President & CEO, Entertainment Software Association
Video games now constitute the dominant form of entertainment in the world. One in three people on the planet play video games, as do two in three Americans. Indeed, a growing number of people across age, gender, and other demographic measures indicate that they find tremendous value in video games, as outlined in the annual research report 2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry. As video games become more influential in society, a key challenge remains: Enhancing opportunities for diverse creators and innovators looking to join this vibrant sector.
The need to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the video game industry is not new. The video game sector has long championed corporate policies and practices that encourage diverse candidates to join its workforce while supporting organizations and institutions that prepare such candidates for these opportunities.
These efforts received renewed urgency in light of the societal awakening on racial inequity prompted by the killing of George Floyd in 2020. In the immediate aftermath, the video game industry contributed nearly $20 million to social justice organizations including Black Lives Matter, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. However, growing opportunities for diverse candidates to join and flourish in this dynamic industry must remain the priority.
In recent years, several video game companies have supported organizations that train and mentor young innovators of color in technology skills, such as Black Girls Code, Gameheads, Girls Make Games, and Hidden Genius Project. Others are working with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to hire more interns and full-time employees from underrepresented groups. And, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation, which was founded more than two decades ago, has awarded more than 400 scholarships to power the dreams of underrepresented students earning a degree in computer science or video game arts and sciences.
As video games gain an increasingly diverse audience, look for the industry to continue making a sustained and focused effort to welcome and encourage diverse talent into the workforce.