Tanya DePass was video game since what she calls the “ye olden” days of stand-alone arcades.
Over those decades of experience, DePass, who now streams on Twitch as Cypheroftyrhas seen monumental changes during this time.
Yet she continued to witness the same troubling trend over and over again: a severe lack of representation.
“If you look around, the world itself is inclusive and diverse,” DePass told In The Know. “We don’t live in a homogenous world, and for years the supposed demographics of white males 18-35 [for video games] was not the case.
This fact is central to much of DePass’s work – as a writer, Hugo Award-Nominated Editor and of course on his Twitch channel, which has over 20,000 subscribers. This is also the reason why she founded I need various gamesa non-profit organization that advocates for BIPOC and female video game creators, developers and fans.
The project began in 2014 when DePass was watching an announcement for some of the biggest upcoming games of the year.
“Again, it was the same for the usual protagonists,” she said. “Nobody looks like me, no women, nothing like that.”
DePass tweeted his reaction, stating the simple request that would later become the name of his organization: #INeedDiverseGames. The tweet went viraland two years later, DePass founded his nonprofit.
Today, I Need Diverse Games hosts conferences, funds trips to gaming conventions, and publishes articles focusing on diversity in the gaming industry. The group is also a partner of Game Developer Grant Program to advance the careers of budding developers.
Still, DePass knows his organization still has a long way to go. She points the annual statistics from the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), which publishes annual statistics on reconcile Of the industry. In 2021, 75% of game developers identified as white and 61% as male.
“We’re just not in the room,” DePass said.
But she’s not shy about pointing out improvements in the industry. DePass said when she started tracking IGDA data, less than 1% of all respondents identified as black and less than 4% as Asian. Now those numbers have risen to 4% and 7%, respectively.
“Most of the time it’s not intentional racism; it’s that you’re not thinking about an experience that’s not yours,” DePass explained. “And now we’re starting to see a shift in people thinking about that. They hire consultants; they bring other people.
DePass went on to say that 4% is still far “too small” for an industry as large as video games. The problem, she explained, is that representation is only part of the problem. BIPOC and female developers should also feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
“If we’re not in the room, we have no way to address these issues without striving to be the squeaky wheel and losing the jobs that so many of us need,” he said. she declared. “So it’s not just about entering the room; it’s about walking into the room, being heard, and having your ideas treated with respect.
When that finally happens, DePass explained, everyone will benefit. As businesses diversify, so will the games themselves. And it’s not just a win for the workers, it’s also a win for the players.
“Until these [representation] the numbers change significantly, I think a lot of the stories that we’re still going to see will still be centered around the journey of the white male hero and the journey of the white female hero,” DePass said. “And once we can get players to see that it won’t kill them to play outside of their experience, it could actually be refreshing and eye-opening. I think we’re finally going to see some traction.
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