Xbox celebrating Pride Month with free games, donations, special in-game features

"It's important that we celebrate everyone who plays."
"It's important that we celebrate everyone who plays." Photo credit: Supplied

Xbox is supporting the Pride Month of June 2021 with a focus on LGBTQIA+ characters, in-game themed features and activities, as well as charity donations.

As part of the festivities, the Microsoft-owned brand will be offering Tell Me Why - which features a playable transgender lead character - free across its consoles, on the Microsoft Store and on gaming platform Steam for the entire month.

The company also says it's donating US$150,000 to charities around the world to help fight for equality.

"Gaming is a big part of the lives of many LGBTQIA+ players and it's important that we celebrate everyone who plays," wrote Katrin Hilman and Todd Bohanna, community co-leads at Team Xbox.

"We are committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for all members of LGBTQIA+ communities to experience the joy of gaming and we are championing content that represents all of today's players."

Tell Me Why was developed with key creative contributions from trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming staff in areas such as character design and dialogue. The development team also worked with two transgender members of staff from GLAAD, an anti-defamation organisation in the US, on all phases of production.

Other Xbox games will unveil new Pride-themed features and activities, including a rainbow paint job in Forza and a punch card in Gears 5 that allows players to raise funds for charities by completing in-game tasks.

The Xbox Twitch channel will also feature takeovers from LGBTQIA+ creators and developers during the month. 

Gamers who want to add some colour to their peripherals can also buy a themed Xbox controller which combines the flags of various LGBTQIA+ communities in an interwoven pattern.

Sony's PlayStation, which has supported Pride in a multitude of ways in previous years, hasn't yet announced what, if anything, it is doing to support Pride in 2021.

Last year, PlayStation tweeted on June 21: "This month, and every month, PlayStation welcomes 𝘢𝘭𝘭 players. Happy Pride!"