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It’s not new that today a diversity problem permeates most spheres of business.
The game development didn't manage to walk away from this too. Considered to be friendly, open-minded and welcoming, the industry tends to be stereotyped. Although we are taught that talent doesn’t know boundaries, people face few opportunities trying to succeed in the game dev industry due to their color, gender, nationality, etc.
The issue is very current, but there are dozens of communities to crack it. The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is one of them. It’s a non-profit organization that helps developers build a bright career regardless of their age, gender and race. According to their recent survey, 78% of the people in our industry identify as men. The same goes for people of color as speakers at the conferences and professional events. In simple words, if you are invited to perform at the global game conference, you are most likely a white man.
To fix this, the IGDA launched a Speaker Diversity Grant for speakers who represent the minorities in game development. The grant covers all the travel expenses including hotel and transfer. This year the grant has been offered to four speakers to give them an opportunity join the 4C Game Developers Conference organized by Wargaming.
Wargaming is a global community of professionals. It’s always been a company that appreciates people for their talent, and we are extremely grateful to have IDGA support. Our team is what moves us forward, and we don’t choose between a male and female, black and white, young and middle-aged. We just hire and make legendary games.
Colleen is the Senior Director of Analytics for EA SPORTS and the Competitive Gaming Division at Electronic Arts, working with well-known franchises such as FIFA and Madden. Her organization partners with game designers and marketers to provide insights to level the player experience. Colleen views herself as a data advocate, encouraging the adoption of data-informed decisions throughout the organization.
Emre Deniz is the founder of the award-winning game studio Opaque Space and is one of the first developers of consumer VR in Australia, specializing in developing, designing and overseeing games for training and entertainment.
He is internationally recognized for his work in Virtual and Mixed Reality, having been previously named by MCV Pacific 30 Under 30 award list as 'one of the most influential figures in VR in Australia' and winning numerous domestic and international awards for both Serious and Entertainment games.
He has been an active advocate for diversity, accessibility and ethical development in VR and regularly speaks at conferences and lectures on game design, community building and development in VR.
Judith oversees daily studio operations and production as COO at Big Huge Games, a mobile game company just outside Baltimore, MD.
She's been in the games industry for over 15 years, starting with MMO development at Turbine. She's also worked at Sierra Online, EA, Zynga and a few other game studios before joining Big Huge Games.
Before the games industry, Judith was a broadcast and sound engineer for many years, and also worked at one of the first wave internet portals, Excite, launching search services in Europe.
She is an industry veteran who has been working in AAA console development for over 7 years. She has worked at a variety of companies including EA, Sony Santa Monica Studio, and Massive Entertainment, and is now serving as a Producer at Sharkmob in Malmö, Sweden where they are working on an unannounced project.
More about the IGDA:
More about the Speaker Diversity Grant: