With this past week’s E3 Expo , I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about video games in the black community. As a percentage of the population, we are disproportionately represented in the gaming community in terms of how much we spend. We love gaming! There is a “Black Gamers for Obama Community” and an invite only groups for friend code exchanges on the Wii. However, when it comes to the development of games, we aren’t even there. Back in April, Angela did a post with information from the MTV’s multiplayer blog about black people in the video game industry. I was very excited to learn about BlueHeat Games a black owned video game company based out of Atlanta, that develops “big games for small screens”. But apart from that… crickets. I got nothing.
Hold on, let me take that back. Reggie Fils-Aimé is Haitian American (he’s the president of Nintendo). The Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Nintendo is also black, and female. Her name is Denise Kaigler. Apart from Nintendo though, if the major gaming companies have black people in high places, they aren’t putting them out there.
Video games give us a chance to get away from the day to day grind and are serving more and more as a global social networking platform. Not all of us get to be Star Athletes, Snipers, lead Guitarist in a band, speak to the animals AND take friends along for the ride regardless to where they live with no long distance charges or travel fees (unless it’s one of those subscription MMOs) all from your living room. We can do what we want in games, and chances are if you are in to something, there’s a game for it and someone out there who wants to play with you.
Game play is also being personalized with things like Miis (for the record, Wii online play is horrible), gamertags and webcams. As all gaming platforms gain more connectivity and improve their social network aspect, expanding it beyond just the living room, but integrating with handheld devices and online communities. The way money is being spent on games ($8.3 billion so far this year), the sky is the limit, and we are playing so there is a great market opportunity. So why are so few black people capitalizing on this?Category: Trends | Tags: Diversity, game developers, gamers, Gaming, nintendo, wii