Special Olympics & Xbox Team Up For First Gaming Tournament At The USA Games

Eight teams of two will battle it out in Forza Motorsport 7.

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The 2018 USA Games takes place July 1-6 in Seattle this year, bringing together more than 4,000 athletes and coaches for 14 Olympic team and individual sports. Today, Special Olympics USA Games announced that it is hosting its first ever gaming tournament with Microsoft as the premier partner.

“Many of our athletes are avid gamers and research indicates playing video games can potentially boost cognitive and motor skills of people with intellectual disabilities,” said Beth Knox, President and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. “We are thrilled to partner with Xbox to bring the first-ever video gaming tournament to the USA Games. We hope everyone will come out and support the competitors in this pilot event.”

The new event is an evolution of the Microsoft's partnership with Special Olympics, which has been ongoing since 2014. Microsoft will provide Xbox gaming stations at the 2018 USA Games fan zone, featuring Forza Motorsport 7, Minecraft, Super Lucky's Tale, and more. In the official competition, eight teams will compete in Forza Motorsport 7. The teams will consist of an athlete with and an athlete without an intellectual disability.

“At Microsoft, we believe that gaming is for everyone so we’re proud to pilot the first gaming tournament at the Special Olympics USA Games this summer,” said Phil Spencer, head of gaming at Microsoft, in the official announcement. “Competitive video gaming is enjoyed by players around the world, and our goal with this pilot tournament is to challenge biases and break down barriers while providing an empowering and fun experience for all players.”

Just last week, Microsoft revealed the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The versatile device, which revolutionizes the gaming experience for gamers with limited mobility, was created with help from AbleGamers, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged. These partnerships and developments are solid steps for inclusion for gaming communities that deserve more recognition. You can find out more about the 2018 USA Games on the official website.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

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