Johnson, Software Engineer Keirten Nivol, and Xbox Marketing Manager Austin Joseph will share their experiences in gaming and explore how diverse voices are contributing to the evolution of the gaming industry.
Note that Microsoft’s Xbox Plays and the Xbox Twitch channel will also feature programming celebrating Black History Month. Each week of February on the channel, you’ll see different Black Streamers, Creators, and nonprofit organizations.