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Xbox Empowers Asian and Pacific Islander Communities with GameTan and NEEL

Summary

  • Learn how Xbox is partnering with GameTan and NEEL.
  • Explore games curated by the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
  • Discover how the Ramayana inspired the Xbox logo redesign.

The Asian and Pacific Islander communities have long been a vibrant and integral part of the global gaming ecosystem. Building upon the foundations laid in the early days of video game development, Xbox is proud to innovate in gaming spaces and champion beloved game titles thanks to the incredible work of developers and artists who identify as part of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The rich storytelling traditions, innovative technology, and unique artistic perspectives from these regions continue to enrich the gaming world, offering players a wide array of experiences that challenge, entertain, and inspire.

Developers often draw upon their lived experiences to help inform elements of their games. This is also true for many developers within the Asian and Pacific community, who will sometimes feature traditional folklore, art, and philosophy in games. This not only introduces gamers to new narratives and aesthetics but also promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of these cultures. Moreover, the rise of competitive gaming, or esports, has seen players from these communities rise to the top, showcasing their skills on the world stage and inspiring a new generation of gamers. We are also partnering with two nonprofits who live these values. They share our goal of sharing the joy of play and community across the globe and providing opportunities to students and those interested in the industry to learn and gain experience in the world of esports, technology, and game design.

The contributions of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities are not just limited to content creation. The community is also full of avid gamers, forming a significant portion of the player base and actively participating in online communities. Their feedback and engagement are crucial in shaping the development of games, ensuring they remain relevant and enjoyable for a global audience. Xbox is committed to supporting and celebrating the diversity within our community, recognizing that it is the blend of different cultures and ideas that drives innovation and makes the gaming world so dynamic and exciting.  After all, games allow players to feel seen, and can also be a tool for empathy and provide insights into underrepresented communities’ experiences. Here’s how we are supporting Asian and Pacific Islander communities this year:

Xbox is Partnering with GameTan and Nevada Esports Education League

This year, Xbox is excited to announce our collaboration with two exceptional nonprofit organizations dedicated to enriching their communities through the power of gaming and esports education. These partnerships are a testament to our commitment to increasing representation and building empathy through the power of play. By working closely with these nonprofits, we aim to create inclusive spaces where the thrill of competition and the spirit of teamwork can thrive through the lens of Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

These nonprofits embody our core mission: to spread the joy of gaming far and wide, and to build strong, supportive networks of gamers within the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. This work is pivotal in unlocking new possibilities, as they expand gaming from mere entertainment into a pathway for educational and professional opportunities. Through these partnerships, we are opening doors to new experiences, empowering individuals with the skills and confidence to explore the dynamic world of esports and gaming, and fostering a community that celebrates underrepresented communities and inclusion. Read more about each organization below:

GameTan (Within HauTutū)Based in New Zealand, and working within the nonprofit HauTutu GameTan provides kids the opportunity to learn and step into the world of gaming, esports, and technology. Through various events, and projects, they allow students to step into leadership roles and gain experience at a young age. They also host game clubs where they provide a space for the community to come together through food and video games. These game clubs also allow GameTan to help homeless children get a meal, build community, and also learn about opportunities within the gaming, esports, and tech industries. This year, Xbox will be providing a donation to support GameTan in furthering their mission and programs.

GameTan’s mission has 4 main pillars: 

  • “In order for our kids to change the future, we as teachers must change our approach.” 

Me aro ngā kaiako i ngā wawata o ngā tauira, kia mārama ngā tauira i te anamata 

  • Game-Led Learning: Where Fun Meets Future Skills 

Ako Ātea : Te tūtakitanga a tākaro me pūkenga ki te anamata 

  • Whānau-Centered Innovation: Tech for All 

Te auahatanga o te whānau: Mō te ao katoa te hangarau. 

  • Creating Career Pathways: From Local Talent to Global Leaders 

Whaohia te ara ki tua o paerangi: Ngā rangatira o te kainga, Ngā rangatira o te ao 

GameTan, where culture meets technology, and innovation knows no bounds. Together, we’re not just playing games; we’re changing the game. 

Nevada Esports Education League (NEEL)The Nevada Esports Education League (NEEL), Nevada’s sole nonprofit dedicated to Esports, pioneers programs for youth focusing on career development, STEM outreach, and community engagement. From organizing charity Twitch streams to volunteering at Esports conventions, and hosting community tournaments and boot camps, NEEL actively engages youth and cultivates inclusive communities, particularly among Asian American Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AAPINHPI) groups. This year Xbox will be providing a donation that NEEL will leverage to prioritize mental health awareness initiatives tailored for AAPINHPI gamers, champion diversity and inclusion in esports, and celebrate cultural heritage through gaming events. Collaborating with Xbox, NEEL is committed to empowering AAPINHPI youth and fostering positive change within the esports industry, highlighting gaming’s potential as a platform for social impact and community involvement.

Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards

Rewards members in the United States can earn and donate points to organizations supporting Asian and Pacific Islander communities with Xbox. The organizations below will be available on the Rewards hub: 

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC works through strategic policy advocacy, active community education, and impactful litigation to advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.
  • AAPI Equity Alliance – AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity) is dedicated to improving the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through civic engagement, capacity building, and policy advocacy.
  • Stop AAPI Hate – Stop AAPI Hate advances equity & justice by dismantling systemic racism & building a multiracial movement to end anti-Asian American & Pacific Islander hate through community empowerment, solidarity & advocacy for comprehensive solutions.

