Google Play announces a new program in order to support diverse mobile game developers and inclusive game design. Google specifically highlights women, people of colour, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities as “underrepresented groups” in the games industry.
The move follows in the footsteps of several other major gaming companies, with Overwatch developer Blizzard and live-streaming platform Twitch launching diversity initiatives too.
Google Play Inclusive Gaming Initiative Announced
Called Infinite Deviation: Games, the program has been set up by Google Play and creative collective We Make. It “supports inclusive stories and emerging voices in mobile game design and development.”Creators have the chance to pitch an original game concept and the have it developed, published and promoted in partnership with Google Play.
A panel of expert judges will then select the top three game concepts, judging the ideas on the criteria of how the game’s story can resonate with underrepresented players, creativity, and innovation. The top three will then receive resources from Google Play, including promotional support, “regular check-ins” with a Google Producer and “project managing guidance,” according to an FAQ.
In a blog post, the team also explains that “By promoting original games that resonate with underrepresented audiences, we hope the program creates more favorable perceptions of computer science, bust biases, and nurture acceptance through an activity many enjoy.”
Submissions will be accepted until October 3. The FAQ also notes that applicants must be aged 18 years or older, they must be living in the United States, and must have less than tow years of professional experience working in the games industry (school work doesn’t count towards this.)
Google has made the headlines for its diversity in recent weeks, but not for the best reasons. The company came under fire after an anti-diversity memo that made disparaging comments against women and ethnic minorities was circulated throughout the company and then leaked to the public. The company is currently facing a lawsuit for wage disparity, relating to its female employees.
So while this Google Play initiative supporting marginalised mobile game developers is welcome, there’s no denying that Google as a whole could do more to support marginalised creatives and developers in the tech industry. Infinite Deviation and this new Games spin-off must be just one small step in the company’s overall plans.
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