In a recent interview, Sarah Bond, Xbox’s head of creator experience and ecosystem, discussed her appearance at E3 2019 and revealed it to be the most significant experience she has had during her time at Microsoft. Bond spoke to Inverse, reflecting on the warnings she received about trolls, her backstage interactions, and the emotional moment she walked off the stage.
“Although I wouldn’t consider it my best performance, it was undoubtedly the most meaningful,” Bond explained. “It was unprecedented for a Black woman to take the stage. While Xbox encouraged me to do it, they also cautioned that it might not be easy. We went through days of rehearsals before the live show. At one point, a staff member who had been with the show for 20 years told me, ‘We never thought we would see this. We’re so proud of you.'”
The gaming industry has struggled with diversity, particularly in terms of representation during major presentations and events. Bond felt compelled to contribute toward changing this perception by speaking at E3, one of the industry’s most significant annual events.
“I realized that I couldn’t be scared or nervous–those feelings were selfish. I had to do it for all the individuals who have been told that they weren’t good enough or didn’t fit the mold. I wanted to do it for them. So, I went out and gave the performance,” Bond shared. “I didn’t feel nervous. It was as if I had left my body. I started crying when I stepped off the stage. It was a good feeling. I hadn’t disappointed anyone. I had the freedom to be myself. It shattered the perception that having me on stage was a compromise or a trade-off, leading to a worse performance. Now, other women won’t have to face those challenges. I’m most proud of being able to change that perception, preventing people from saying such things in the future.”
In the interview, Bond also discussed her efforts to drive change in the gaming industry, including exploring the potential for AI to positively impact game development.
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