Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, has released a statement about the incident, saying that "it was wrong" and that they "will do better in the future."
Read the full statement below:
At Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was not consistent or aligned to our values. It was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. I know we disappointed many people and I’m personally committed to holding ourselves to higher standards. We must ensure that diversity and inclusion are central to our everyday business and core values. We will do better in the future.
It might be hard to believe that they will "do better in the future" considering this is a problem that has perpetually continued, but it is nice to see them taking some sort of responsibility for their actions.
There have been some amazing strides in gender equality over the last few years, but Microsoft's 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC) proves that it may actually be losing the battle among the gaming industry.
Gaming companies have long been under scrutiny for their sexual objectification of women in games, but the party that took place at Ruby Sky in San Francisco might have been one of the worst cases of blatant sexual objectification to happen as of late: women dancing on small podiums in schoolgirl uniforms on a dance floor.
Surprisingly, the decision was allegedly made by Microsoft, not the venue.
This didn’t go unnoticed, either. Many people took to Twitter to call Microsoft out on their poor choice of entertainment.
One attendee said, “This is the first f*cking time I’ve felt this unwelcome at a games event. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft.”
The head of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg even voiced his disapproval, tweeting that he was “very disappointed to see this," adding that he will "follow up with them."
It’s no secret that the gaming industry uses the male gaze to their advantage, even going so far as to use “booth babes” to help sell their products. This unprofessional practice not only sends the wrong message to boys, but it alienates their female audience that genuinely may way to be a part of the culture, simply to be harassed and isolated due to these terrible “marketing” strategies.
Microsoft and other gaming companies need to change their tune quickly, or a large majority of their audience—in other words, their female audience—will end up feeling so alienated, they’ll lose interest in trying to navigate through the sexism of gaming.
Check out some of the images below:
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters