Programming for Success: The Video Game Industry’s Focus on Improving Access and Opportunities for Underrepresented Communities.

  • 09.22.2022
  • DE&I

For years, video game companies have been creating educational and career-building opportunities which may lead to fruitful jobs in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, including those in the industry. In particular, they’ve created programs ensuring that underrepresented communities are provided with opportunities which nurture their talents and facilitate access to the industry.

So it’s encouraging to see that, recently, roughly a handful of well-known companies launched additional programs which further leverage resources and expertise to expand that access. Below is a roundup of their efforts.

Career-Changer: In July, Activision Blizzard launched Level Up U, an immersive, 12-week program preparing both non-industry professionals and current employees working in other departments to become full-time game developers. The program’s first cohort of 104 participants are embedded as paid employees, with their training—a combination of in-person and virtual—focused on video game engineering. Eighty-five percent of the cohort comes from non-gaming industries, including health care, finance and aerospace, 40% identifies as belonging to underrepresented ethnic groups and 45% are women and non-binary participants. Read more here.

Improving Mental Health: Riot Games recently announced that it’s partnering with Take This, a nonprofit focused on destigmatizing mental health issues in the video game industry. Together, they’re taking a two-fold approach to creating safe and inclusive environments. First, they’re developing what will be a free, mental health curriculum designed to meet the needs of both casual and professional streamers. They are also facilitating a Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)-produced video series which will enable participants to share their experiences and receive support. For more about the partnership, check out this story.

Top-Tier Partners: In September, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced a multi-year partnership with USC Games, one of the country’s most prestigious video game programs. It begins with a $3 million contribution to the USC Games Gerald A. Lawson Fund, with backing from SIE’s PlayStation Career Pathways Program. The aim of the partnership is to provide support for Black and Indigenous students studying game development and design. This story provides more details.

A Dynamic Duo: In late August, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it would team up with Rocksteady Studios, maker of the Batman: Arkham game series and the upcoming Suicide Squad, to launch a 12-week training program in the UK to help set underrepresented people up for success in games development. Known as the Warner Bros Discovery Access x Rocksteady Studios Games Academy, the program will prepare participants for roles in art, audio, game design and quality assurance testing. Click here to read more.

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