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Microsoft is entering a new era, recently naming Sarah Bond as the new President of Xbox. The role is simply historic.
Bond has become the first Black woman to hold the title at Xbox and the first Black woman President of any major multinational gaming company.
Sarah Bond got her start at Microsoft in 2017
The Tennessee Tribune reports Bond previously served as corporate vice president, leading product and experience for game creators across all Microsoft software and services. Bond also has served as head of the company’s DEI initiative and executive sponsor of Blacks @ Microsoft Employee Resource Group.
In her new role, Bond will oversee a number of Xbox teams across devices, player and creator experience, Xbox’s hardware and software platforms, and lead the brand through a possible “redesigned disc-less Xbox Series X …and…hybrid console,” set for release next year and in 2028.
The culture is hitting the reset button on video game representation
Though video games have long been enjoyed by Black Americans, opportunities to unify and uplift through console camaraderie have been limited until recently.
At Winston Salem State University, HBCU students are engaged in esports in a way that is addressing and accelerating their love for gaming.
“There’s a big gap in representation when looking at how many students of color play video games versus how many work in the esports industry,” said Rennae Stowe, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Sports Management at WSSU.
A study from the Pew Research Center found that 83% of Black teens play video games.
However, Black game developers only make up 5% of the industry, according to a study from the International Game Developers Association.
With Bond at the helm of Xbox, it represents a shift in culture and content.
As video games historically featured Caucasian characters and themes, the stories and experiences themselves have often been a creative reflective of those whom created them. A new standard is now set for the annually billion-dollar industry as Bond assumes the Xbox throne.
Speaking about Bond and others internally, The Verge reported Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer sent a memo to Xbox employees, “I’m excited to partner with this team of leaders to advance our mission for the next era of Xbox in service of players and creators. I am confident that they will steer our organization to success in the months and years to come.”
Additionally, she will take charge of leading the future of the brand that could potentially “include a redesigned disc-less Xbox Series X next year and a next-gen hybrid console in 2028,” per The Verge.