The games industry diversity problem is worse than you expected as new data revealed by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) highlights that there is a lot more that needs to be done.
It seems that although there is significant support for more diversity in the games industry, many companies have yet to follow through.
Games Industry Diversity Survey: Companies Aren’t Doing Enough to Address the Issue
The International Game Developers Association published its 2017 Developer Satisfaction Survey report today, detailing the diversity of the games industry and where developers think that the industry is headed. The results are as disappointing as you may expect.
963 game developers were surveyed in total. 79% of those surveyed identify as male, 21% identify as female or non-binary. In terms of ethnicity, 71% are white, and 29% of developers are people of color (Asian, Latinx, or Black). 86% identify as heterosexual, with 14% identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or another non-heterosexual sexuality.
The IGDA survey just confirms what we already know: that the games industry is overwhelmingly straight, white and male and does not properly represent the diversity of the players themselves. But what are companies actually doing to address the diversity issue?
81% of game developers surveyed said that diversity in the industry is very important or somewhat important. 21% also said that “more diversity in game content” would help the industry’s future growth and success. This was the second most chosen option after “advancement in game design” with 22%.
And some companies do have policies in place to increase more diversity in the workforce (e.g Blizzard’s plan to hire more female and minority employees), but only 56% of the developers IGDA surveyed said that these policies are being properly enforced. 25% said that they weren’t sure if their company had any policies regarding diversity and 14% said that their companies didn’t have a policy at all.
Fixing the games industry diversity issue does take effort because the problem is systemic and is a result of years of misogyny and racism. But it’s still frustrating to hear that many companies are not trying hard enough, even when it’s clear that players want their games to offer better representation and tell stories about a wider range of people from a wider range of backgrounds.
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