diversity, video games, race, races, inclusion

Industry Heads Clash Over Responsibility For Diversity In Games

Throughout the GX3 conference on LGBTQ gaming, you hear lots of talk about diversity: from the treatment of different races in online forums and male over-representation in gaming conventions to the exclusion of trans and disabled people in games overall. But while everyone agrees on more diversity in gaming, disagreement remains over who is responsible for creating such change.

Several industry professionals shared their opinion at a GX3 panel entitled, “Diversity in games — what’s next?”, and we kept track. Here’s what they had to say:

Matthew “Berek” Anderson — a community manager at the art and technology company Six Foot Studio — believes:

“Talk and executing diversity starts with a community voicing out their need for more inclusion. Executives and developers are constricted to what the higher link in the chain approves or not. If the public shows interest, it creates a market and then the industry will find ways to provide.”

Tanya DePass — founder of the site Why I Need Diverse Games — thinks:

“It is developers that have the power. They are the ones creating the game and thus have opportunity to be more diverse. Companies can claim to want to be more inclusive in their hiring and practices, but… if their actions don’t back up their claims, it makes no significant difference.”

David Gaider, senior writer for EA’s Dragon Age series — a game noted for its inclusion of gay and bisexual romantic options — adds:

“There is no way to create a diverse executive. It is new employees and their fresh ideas that added to the already established industry, make a change in how diversity spreads. Developers and contributors to the game creation process need to express themselves about topics and/or situations that can factor in diversity.”

Joe Perez — a developer for Zyon Games, a games distributing and marketing company — mentions:

“At the end of the day, gaming is a business and corporations care more about profit. But they are trying out diversity a little bit at a time, testing the waters of sorts. It is not always a big leap because even though some developers might want to inject more diversity inside games, there is an issue with how much control they have with the project. The bigger the company, the less control that developers have.”

And lastly, Donna Prior — Executive Director of OrcaCon, the inclusive analog games convention in Everett, Washington, says, “Developers should start leading by example. Developing a diverse game starts by putting value to outside feedback. Developing a game should not be done inside of a vacuum.”

Previously published December 13, 2015.

GX, or GaymerX, is a “queer space”; a yearly convention in Santa Clara, California, where panels center on queer themes, but all are invited and welcomed. As a proud media sponsor of GaymerX, Unicorn Booty covers gaming issues of all sorts. Tickets are available at GaymerX.com.

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