There's nothing like a good logo design controversy to excite the internet, and Xbox dropped a stunner this week when it appeared to set fire to its Pride Month logo, turning it into a burning inferno. Cue headlines like 'Xbox changes Pride logo to burning fires of hell'.
Did Xbox really want to suggest that members of the LGBTQ community are going to hell? Of course not. It just committed one of those massive social media blunders that occur when a company is torn between showing social values and plugging a new product (see our pick of the best Xbox games).
June is Pride Month, and it's become a tradition for companies to show their support for equal rights for the LGBTQ community through Pride-inspired graphic design. Microsoft's Xbox seemed to be well on board, changing the Xbox logo on its social media accounts to a design inspired by the colours not only of the original Pride flag but also the Progress flag and the transgender and non-binary flags.
It clearly thought it had done its part because less than a week into the month, it changed its profile pics again to show the Xbox logo engulfed in the fires of hell. The comically inappropriate juxtaposition was the result of the June 5 release of Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo IV, a heavily hell-oriented action role-play game. Twitter was quick to see the unfortunate connotations.
So @Xbox You made this specific change during the week that *checks notes*Republicans are literally burning pride imagery and threatening genocide. How did you think this was a good idea? Diablo aside, this is a really bad look. https://t.co/yzd22KCqkVJune 6, 2023
i’m sobbing this is literally this meme 😭😭😭 https://t.co/gdkQNJG858 pic.twitter.com/2bqpFdn2KIJune 5, 2023
xbox on june 1st vs 3 days later pic.twitter.com/8Aw1RN0F8M https://t.co/JJJh3vZF7nJune 4, 2023
Of course, there's no rule that says a company has to use a Pride logo at all, let alone leave it up for the entire month. But the incredibly short lifespan of Xbox's design, and the fact that it was sacrificed for more pressing commercial needs, won't help to dispel scepticism of corporate 'rainbow washing'.
The accidental implications of the Diablo IV montage are particularly unfortunate. I presume Xbox didn't think through how it would look – something that highlights the importance of taking an aerial view of a company's communications. But the worst part of the blunder has been in the way it's provided fuel for the most vocal online bigots, who have been able to jump in and praise Xbox for changing the design. All a huge shame when it looked like they had actually put a bit of work into the Pride logo.
If it's any consolation, steamers are generally reacting positively to Blizzard's attempts to make Diablo IV the most inclusive game in the series. Its character builder lets players customise their appearance in terms of body type, skin tone and hairstyle and add tattoos and piercings, although body shapes are linked to character classes.