March 8th is International Women’s Day, and rather than just pay lip service with a boiler-plate corporate statement, Microsoft is holding several events and and initiatives throughout the month aimed at celebrating and supporting women in the gaming community as well as raising awareness.
For starters, Team Xbox will be featuring livestreaming content all month long via its Twitch channel that will highlight women in various categories, such as developers, content creators, streamers, protagonists in games, and more. One such highlight will be a women-only Gears 5 online tournament that will be broadcast on the channel on Saturday, March 13th at 10:30am PT, a collaboration between Xbox, Gears 5 studio The Coaliton and Smash.gg. If you reside in either qualifying region of North America or Latin America and are interested in participating, you can find out more here.
Another high-profile tournament celebrating International Women’s Day that is taking place that same weekend is the Queen’s Clash tournament, an Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition competition run by Age of Queens, a women-led group from the Age community and sponsored by World’s Edge. Details can be found here. In addition, throughout the course of the month, influential women in history will have their tales featured on the ageofempires.com website as well as across the game’s social media channels.
Minecraft: Education Edition will be featuring two new lessons on International Women’s Day, featuring activist Malala Yousafzai, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and their respective work in advocating for girls’ education in modern Pakistan and the right to vote in Victorian Britain. These lessons can be found on education.minecraft.net or in the Minecraft Marketplace.
If you are an Xbox platform gamer on console, cloud or PC and are constantly struggling to figure out what do with all those Microsoft Rewards Points you’ve been earning from Xbox quests and other Microsoft-encouraged activities and don’t feel like cashing them in for yourself, why not put those points to good use? During the month of March, Microsoft Rewards Members will will have the option to earn and donate their points through Xbox to two organizations supporting women in gaming: Girls Who Code and Black Girls Rock. Better yet, Microsoft will match all donations made to either organization.
This month both the Microsoft Store and Xbox Store will also see a specially-curated focus on games, movies and TV shows selected by women at Microsoft that feature women in leading roles, are created by women, and/or speak to female experiences. Naturally, the selection of Film and TV content will represent all genres and featured games will likewise range in diversity from action, adventure and suspense thrillers to puzzlers, platformers and walking simulators, just to name a few.
One final key highlight of the month’s activities is today’s impending launch of the next Women of Xbox UK video, featuring Everwild Executive Producer Louise O’Connor from Rare in conversation with other female game industry leaders, including Ninja Theory’s Chief Development Director Nina Kristensen and Xbox Game Studios Chief of Staff, Mary McGuane. The launch will be accompanied by a new podcast series that will showcase women from Xbox Game Studios, “(focusing) on where these women began their journey, where they are today and what they see for the future.” The first episode will come out in late March.
Further details and additional event information can be found on Xbox Wire.