>A group of games industry insiders has launched a new initiative to tackle the problem of poor diversity in the UK video game development sector. POC in Play is described by the group as a racial equity and inclusion movement with an aim to improve representation and to provide events and initiatives for people of colour either working in the industry or thinking of joining.
>“The only statistics we do have are really old – that’s part of the problem,” said Chella Ramanan, a journalist and games writer, who along with developer Adam Campbell is a founder of POC in Play. “The newest figure is from a 2015 Creative Skillset report and it shows that just 4% of the UK games industry is from ethnic minority groups. If you compare that with film and TV in the UK, it’s 30% in London and 15% nationally. There’s a big disparity between games and other creative sectors.”
>Other founding members of POC in Play include Moo Yu, co-founder of developer Foam Sword Games, and award-winning technical artist Jodie Azhar, CEO of Teazelcat Games. Ramanan sees the problem of representation in games as self-perpetuating: children of colour don’t see different ethnic groups working in the industry, so may not think of it as a viable career. The lack of diversity is also reflected in the games the industry produces. The situation has improved recently, with leading roles for people of colour in blockbuster games such as Far Cry New Dawn and Apex Legends. Ramanan sees the fact that it is difficult to agree on good examples of representation as part of the problem in an industry where representations of white male heroes are so widespread.
>“There’s a problem of visibility, both of people working in the industry and in the games themselves,” said Ramanan. “The representation is often stereotypical – a black man will often be, say, an LA gang member, but that’s not representing the experience of people in Leeds or Birmingham, or the Caribbean. South Asian people are rarely represented at all. There’s a lack of seeing your own stories being portrayed so young people of colour aren’t being encouraged to think: ‘I could make a game like that.’”
>The organisation, which is being supPost too long. Click here to view the full text.