Xbox players can earn Rewards points in various ways, such as playing games, completing Game Pass Quests, and purchasing games and other eligible items at the Microsoft Store (exclusions apply). Start earning today and redeem your points for great rewards. Donate your points on the Rewards hub or on the Microsoft Rewards redeem page. 

Explore Games Curated by Asian and Pacific Islander Communities at Microsoft

A compilation image featuring game box art for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, Mineko’s Night Market, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever, Thirsty Suitors, and Venba on a background including the Xbox sphere styled in recognition of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month featuring water, fire, and two characters from the Ramayana, Sukhrip and Madchanu on a stage with embroidered curtains.

Pacific Islander Heritage month featuring water, fire, and two characters from the Ramayana, Sukhrip and Madchanu on a stage with embroidered curtains.

Gaming would not be what it is today without the contributions, perspectives, and influence from Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Here at Xbox, we want to honor this richly diverse set of communities by providing engaging gaming experiences that represent a myriad of histories and heritage. ​

During May and beyond, check out a variety of game collections that reflect the vast diversity of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. These collections showcase creators, lead characters, and games inspired by these cultures. Available on the Microsoft Stores on Xbox and Windows, check out the collections of East, South, and Southeast Asian Community Games and Pacific Islander and Indigenous Community Games. These collections will exist 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 available with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass include:​

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes (Available with Xbox Game Pass on Console, PC, and Cloud) – Japanese creators Yoshitaka Murayama and Junko Kawano designed this game to bring players a modern take on a classic JRPG experience. Lead up to 100+ playable characters through a war-torn world with diverse cultures and values that only you can save. ​

Mineko’s Night Market (Available with Xbox Game Pass on Console, PC, and Cloud) – Play this cozy game as Mineko, a curious girl who has just arrived at her new home on a struggling Japanese-inspired island at the base of Mount Fugu. Mineko’s Night Market celebrates Japanese culture while introducing a heartwarming story about friendship, tradition, and many, many cats. The husband-and-wife team of Meowza Games, Brent and Brandi Kobayashi, incorporated inspiration from Studio Ghibli and the real-life cat island in Aoshima, Japan.​

Sword and Fairy: Together Forever (Available with Xbox Game Pass on Console, PC, and Cloud) – Enter a realm based on ancient Chinese mythology and aesthetics in a real-time role-playing adventure from Taiwanese director, Yao Zhuangxian. Command a memorable party of characters, tame spirit creatures, play mini-games, and explore a vast world full of side quests to discover.​

Thirsty Suitors (Available with Xbox Game Pass on Console, PC, and Cloud) – A celebration of South Asian identity, Thirsty Suitors is a game about culture, intergenerational trauma, and expressing oneself. Follow Jala Jayaratne, a bisexual daughter of immigrants from India and Sri Lanka, in this story-driven adventure that unfolds through skateboarding, cooking, and turn-based battles against exes. Created by Outerloop Games, a minorityled indie game studio that aims to create accessible games with depth about underrepresented cultures and themes. ​

Venba (Available with Xbox Game Pass on Console, PC, and Cloud) – Cook delicious South Indian cuisine and experience the journey of an immigrant Tamil family, from lead developer Abhi Swaminathan. Take on the role of a loving mother and restore lost recipes in this narrative cooking simulator about family, love, loss and exploring new challenges that arise in day-to-day life.

Discover the Inspiration Behind the Xbox Logo Design

Xbox sphere styled in recognition of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month featuring water, fire, and two characters from the Ramayana, Sukhrip and Madchanu.

For Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Xbox commissioned an artist from Thailand to redesign the Xbox logo. The artist was inspired by the Ramayana, an epic tale originally from India and has also influenced other Asian peoples, including those in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos. In Thailand, the story of the Ramayana is told through Kohn, a traditional Thai dance.  Just as players create avatars to assume an identity in a game, Kohn performers wear masks to portray different characters.

The Xbox design features Sukhrip (Sugriva), the son of the sun, and Madchanu, the son of a mermaid.  The stage scene focuses on Songkran, the Thai New Year, which is celebrated in April. Traditionally, this celebration includes splashing with water to cool down from the hot sun. In this scene, Madchanu playfully splashes Sukhrip with water, while the Xbox logo represents the vibrant sun, capturing the festive spirit of Songkran.

The stage curtains include embroidered wild orchid flowers in the traditional style of Northern Thailand.  The pattern also includes fog and rivers, embodying the beautiful, mountainous landscape of the region.

Xbox Ambassadors Celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024

White Xbox controller icon with white laurels surrounding it layered over a blurred rainbow background.

As part of Xbox’s celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we connected with Xbox Ambassadors of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage about their favorite gaming experiences. They shared ways video games can highlight their heritage in positive and authentic ways. Hear more from Xbox Ambassadors in this Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month blog.

APIHM Dynamic Background and Wallpaper Available Now

The Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Xbox design is available today as an Xbox wallpaper and dynamic background on console – follow these steps to apply the dynamic background:

  • Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  • Select Profile & system > Settings > General > Personalization > My background > Dynamic backgrounds.

You can choose between Games, Xbox, or Abstract dynamic backgrounds. Choose the background art that you want with the A button.

Originally posted by news.xbox.com

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