Xbox's Melissa Boone Is Leveraging Data To Make Room For More People Who Look Like Her In The Gaming Industry
Photo Credit: Xbox

Xbox's Melissa Boone Is Leveraging Data To Make Room For More People Who Look Like Her In The Gaming Industry

Xbox is continuing to make strides toward a more inclusive gaming community.

Research reveals that people who identify as white make up 68 percent of the video game industry.

Yet, there’s still 13 percent of that community that is made up of Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Pacific Islander, Indigenous people, and LGBTQ+ communities and Xbox wants to ensure that their content reflects all gamers.

In honor of Pride Month, the gaming system is amplifying LGBTQIA+ voices within the industry by championing those who are committed to inclusion and breaking down barriers so that everyone can experience the joys of gaming.

One of those voices happens to be Melissa Boone. Boone is a part of the team of behavioral scientists providing user feedback and insights to Xbox’s game development teams.

Her role as a research manager on the Xbox Research & Design team allows her and the team to center the user experience around everything that the company develops.

For Boone, representation is key in her day-to-day experience with the company.

“Representation, to me, means feeling seen and heard — getting the chance to identify with voices and faces like your own in the media that you consume,” shared Boone in an interview with AfroTech. “I love it when I play a game and there’s a Black female character in it, someone who looks like me; I love it even more when that character’s story and dialogue are written in a way that feels ‘true’ to me as a Black woman.”

She further explains how small things like the character’s hair and movements make a difference in her experience as a gamer.

“When her hair reflects our reality when the way she moves reflects the way I know Black women move…there are so many layers,” she continued. “Representation goes deeper than just having a panoply of diverse identities in games; it’s about understanding the perspectives of the people that inhabit those identities, and integrating those perspectives into the media we watch, play, and create.”

Thanks to people like Boone, the company is well on its way to making a change in the gaming world.

Click here for more on Xbox’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.