games gaming black diversity industry series

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

The Gaming Industry Has a Diversity Problem. Here’s Why It’s So Important ThatWe Fix ItPhoto Credit: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 04: Players compete in theStreet Fighter V: Arcade Edition grand championship during day three of the2019 Evolution Championship Series at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on August04, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)This article was originally published on 08/06/2019Thanks to ever-improving technology, the gaming industry has seen substantialgrowth. In 2018, video games brought in $131 billion in profit, with mobilegaming being one of the main sources of revenue. According to GlobalData, theindustry is likely to become a $300 billion industry by 2025. Although thefinancial growth is great, there is still a huge diversity problem that’sblatantly obvious in some of the gaming industry’s top companies. As videogames continue to impact and shape people’s childhood and society as a whole,that lack of diversity can have drastic consequences.Across the gaming industry, only 1 percent of professionals identify as Black,according to the 2017 International Game Developers Association SatisfactionSurvey. If you take a look at some of the big names in gaming, you’ll noticethat Black people — and Black women specifically — often don’t make the cut.This lack of diversity can show up in the messages that games spread. Forexample, many called out the Watch Dog series for its anti-Black racism. Theseries — set in a fictionalized Chicago — seemed to assemble its Blackcharacters from some of the worst stereotypes around. Back in 2015, gamecritic Austin Walker summed up part of the issue for Kotaku:> “But, the result, in games like Watch Dogs, is that blackness is presented> as pathological. The black spaces are violent, ruined, and dangerously> mysterious. The black characters, at best, overcome that violence through> exceptional intelligence or talent, or, at worst, give into their darkest> urges. Sometimes there’s a degree of sympathy in this sort of depiction:> “Wow, look at how bad they have it.” But what we really need—in games as> well as in other media—is something more complex than this image of> devastated black lives.”Video games have also been called out for promoting Islamophobia. Often, gamestend to feature Muslim characters as villains. This trope is especiallydominant within games meant to simulate war, such as the Call of Dutyfranchise. With rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes — and the hateof Muslims making up a key component of President Trump’s campaign —continuing to rely on Muslims as a representation of backwardness and evilputs communities in danger.Unfortunately, gaming platforms have become key gathering points for whitesupremacists. Discord was used to organize the 2017 “Unite the Right Rally,”where Neo-Nazi James Field ran his car through a crowd of counterprotesters,injuring dozens and killing Heather Heyer. It’s not as if the companiesrunning these platforms are unaware of how they’re being used, either.Steam has come under consistent criticism for existing as a safe space forwhite supremacists. In 2017, Motherboard reported that the platform was “fullof hate groups,” and attributed it to Valve’s hands-off moderation approach. Ayear later, Reveal reported that Steam had 173 groups glorifying schoolshooters. After the Christchurch massacre, over 100 profiles on Steam praisedthe shooter, with some users referring to him as a “saint,” “hero,” and “KebabRemover.”Often, people say the key to improving the gaming industry is solving itsdiversity problem. While having more than just white men creating games mayhelp a little bit, it’s also a long process that not everybody is willing towait for.In this lack of diversity and toxic gaming culture, marginalized groups —including Black women — have developed their own spaces. Both Thumbstick Mafiaand Brown Girl Gamer Code, founded in 2015 and 2017 respectively, facilitatestreaming channels, provide forums for discussion, and even have podcasts.“There is power in diversity. But nobody gives a fuck unless I cansubstantiate it in a million different ways,” Keisha Howard, the founder ofSugar Games, told Ozy. “It’s a lot more motivating to work in a space that isso new rather than try to crack a space that has operated the same way for thelast 40 years.”

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