Love of the game has inspired Xbox MVPs around the world to showcase the system and all it can do to build a thriving global community.
Xbox MVPs have demonstrated there are as many ways for gamers to give back to their communities as there are game and entertainment features on the Xbox consoles. Their hard work and diverse background give them a unique perspective that the Xbox product group finds invaluable.
“We constantly listen to feedback that comes in from all parts of the Xbox community,” explained Eric Doty, Strategist for Xbox. "The Xbox MVPs always provide us with honest and professional observations from around their own communities, each with a unique perspective."
The Xbox product team holds monthly calls with their MVPs, and gathers input at events such as the MVP Global Summit and a special Xbox MVP Conference held last February.
“The confidential, very candid conversations we have with MVPs continue to resonate throughout the Xbox organization,” added Eric.
Their insights are gleaned from real-world experiences with Xbox, coupled with a deep level of expertise. For instance, Xbox MVP Kelli Dunlap (aka Goosechecka), a doctoral candidate studying the interaction of video games and mental health and co-owner of the site GrifballHub, a fansite based off of the Halo video game series, recently helped raise almost $10,000 through Kickstarter to purchase a booth at RTX, the Rooster Teeth convention in Austin. The goal: playing Halo (specifically Grifball) at the booth and spreading the love of hammer-smashing and sword-stabbing to approximately 30,000 people. Altogether her team expects to have 400 square feet of Grifball presence at RTX with a confirmed Grifball panel and a potential presence on the main RTX stage. In addition, she and her team have been strongly promoting competitive Grifball as an eSport and they just hit the four-year mark for their weekly podcast, the Grifball Hubcast.
In the meantime, Xbox MVP Zach Wigal’s charitable organization, Gamers Outreach, recently wrapped up Gamers for Giving 2014, a competitive gaming tournament and LAN party that raised more than $20,000 to kick off its charity programs for this year. The event featured a wide array of tournaments as well as a BYOC LAN party and a live stream from game industry guests. More than 700 attendees participated in the event. Zach and his team plan to put the $20,000 toward Project GO Kart, which serves 10,000 children per year in hospitals around the United States. He and his team are also in the process of working with some of the staff at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor to outfit a playroom in the hospital for teenagers. To help fund their efforts, Gamers Outreach recently launched an eBay store, where they’ll sell the older video titles they receive as donations that can't be used directly for their initiatives. “We've posted our first five batches of games to the store, and one of the batches includes a pretty large quantity of original Xbox games!” said Zach.
Xbox MVP Mark Libman has been running OzBoxLive.com since 2007, which is focused on the Australian Xbox community and delivers the latest news, information, announcements, reviews, competitions and more. It also features his podcast, OzBoxLive Radio, which is in its eighth season and about to hit the 100th episode. The podcast features guest interviews from game directors, producers, celebrities, artists, designers and, of course, community members. Mark also contributes to The Official Australian Xbox Magazine, sharing his thoughts about games, the industry and the community.
Another editor and writer, Xbox MVP Andrew Edney, covers everything from news and reviews, to interviews and special features on Connected Digital World, a website dedicated to movies, games and tech. The site has been around now for about eight years. “The passion from the community keeps us going from strength to strength,” said Andrew. “Being an Xbox MVP really means a lot to me, because it means I am part of a very unique community, one that is always happy to help one and other.” Andrew also has written a number of books on various technical subjects, including one on the Xbox 360.
A lifelong music junkie and former music performer, Xbox MVP Marques Lyons has been evangelizing Xbox Music to the broader public and using its features and services to connect communities. He utilizes social media to not only bring awareness to what Xbox Music is about, but his own personal love of music as an invitation for others to discuss their musical habits and, by extension, showcase how Xbox Music can benefit them. Recently he’s shared a weekly playlist of cool music he’s discovered (or rediscovered) on his blog.