Although the video game industry is continually evolving, it is still far from being at a point where it can be called inclusive. Black people, women, and others remain unrepresented in the white, male-dominated gaming industry. However, black women and other unrepresented communities are slowly making waves and forcing change.
How diverse is the gaming industry?
If you are a keen gamer, you will already know that people of color, females, and unrepresented minorities either barely feature in the majority of games, or appear as stereotypical characters. To create more diversity within video game characters, there first needs to be more people of color and women developing games.
In the gaming industry, diversity in gender and race is not reflected in the hiring process. According to the Independent Game Developers Association’s recent Satisfaction Survey, 68% of people in the gaming industry are white or Caucasian. In comparison, only 13% are African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinx, and Indigenous people. And only 13% of employees in the industry are West Asian and Arabian. When it comes to the difference in male and female roles, the gaming industry is very dominated by men. Only 27.8% of people in the industry are female, transgender, or another gender.
Black women are leading the charge in attempting to create inclusiveness within the industry. Here are three who, although you may not know their names, are making significant changes in gaming industry diversity right now.
The internet has created a boom in the gaming industry like never before. You can play online RPGs, puzzles, fight games, slots, and many other types of games at the click of a button. There are plenty of fun slots, table games, and jackpot games to play at online casinos, too, such as the fantastic Casumo online casino. But there is no denying that across all types of games, black women and other minority communities are underrepresented.
However, the more that people of color and unrepresented minorities come together in the gaming community, the more the industry will become challenged on its lack of diversity and forced to change. One woman who is making waves in bringing gamers together is Keisha Howard. With a background in marketing and communications, in 2009, she decided to create Sugar Games. It began as an online community for female gamers. But the platform soon became a network for minorities and unrepresented communities to get together and share their love of gaming. Sugar Games has worked with companies like MTV, Netflix, and Ubisoft.
The educational video games B’Bop and Friends has been getting a lot of attention lately. Created by app developer Grefonda Hardy and her daughter Noelle, B’Bop and Friends assists children with their reading and writing skills.
Grefonda Hardy realized there was a lack of black characters that kids could relate to in educational games. So, she wanted to create a game from an African American perspective, in which children can see themselves in the game’s characters and their experiences. The fun game features two female and two male characters who all have their specific storylines. As they progress through the game, they take on games and activities that enhance the players’ reading and writing skills. B’Bop and Friends also has excellent multiplayer games like tennis and basketball.
Tanya DePass, who is the Diversity Liaison and Programming Director for the GaymerX Foundation, is challenging the status quo on diversity in video gaming. In fact, she is probably the most vocal black woman on the subject right now, and she is helping to make waves across the gaming community and industry.
The Chicago-born queer woman writes on various websites about diversity and feminism in gaming, and much more. DePass has been a keen gamer for many years. Like many others, she realized how white-dominated video games were, and wanted to help make a change. She created the hashtag #INeedDiverseGames, which has become synonymous with the growing movement of people who want to see more diversity in video games.