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Why is game programming not accepted in the black community?

Posted by Jason on September 29, 2017 at 7:20 AM

African Americans constitute a vast demographic of video games. This group is the second largest to play games, after Asian Americans. Yet, there's a paucity of black people within the gaming industry. Actually, only 2.5% of gaming developers are of color. What a sad reality!

That means two or three things. Primarily, African American technology professionals are missing out on getting the best and coolest jobs ever. Secondly, it also means that there's an issue with the negative portrayals and stereotyping of black characters in games. Finally, it explains why game programming isn't accepted in the black community compared to rapping or athletics.

One writer of the gaming site Kotaku, Evan Narcisse points out, ''When thinking about visions of black life and black characters in video games, and the way they're portrayed, I have to contend with the fact that chances are high that there was no black person making decisions about those characters.''

Some people opine that the biggest economic failure in the black community is the lack of brothers and sisters in the Tech market. In the field of game programming, just a simple idea can potentially rake an individual a cool $25M! The simple games that you can purchase for a dollar or less on your device are making folks almost ten times richer from less work compared to an athlete or rapper. So why is programming not accepted in the black community?

Generally, the inexperience of many people in basics such as math and science, which are essential in the field keep most young black community members from the lucrative market.

Where does the problem lie?

The lack of multicultural influence in the games folks enjoy and technology utilized increasingly shape the culture of technology and gaming. Unfortunately, it does so in an unfavorable manner. For instance, in most games black characters appear as racist caricatures such as in Deus Ex: Human Revolution or gangsters like in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Such things contribute hugely to the game programming not being accepted in the black community.

Additionally, with slightly over 2% of gaming developers being black and 296 of 5,907 officials and top managers in the Silicon Valley being Latino or Black, not much is expected to change without more being done.

Shocking statistics

Did you know that black males constitute a large percentage of console/computer gaming? Unfortunately, only 2% of gaming developers are black! By 2020, in the field of STEM, there'll be over 2.1 jobs. With only 5% of the Bachelor degrees going to the African Americans, the community will again be left behind.

The million-dollar question that then begs is, which is the best way of getting more black game programmers?

What needs to be done?

Black game programmers are few. They're far between! Facts like this highlight the opportunities that black folks are unaware of. The literal wealth of opportunity in the gaming industry is out of this world. As the job market continues to focus more on technology, there's utmost need to concentrate on creating more opportunities for black game programmers.

While technical skills are undoubtedly essential, creativity is key. This is where the rub lies. While the number of programmers in the black community is rising tremendously, courtesy of the copious amounts of resources available, much needs to be done. Skills and proficiency in computer programming, science and math need to be nurtured.

Moving forward – is there hope?

The future certainly looks bright. Roughly three years ago, something impressive and a step in the right direction happened. Driving Innovation Hackathon by Black Enterprise turned out to be a major success. More than a dozen programmers rallied together in 3 weeks to come up with amazing concepts, which encouraged environmental sustainability. Everyone in the event created engaging applications within a short time. Of the many entries, one stood out – Elnerdo.

Elnerdo, simply put, is a Mario clone that allows one to clean up polluted environments by jumping on garbage musters. This app emerged 1st runners up in the Hackathon. Elnerdo was a product of two friend black programmers. The style and originality of the app made it stand out.

Most definitely, there have been developments in getting more black engineers and developers into the workforce.

Clearly, there are good things happening out there in the black community in matters technology.

African Americans in the Video Gaming Industry

While scarce, there are some black folks doing amazing stuff in the gaming industry. Do you dream of a career in the gaming industry? Well, you can take inspiration from the following folks:

  1. Andrew Augustin – Andrew is the creative director and founder of Notion Games L.L.C.
  2. Morgan Gray – Gray boasts an impressive career in the game industry having worked on several best-selling games such as The Bureau, Star Wars, and Tomb Raider.
  3. Gordon Bellamy – He is the co-founder of Hangry Studios.
  4. Derek Manns – He is the founder of Sungura Games.
  5. Joseph Saulter – He is the founder of Entertainment Arts Research Inc. His company is one of the leaders in the gaming industry.

Categories: Gaming and other topics

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