June 30, 2023
This month, ESA members released exciting new creative updates and products to support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride and beyond. With over 200 million video game players in the United States, the interactive entertainment industry is committed to building inclusive and welcoming spaces for everyone. Supporting and connecting with LGBTQ+ leaders, developers and players to implement meaningful activations to honor the Queer player community remains a year-round priority. As a proud advocate for increased visibility and representation, ESA is proud to spotlight several members’ activations surrounding Pride this year.
- Activision Blizzard celebrated Pride inside and outside games. Overwatch 2, a game known for creating online experiences that portray characters across a spectrum of identities, hosted its first-ever in-game Pride event. The Overwatch 2 team added various in-game updates such as emblematic LGBTQ+ heroes, new short stories about characters’ identities and an updated Midtown Map adorned with Pride flags. The company’s LGBTQ+ Employee Network also created Pride-themed apparel, with all net proceeds going to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
- Riot Games collaborated with LGBTQ+ artists from around the world to make artwork that brings its “Proud and Fierce” theme to life. Since Riot’s in-game pride celebrations began in 2018, Riot’s added to the content each year while also celebrating in its esports and through employee activations. Across Valorant, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics and League of Legends (PC and Wild Rift) players can celebrate Pride and enjoy community art creations in seven unique styles.
- Sega made a donation to OC Pride, an organization not only responsible for Orange County’s Pride march, but numerous other events throughout the year. Sega also participated in the march and distributed free Pride merchandise to attendees and staff. In addition, Sega raised funds for the Kaleidoscope Trust, a UK-based charity focused on fighting for the human rights of LGBTI+ people internationally. Their mission is to help create a world where LGBTI+ people are free, safe and equal everywhere.
- Sony Interactive Entertainment celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community through a number of organized activities and internal events spearheaded by its Employee Network (eNet) PRIDE@PlayStation. This included spotlighting individuals from the eNet on its corporate social channels to participating in global Pride parades in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, London and more together with the Sony Group. Individual studios also led external and internal events to support the community. For example, Bungie partnered with the non-profit organization the It Gets Better Project, a global movement dedicated to uplift LGBTQIA+ youth. By purchasing a Pride pin 2.0 or donating to the Bungie Foundation, the Bungie community was empowered to directly support the It Gets Better Project initiatives. Bungie also celebrated a return to the official Seattle Pride Parade, a feat that brought the studio and Destiny 2 players together to celebrate what Pride Month means to them.
- Ubisoft’s global LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG), UbiProud, created a task force to craft the foundation for this year’s Pride celebration. The group’s selected theme, “Together in Pride: we’re here, we’re queer, all throughout the year,” underscored the notion of inter- and intra-community solidarity. In addition, Ubisoft shared more about its three-year LGBTQIA+ roadmap to create a more inclusive company culture through training, support for internal LGBTQIA+ communities, representation in games and more.
- Xbox Game Studios Publishing announced a long-term partnership with GLAAD to support its LGBTQ+ team members and partner with studios and game developers in the community to produce more projects that increase LGBTQ+ representation and visibility in games. Microsoft Rewards members in the United States could also earn and donate points to organizations such as GLAAD, Outright International and the National Center for Transgender Equality. In addition, the Xbox Ambassadors Program highlighted stories, experiences and recommendations from Ambassadors in the community in its Xbox Ambassadors blog.
- Zynga, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, hosted its annual “Play With Pride” campaign to showcase the importance of diversity and representation in games. All 15 studios under the Zynga umbrella celebrated Pride with in-game content including rewards and Pride-themed events. Zynga and Take-Two Interactive also donated a combined $50,000 to the It Gets Better Project to elevate LGBTQ+ youth. Additionally, Zynga launched a spotlight series featuring zPride members, its LGBTQ+ employee resource group. The spotlight series highlighted the importance of games that champion visibility and representation, the industry’s progress and what to look forward to.