Video Games aren’t an exclusive club that only a select few get to play and enjoy. There’s no one type of gamer, and this year, E3 has gone out of its way to celebrate diversity and inclusion in gaming, reminding everyone that regardless of race, gender, and ability, they can be a gamer and a welcome part of the gaming community.
Some of the highlights of E3’s inclusivity efforts included a Mental Health: How to Play Support panel, a Young Entrepreneurs in Gaming panel, a Black Representation in Gaming panel, and an Accessibility in Gaming Panel. E3 also hosted a special panel called What the Vox: Wonder Women in Voice Acting with leading women voice-over artists from a variety of popular games.
The deepest dive into inclusivity was perhaps the Take-Two Interactive Panel on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This extensive panel explored a number of efforts the publisher makes in inclusion, from addressing systemic discrimination issues, handling recruiting with diversity in mind, and providing a variety of programs to foster a more diverse gaming community not just of players but of creators as well.
Alan Lewis, VP of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at Take-Two Interactive, kicked things off discussing Take-Two’s interest in providing opportunities for youth to begin on a path to become creators in gaming with everything from need-based financial support to internships and mentorships within the company.
After that, the panel opened up with guests focused on a variety of diversity and inclusion efforts for the gaming industry. Jim Huntley, a professor in the USC Games program, discussed the opportunities and scholarships, like the Gerald A. Lawson Endowment Fund for Black and Indigenous Students, available to students to provide them the training and resources they need to get into the games industry. But, he suggested the need to provide resources and encourage inclusion at younger ages.
That’s where Susanna Pollack’s Games for Change and Laila Shabir’s Girls Make Games come in. Susanna Pollack discussed how Games for Change provides opportunities for students as young as elementary school age in Title 1 schools to explore the gaming industry, providing valuable STEM skills and letting kids see a career pathway for themselves in gaming. Laila Shabir, the creator of Girls Make Games, expressed the importance of creating welcoming spaces for girls to explore games with one another, rather than leaving them to feel like outsiders in events where they might be the only girl. The program also lets them see professionals in gaming to better be able to picture a future for themselves in gaming.
This was just a portion of Take-Two and E3’s focus on inclusion and diversity in games. And, with the games industry growing to provide interactive experiences to an increasing number of gamers with games telling more diverse stories from the unique perspectives of new creators, you can be sure this emphasis on inclusion is just the start of a positive shift for the games industry to provide a more welcoming environment to all the people who make it great now and who may make it even greater in the future.