Newsletter #86 - Video games industry's diversity problem

Video game industry’s discriminatory problem

Gamers, unite! This week, we get our game on with the video game industry. By 2025, analysts predict the global games market will generate revenues over $260bn—that’s greater than the music and movie industry combined.

But as the industry has grown, we also see the gaming industry battling its dark side of discrimination and toxicity, both in-game and in the workplace. Let’s find out how we’re changing that.

Good luck have fun,
Team NC

🎮Patching up video game industry's discriminatory & toxic practices

#TRENDS

Toxic work culture in Asian gaming firms, in Singapore, China and South Korea [SCMP]

Singapore investigation -  The gaming news site Kotaku recently wrote a story about Ubisoft Singapore which had accusations of sexual harassment. One accusation was that a senior exec asked a female employee to kiss him on the cheek. In another, a woman allegedly had her shoulders rubbed by a colleague in a lift. Ubisoft is now under investigation by Singapore’s national employment watchdog.

Other scandals in the region - Gaming superpowers China and South Korea are also increasingly seeing the dark side of video game development come into light. The Chinese game developer, Game Science, became mired in controversy after its founder made a string of vulgar comments when they announced their latest game.

South Korea’s gaming sector also sparked controversy when Seoul-based IMC Games did an investigation into a female worker suspected to harbour “antisocial ideology” because she followed feminist groups on social media.

#BUSINESS

How the gaming industry can ‘level up’ in diversity [GWI]

Female gamers on the rise - In 2020, 4 out of 10 gamers in the US were women. And in Asia, which accounts for 48% of the world’s total gaming revenue, women now make up nearly half of the Asian gaming population, according to Google and Niko Partners.

Signs of change - Organisations such as Women in Games, are advocating for a reimagination of the industry, free of gender discrimination, by addressing the culture from workforce, product and the player community perspectives.

In recent years, we’re seeing increased diversity in games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a game set in India and has two leading women, and Assassin's Creed Origins, which is set in Egypt, has an African protagonist and addresses racial diversity.

#TECH

How major companies are fighting toxicity in gaming [PCMag]

AI toxicity police - Player toxicity (like misogyny, racism and cyberbullying) erodes gaming communities. In 2019, game developer Valve launched Minerva, an AI program that verifies if players' reports of toxic behaviour are real and takes action. Briefly, the AI analyses messages during the game to detect if the alleged report is a “false flag” or a real issue, and hands out corrective actions within seconds.

Giving community control - While Blizzard had some success fighting toxicity by tracking down toxic players on- and off-game, the results weren’t scalable. So in 2018 they launched a new social feature—an endorsement system in which players get a badge to their name if other players endorse them for positive actions. According to Blizzard, this in-game policing system has led to a 40% reduction in overall toxicity.

Sidequest reads - It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this 🗡️

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