Microsoft and the Special Olympics are teaming up to host an Xbox virtual gaming event on May 30. The two companies began hosting e-sports tournaments at the Special Olympics starting in 2018 but the coronavirus pandemic means the event will be a digital-only affair this year — but don't worry, they're definitely in good company.
More than 26 athletes from 11 states will be participating in this year's event, sharing stories about themselves with the public as they face off in Forza Motorsport 7. With other Olympic events indefinitely postponed, e-sports are in higher demand than ever and it's great to see these athletes unlock their achievements despite any and all current obstacles. There will even be an awards ceremony hosted live in Minecraft, which is frankly cooler than any ceremony we've ever seen. Well, except maybe the Spice Girls.
Using tech to support a disadvantaged population — In a release, the two organizations say that they have been working together since 2014 to empower athletes with disabilities through the use of technologies like Xbox. It's already challenging enough to foster a community among the globally dispersed population of people with disabilities and the current need for social distancing is making it harder to build those connections with similar people. This event, and more and more gaming itself, are experiences that everyone can enjoy. Except for Knack. Nobody enjoyed Knack.
People with disabilities face unique challenges during the pandemic, as they often need assistance from healthcare workers with everyday tasks like grocery shopping. But avoiding infection means this type of assistance has been curtailed.
By streaming this year's competition online, a broader community will be able to connect with and cheer these athletes on. Just remember athletes, as in real life, always protect your healers!