Microsoft has issued a statement over what it says was an "unequivocally wrong" move to hire female dancers dressed in schoolgirl-style outfits to entertain guests attending its after-party at the Games Development Conference (GDC).
Photos from the San Francisco Xbox event emerged on social media on Thursday night (17 March), as attendees took to the platform to blast the tech giant for the decision.
Others pointed out that the stunt reinforced the notion that gaming is an industry by men, for men and was a setback to Microsoft's diversity initiatives.
Responding via a blog post head of Xbox Phil Spencer said the decision to hire the dancers "was absolutely not consistent or aligned" to the company's values.
"It’s unfortunate that such events could take place in a week where we worked so hard to engage the many different gaming communities in the exact opposite way.
"I am personally committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion is central to our everyday business and our core values as a team – inside and outside the company. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards and we will do better in the future," he added.