The Handling Of Diversity & Whether It Matters For A Game Studio! »

It’s a well-known fact that video games have become more diverse in recent years, as more and more studios are courting and hiring from all walks of life. With that said, diversity and inclusion are two buzzwords that are often used by studios and journalists alike. But is it so important? In this article, we’ll take a look at the handling of diversity in gaming and whether it’s a good idea to include it in my game studio.

Last week was International Women’s Day, and we celebrate it as people who play games. As a woman myself (and a gamer), I was pleased to see that the greater gaming community is welcoming of women. There are problems, though. In our gaming industry, we’ve seen issues like the #GamerGate movement that have been hurtful to women. It’s been brought up in the gaming media, too. What’s going on? And should we be worried? What’s being done to make things better?

With the internet becoming more and more diverse, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of growing pains for game developers. This is especially true when dealing with the topic of diversity, which is a sensitive topic for many big and small studios. But it’s not just the big studios that have concerns: for many small developers, diversity is a matter of survival. So, how do you handle these issues as a game developer? If you’re a small developer, what are your resources?

Jason Schreier, a reporter for Bloomberg & New York Times bestselling author of Press Reset + Blood, Sweat, and Pixels recently made a tweet calling out the core talent from Typhoon Studios, the developer behind Journey to the Savage Planet, for opening a new studio called Raccoon Logic! What’s the problem you ask? The team is 100% white males and he felt there should have been a more diverse team. That tweet actually made me wonder, how are we handling diversity correctly?

I feel compelled to tell out that when Jason pointed out this team’s “lack of diversity,” he was greeted with vehement opposition, with some even hurling racial slurs when they discovered he was Jewish. I’ll be honest, I assumed he was white. To be fair, he seems to be white. Race is such a fragile thing, isn’t it? In any event, it generated a lively debate.

There’s no question that having a diverse team, one made up of people of various genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds, benefits and matters for a gaming company in many instances. We’ve seen what happens when a culture becomes almost homogeneous, and when a minority group is either disregarded or mistreated, the culture becomes poisonous.

The poisonous work environments at Ubisoft, Riot Games, and Activision Blizzard come to mind as examples of companies with all-white male leadership. There is, however, something to be said about how diversity should be dealt with.

When it comes to diversity, how do you manage a thorough and fair recruiting process? Do you split down the races, and if so, how do you figure out what proportion of each race you need on your team? Not to mention, if you are employed as a Black, Asian, or Hispanic in a nation (in this instance, the United States, which is unquestionably majority white), are you there because of your ability and qualities, or to meet a quota so that you don’t get called out on social media, as Jason did?

We must also recognize the kinds of individuals that enroll in courses to acquire the talents for which the gaming business is renowned. Let’s take a look at ladies, for example. Regardless of what the media says, the sad truth is that women aren’t as interested in computer science and coding as males are, limiting the pool of women accessible. There’s also the issue that those few women would have had to be aware that a recruiting procedure was taking place in the first place. It’s just unreasonable to expect a start-up business to go to great lengths to employ a woman (and not just one, but a large number of them), putting their operations on hold to some degree. They may be able to, but will they? Only 20% of computer science professionals are women, according to computerscience.org, and although there are many incentives to attempt to recruit them, the reality is that most women are simply uninterested. Even in the year 2021!

I’ve always believed that the best approach to create a healthy and diverse workforce is to guarantee that the recruiting process is objective and fair to all candidates. There’s also the matter of context! Is it fair to assume that since this team is made up of 75% senior citizens, the remaining 25% will be made up entirely of white people? We’ve reached the thorny territory of ignoring one’s own qualities in the sake of the checklist. The movie business, on the other hand, employs individuals depending on the gender they need, so maybe this might be expanded to other fields? We’ll see, but it’s important to have this conversation.

Having a varied workforce is a big advantage, and it helps a lot with understanding different people’s points of view, but it may backfire if it’s not done properly and equitably, in my opinion.

As an example:

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Long time readers of this blog will know that we’ve been committed to encouraging diversity in technology for a long time now. It’s not limited to gender, race, and other human-defined categories, either. It’s quite common these days to hear about the challenges of implementing diversity and inclusion as a business strategy, and it’s easy to see why.. Read more about managing diversity and let us know what you think.

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