The Xbox Pride Controller: a synonym of collective effort

The Xbox Pride Controller: a synonym of collective effort

By Valentina Tuta

The Xbox Pride Controller, a synonym of collective effort, inclusion and intersectionality. A new initiative that Microsoft implemented to emphasize that their company is a place totally open to new philosophies. Thus, we know that within the crowd of Xbox fans, a controller is the most important tool for any gamer, but in recent times, it has become not only an accessory but also a canvas that allows them to express who they are and what they care about. 

This is why the Xbox Pride Wireless Controller was born, a proposal that Microsoft presented as support for the LGBTQIA+ community, an effort that has actually been in place since 2019, the year that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. From that time on, countless team members expressed their interest in dealing with the issue in a meaningful way, since behind closed doors and long before it became a common practice, the company’s ideology was always leaning towards global advocacy, charitable giving and best practices in the workplace for LGBTQIA+ people. 

Hence, Aleksey Fedorov, director of brand activation (identified as binary and queer) along with his Microsoft design team took it upon themselves to commemorate this moment with a more committed and bold approach to Pride, stating that another purpose for developing this motion is to achieve a message of LGBTQIA+ inclusion, respect and support by projecting their actions on their products.

Now, the design of the controller is clearly inspired by the many banners that belong to the movement and include many gender identities, gender expressions, sexual or romantic orientations, because as Fedorov states, “…we must understand that the community is not a monolith. Everyone’s experience is different and there are many communities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.” 

So by the year 2021, and despite the health conditions at the time that prevented them from mass producing, the first terminals were released as limited versions. And after being so well received, the team gave up their idea of putting the device on the market for a limited time, opting to leave it permanently in the official store. This took a little longer due to the complexity of the 3D design of its buttons and the inclusion of the 34 community flags, so June 2022 became the perfect time for the grand entrance and availability of the Pride controller.

However, this was not the only improvement to the project as the senior Xbox product marketing manager stated that it would be included in the Xbox Design Lab on a permanent basis. “We wanted to give customers the freedom to create their own Pride controller to express themselves and show their individuality and there’s no better place for that than Xbox Design Lab,” said Daniel Ruiz. Therefore, it is a fact that the Pride controller is here to stay and anyone can customize and purchase it at any time.