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One-quarter of developers say their studio is not working on D&I initiatives

One quarter of GDC State of the Industry respondents indicated their companies are not currently investing in D&I initiatives.

April 29, 2021

3 Min Read

Yesterday marked the release of the ninth annual State of the Industry Survey---a free report spotlighting major industry trends in advance of the 2021 Game Developers Conference in July.

This long-running survey analyzes data from game industry professionals around the globe, with numerous relevant takeaways for today’s market. Developers indicated they were unhappy with 30 percent revenue claims from platforms like Steam, that they were mostly interested in developing for the PlayStation 5, and other notable stats you can find in the full report.

Download your free copy of the 2021 State of the Industry report here!

One notable statistic from the report is that one quarter of surveyed developers reported that their company did not focus on staff inclusion and/or diversity initiatives. Here’s some of the background behind that data:

A slightly more inclusive trend

The 2021 State of the Industry report actually reports some broadly positive data in the world of diversity and inclusion. A total of 60 percent of developers reported that their companies put an emphasis on D&I initiatives in the last year, up 4 percent from the 2020 report.

Likewise, the fact that 26 percent of developers reported no focus on D&I initiatives is a slight drop from the same year, where that number was at 28 percent.

It’s a trend towards inclusivity that may have been impacted by the global Black Lives Matter movement that re-entered the headlines after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. 31 percent of respondents said that their studios did implement inclusion initiatives in response to the movement’s growth last year. (38 percent replied “no,” the rest answered “Don’t Know/Not Applicable.”)

So how are developers trying to be inclusive?

Developers gave the following examples for how their studios are trying to be more inclusive toward people of marginalized genders and racial backgrounds.

“We have focused efforts on increasing ratios of women at and involved with events and projects for years. I also work closely with indigenous communities across Canada, and work to represent a diverse group in any curation,” said one respondent.

“Supporting employees who wish to attend protests with paid days off, blind hiring, a member of HR who does not answer to any executive and has been given authority to investigate any allegations,” indicated another.

And finally another respondent described “company-wide presentations on diversity, focusing on racial discussions and gender identity. And, less formally, our leadership quite openly discusses how to make sure our games appeal to diverse population. Part of keeping our games relevant is making sure we have a development team that is diverse and relevant.”

What’s going wrong?

One quarter of the industry not taking any steps to improve racial and gender inclusion is still a notable statistic. We asked respondants what issues they saw around diversifying their companies.

“We seem to have trouble reaching qualified women programmer/engineer applicants. There's plenty of gender diversity throughout the company as a whole, but female engineers seem hard to come by,” said one respondent.

“Many ethnical or gender minorities as well as women in general find the industry so toxic that they don't even get to the point of applying for jobs,” another indicated.

And lastly a respondent stated that “old members of the industry [have] biases not understanding that they have biases.”

For more details on GDC 2021 visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.

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