For the videogame industry to grow, it needs to first grow up

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The videogame industry appears to have hit a watershed moment in 2021 that sent a clear message: Before you can grow up, it’s time to grow up.

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Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI has a “frat boy” culture and allegations of sexual harassment, rape and discrimination,
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The videogames became a public relations nightmare for the publisher, directly affecting the business and game-making’s ability to both keep current workers productive and attract and retain top talent. Similar trouble has plagued “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft and “League of Legends” publisher Riot Games, which this week agreed to pay $100 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit.

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The Videogame Industry Has Grown Into One of the Biggest – If Not the Most The entertainment industry categories the largest in the world, far exceeding movies, TV and book publishing, but growth may be approaching a slowdown. While videogame revenue grew a whopping 24% in 2020 amid a stay-at-home mandate due to COVID-19, experts expect the growth rate to flatten.

Worldwide gaming revenue is expected to come in at $251.39 billion in 2021, up 11% compared to 2020’s $226.84 billion, according to Lewis Ward, director of gaming research at IDC. While that’s still pretty healthy growth, Ward expects a more “dramatic” flattening in 2022, when he forecasts revenue of $256.43 billion, or just 2% growth, compared to expected console/TV sales. With that falls about 6% to $62.75 billion in 2022.

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IDC

Read more: The pandemic boom in videogames is expected to disappear in 2022

Publishers can counteract that growth, but it will be stiff enough: not only will they have to stream new, high-quality and bug-free content in a timely manner, but they also have to expand their audiences beyond conservative gamers — typically younger. Men who Nvidia Corp. Dedicate massive amounts of time playing on a console or gaming PC with NVDA’s superfast graphics card,
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or Advanced Micro Devices Inc. amd,
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The impediment to growth beyond the hardcore gamer is that the decades-old industry was built – quite exclusively – by those same hardcore gamers, so appealing to other customers and retaining videogame developers who are not young men is booming. has become difficult. However, the environment for videogame publishers has not been conducive to attracting and supporting a diverse workforce that could develop games for a more diverse customer base, as 2021 showed, except for a chicken-egg problem that could lead to 2022 will be the focus.

People are still playing a lot of videogames, but how much?

Toxicity is not only bad for the workplace, it’s bad for business too

Working in the videogame industry has long been a trend toward overworking employees in potentially toxic environments. While the industry has managed to grow tremendously, problematic workplaces are beginning to have an adverse effect on publishers who seek to recruit and retain their most valuable resource: talented game developers.

One of the challenges facing videogame publishers is that young game developers grew up in an environment of equality and inclusion and expect the same values ​​in the workplace, said Kimberly Woll, co-founder of the Fair Play Alliance, an organization that Promotes healthy communities. in online gaming.

“For companies, this is becoming a retention aspect,” Wall told Businesshala in an interview. “Today’s generation, what they want to see, is expecting their employers to take a better stand, behave better.”

In a developer satisfaction survey released in September, the International Game Developers Association polled 803 developers and found that nearly 90% consider diversity in the workplace, industry, and game content to be important. Diversity took into account age, gender, gender (including those identifying as trans or non-binary), race, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that the “prototypical game-industry worker” was a white male in his early 30s with a university degree who lives in North America and has no children. What was a little surprising was that 74 per cent of those surveyed said that equal treatment and opportunities are not for everyone in the industry.

“I think the amount of 74% is a bit surprising,” IGDA executive director Renee Gittins told Businesshala in an interview. “Certainly we have not only seen diversity issues and discrimination issues within the industry, we have seen greater awareness of it on the tail of the Activision Blizzard and Riot lawsuits… more people in the industry are becoming aware of those issues. Huh.”

According to the IGDA survey, in 2021, 44% of the respondents said that they never experienced inequality towards themselves and 29% said they never saw it directed at others. In 2019, 51% said they had never been discriminated against and 36% said they never saw it directed towards others.

IGDA

Non-discrimination and harassment policies were put under the microscope in 2021, with Activision Blizzard spending the majority of its August earnings addressing its zero-tolerance behavior policies, while other videogame companies followed suit and Highlight your policies.

Even with zero-tolerance policies, however, only 41% of respondents in the 2021 survey felt those policies were implemented, according to IGDA, compared to 59% in 2019 and 56% in 2017. went.

“I think there’s often a disconnect between company policies and human resources policies and the way companies actually run,” Gittins said. “And especially in game development, where you have passionate, geeky game developers at the core of the company, working with each other, sometimes depending on the culture they create and the culture the company creates. There is a disconnect between them.

So even with companies exposing their anti-discrimination and harassment policies, Gittins stated that “without proper enforcement through upper-level management and without proper appreciation and cultivation of that culture through all employees, they are Too many words become empty.”

Activision Blizzard stock plunges to its lowest level in more than a year after reporting that the CEO was aware of the misconduct for years

Toxicity is also a problem among gamers, with most videogame network players now turning against other players to play them against the computer. And the anonymity behind a screen makes it easy for bad actors to spew racial and sexual slurs, especially in games that invite this kind of toxic activity.

In A Pew Research survey released in FebruaryPolling more than 10,000 adults, 63% said they experienced offensive name-calling while gaming online, topping all other digital spaces surveyed, such as social media and online discussion sites. According to the survey, 25% of those polled said they experienced constant harassment and 22% reported that they had received physical threats.

It is up to videogame publishers to address this issue within their networks and within their games as well, IGDA said in a recent white paper in partnership with Facebook FB,
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gaming. And if game duration can influence players’ behavior, games need to be designed by more diverse teams in order to grow their customer base.

According to the white paper, “A diverse team will instinctively create a more diverse and inclusive sport, as team members incorporate their own background, experience, ability, heritage, and culture into their development process and creations.” “A team that is diverse and inclusive will tackle problems more effectively and create content that will be enjoyed by a wider audience.”

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