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"White Dude" Industry: EA's LGBT Summit Calls For Greater Diversity

Matt Gardner
Diversity, EA, Gender, LGBT

"White Dude" Industry: EA's LGBT Summit Calls For Greater Diversity

EA held a Full Spectrum event in New York yesterday, to discuss the games industry’s approach to LGBT issues. Though the industry is slowly becoming more inclusive, the general consensus was that more diversity is needed from top to bottom, and that the nature of the development culture around video games - as being a predominantly "white dude-ly" industry - needs to change.

"With relentless pressure, change is possible," said Ford Foundation president Luis A. Ubinas [via Gamasutra]. "Attitudes can evolve, and a nation and society can be transformed."

"I want to emphasize the importance of the role you could play," he told game developers. "The images you present and the interactions you allow, are going to help shape the future."

"Somewhere in this country there is a young person... for whom being gay means isolation and secrecy," he continued. "For them to enter fantasy worlds where they can be free to hold hands with a person of their choosing regardless of gender, or make a home with a partner of their choosing... that means they can move from the passive world of television, where they can see other people doing these things, to the active world of gaming, magnifying the impact that we know media can have."

Caryl Shaw, executive producer at Kixeye, expanded on the requirement for greater diversity in the industry, and spoke of gender inequality in the workplace, and called on more women in the industry to reach out and tell their stories.

"It's a white dude-ly industry, still," says Shaw. "In general it is still a very hard place for women to get in, and that's got to change. I hope women are reaching out, doing internships and trying to mentor women... I've been really lucky, but I also have a really big mouth; I've gone out and said, 'I'm going to be out, I'm going to be really loud, I'm going to try to tell my story and get more women involved because I want things to change.' I want the next generation of game developers to not be 15 percent women, 85 percent men."

The ESA's Dan Hewitt concurred, suggesting that working environments need to become more inclusive.

"If you can create a safe space where all your employees feel comfortable, you're going to keep people like Caryl, who will create awesome games that will sell [and] please your shareholders," he explains. "It just makes good business, when companies take these steps."

Add a comment6 comments
Late  Mar. 8, 2013 at 14:21

Bunch of self-important people trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

I'm playing a game at the moment (the game isn't important, but it's Dungeon Siege 3 out of interest) where you can choose from four characters - two male, two female. It doesn't tell you they're all heterosexual, and I've no interest in knowing.

I'm a white middle-aged guy, but I'm free to pick any of the four I please.*

Equally, I couldn't care less if the programmers, artists, PAs, and testers are straight, gay, or bi-curious.

Late  Mar. 8, 2013 at 14:21

*I chose one of the two scantily clad women. My sidekick is the other one. In my head they're totally lesbos. :D
Some people say I don't get political correctness. Those people might have a point.

MrsGay  Mar. 8, 2013 at 14:49

Wolfenstein 3G... the G meaning gay.

Marketing blurb: "Now you can kill Nazis if you're gay too!"


Tsung  Mar. 8, 2013 at 16:35

I'm confused, when applying for positions in the industry are you asked about your sexual preferences?

As for gender inequality surely it's partly due to the lack of females who want to be involved?. It's all gravy saying we want a mix of gender/race/disability/age but they must want to work in the industry AND be able to do the job they are employed to do. If there is a massive pool of untapped talent due to -ism's fair enough.. otherwise stop trying to force it :/

Last edited by Tsung, Mar. 8, 2013 at 18:28
Quietus  Mar. 8, 2013 at 17:30

Pathetic. I have never heard it mentioned before now, and doubt that I ever would have had some crusader not come along to highlight the non-existent issue. I never even consider it when I'm playing games. The guy I'm playing as is just the guy I'm playing as, and the guys that made the game are the guys that made the game. Would I feel all warm and fuzzy if I was suddenly told that part of a game's production was done by a one-armed transexual midget? No.

Ilium  Mar. 9, 2013 at 01:16

I dunno, personally I'd like to see a greater variety of protagonists. We've had some really boring ciphers in recent years. Seriously, this generation has been awful for uber-boring protagonists:

Cole McGrath
Alex Mercer
Any character in Gears of War
The Prince - POP: Forgotten Sands
The guy from Inversion
Even Kratos is now a really boring character. He's angry, we get it. F*cks sake!
Niko Bellic
Connor Kenway
Even Nathan Drake is a combination of pre-existing characters

I remember time when people used to take risks with characters. Look at Guybrush Threepwood and George Stobart. Two unclassic heroes that I loved. I adored Beyond Good and Evil and The Longest Journey, because they were a little bit different. So many things today feel like wallpaper. I'm really enjoying Tomb Raider now exactly because of that slightly different perspective. Rhianna Pratchett is my new hero!

Also, she's a Pratchett...automatically awesome :D

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