Improving diversity in the game industry is about more than hiring
"Bringing fresh talent into the industry only for them to leave again because it’s not a culture that seems to want or welcome or support them is at least as damaging as not encouraging them to join the industry in the first place."
- The Chinese Room cofounder Dan Pinchbeck, speaking to The Guardian about the state of diversity in game development.
It's 2017. What can be done to make the game industry more diverse?
That's the question The Guardian tackles in a recent feature, and while the article is UK-centric, it's well worth reading for any game makers who want to learn more about what some folks in the region are doing to encourage people of all backgrounds and gender identities to pursue careers in game development -- and stick with them.
That last bit is especially notable because when we talk about diversity (or lack thereof) in the game industry, we typically focus more on education and hiring than on retention. The Chinese Room (Everybody's Gone To The Rapture) cofounder Dan Pinchbeck addresses this directly, telling The Guardian that game devs can help by taking time to think about what sort of culture they cultivate at their studio.
"It’s about creating a visible culture that is genuinely open to all and doesn’t just pay lip service to the idea of diversity,” Pinchbeck said. "Bringing fresh talent into the industry only for them to leave again because it’s not a culture that seems to want or welcome or support them is at least as damaging as not encouraging them to join the industry in the first place."
Of course, that's just one aspect of the issue; the full article touches on many others, including the value of having a diverse development team and the importance of not discouraging women or minorities from pursuing technical studies.
"It starts at a very young age; the choice of subjects at school and parental influence can play a huge role in the likelihood of girls and minorities applying themselves to pursuing studies that are relevant to our industry,” Ubisoft exec Giselle Stewart told The Guardian. “These students will help to shape the future of our industry, and will play an important role in increasing diversity and representation among game developers. That in turn will play a role in increasing the diversity of games themselves.”
You can read further comments from Stewart, Pinchbeck, and many others over on The Guardian's website.