Meet the New Xbox MVPs – Xbox Wire

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We are proud to welcome three new Xbox most valuable professionals (MVPs) awardees: Dhayana Sena, Courtney Craven, and Matt Armstrong. Everything from creating a welcoming community to creating awareness of game accessibility, these leaders go above and beyond in the gaming community. Read on to find out more about them and how they impact the gaming community.


Feeling alone and cast aside due to her
love for pop culture and geekdom, Dhayana created her own, community hub, a
website called Attack On Geek. After adding game
reviews and content to her new site, she became aware that several women around
the world often hid their genders/identities in order to be taken seriously
when playing games online. This discovery inspired her to take a stand against
discrimination and create awareness for inclusivity and accessibility in
gaming.

“I’ve always felt that true change comes
from within, so by starting a community that focuses on content for everyone —
regardless of background, level of experience, and such – I hope that others
will feel inspired to do the same,” explains Dhayana.

Overtime Attack on Geek evolved from a
personal blog to a platform that shares all voices and varied content including
writing and streaming. Now, the community has grown beyond Attack on Geek.
Today, there is Women of Xbox Twitter and
Discord accounts to empower female gamers, strengthen community ties, and share
the love of Xbox gaming.

Now for a quick Q & A to learn more
about Dhayana

Anika: If you could talk to girls growing up who love gaming, what
would you tell them?

Dhayana: My advice to girls
who love games and feel alone, is that you’re never really alone. Gaming
connects us all globally and just when you think you’re all alone, you’ll find
someone who may share in your experiences, love the same things you do, and
someone who you might form strong bonds with. So, don’t fret if you feel as if
there’s no one out there who understands you. Trust me, there are plenty!

Anika: What do you like to do in your free time?

Dhayana: Free time? What’s
that? (Laughs). Beyond working on Attack On Geek, Xbox content and Women of
Xbox, I really enjoy keeping up my health and fitness, collectible shopping (I love
anime and comic book statues), and watching anime.

Anika: What is your favorite game of all time?

Dhayana: “Tough pick but if I have to pick just one, I’ve always loved Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.”


Courtney

Two years ago, Courtney, along with her partner, Susan Banks, created Can I Play That? (CIPT)A website dedicated to sharing content about gaming accessibility authored by gamers who have disabilities.

“We wanted to use our platform and
success to pass the microphone to gamers with disabilities and allow them to
speak on the accessibility areas in which they are the experts,” Courtney
explains.

CIPT includes accessibility game reviews,
features why and how contributors play, as well as accessibility reference
guides for game creators and developers.

“We’ve grown massively in our first year
and every so often, I’ll get an email from someone noting that they’d never
even considered the accessibility of games and after visitingCIPT,
learned so much and came away with a new perspective,” notes Courtney, “I’d
like to continue to spread that sort of awareness and I’d also like for us to
help standardize accessibility.”

In addition to all the impactful
information and stories on the site, CIPT Awarded several developers for
accessibility in their games — including Gears 5 for Best Overall
Accessible Game and Apex Legends for Most Accessible Multiplayer Chat. You
can view the full list here.

Now for a quick Q & A to learn more
about Courtney

Anika: What do you want
those who work in the gaming industry to know about the importance of gaming
accessibility?

Courtney: One of our new
contributors wrote our “Blind and
Low-Vision Accessibility Guide
” recently and something she said in it really
stuck with me: Know that blind people want to play your game. I think that’s
the thing that may not be something enough people are aware of. Not just blind
players, but disabled players of all kinds. Know that there is a massive desire
from the disabled community to play your amazing game, so do what you can to
allow them.”

Anika: What do you like to do in your free time?

Courtney: I have a
one-year-old Cattle Dog mix who I’m continually trying to tire out and keep
entertained. She keeps me from spending all my free time sitting in front of my
TV, playing a game. I’m also a fiction writer and I’m hoping to have the
manuscript I wrote for my MFA thesis published.

Anika: What is your favorite game of all time?

Courtney: It’s a tie between the Mass Effect trilogy and the Dragon Age series.


Matt

Matt has been an active Xbox community member and fan for many years. His passion for Xbox led him to becoming a moderator for the XboxOne subreddit, a title he has held for three years. Since then, he has become a moderator for the Xbox Insiders subreddit and is involved with early access discussions on Reddit, “Having an engineer directly respond to issues is a great way to show gamers that you’re listening and working to resolve issues,” explains Matt, “Having that interaction with the community makes for a very positive experience.”

In addition to moderating two subreddits,
Matt is also part of an indie developer studio based in Washington state. Over
the last summer, they released their first game on Xbox called Masked Memories.
In this game, Matt was both the narrator and audio director of the game.

Now for a quick Q & A to learn more
about Matt

Anika: 
What
do you like to do in your free time?

Matt: When I’m not moderating Reddit, I spend time with my 2 girls who are
growing up to be gamers as well. I’m also a voice actor and have been in a few
small YouTube animations, as well as a few indie games. My first role was the
character I (eye) in a Fallout 4 mod called The Code. I’m also the
narrator for the game Masked Memories, and a news reporter in the RPG Exospace.
Outside of that, I’ve starred in a few fanfic dubs and audio dramas. I also
narrate audiobooks for Learning Ally. Outside of that, I’m usually sailing the
treacherous waters in Sea of Thieves or playing one of the countless
games on my Switch.

Anika: What is your favorite game of all time?

Matt: This is a tough one. I’ve been gaming since the dawn of the NES. Looking back through all the games I’ve played I’d have to say my absolute favorite is Super Mario World. In this current gen though, Sea of Thieves is really taking the top spot for me on Xbox and even though it hasn’t dropped yet, I’m confident Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be my favorite on Switch.

More Than an Award

The Xbox MVP award is given to community
leaders and professionals who are committed to helping others through their
passion, knowledge, and expertise in all things Xbox. MVPs spearhead many projects
that impact the gaming community. Everything from starting their own charity
groups to building fun, welcoming communities, MVPs are leaders who go above
and beyond in the gaming community.

For more information about the MVP
program or if you would like to nominate someone check out https://mvp.xbox.com/.





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