With protagonists in games being predominantly male and almost exclusively White, the gaming industry is starting to make strides in promoting games that start to change this narrative.
The world of gaming is changing as the next generation of consoles takes over the internet and gives cord-cutters one less reason for cable. Microsoft and Sony have been battling it out for the best-in-class gaming system since the first Xbox hit in 2001. Twenty years later and the gaming battle is still going strong, but the advertising for next-gen consoles shows us that diversity is its new superpower.
When Sony revealed its vision for the future of gaming in June 2020 at the Playstation 5 conference, we didn't just get a look at the big games. We got a pretty diverse slate from indie games to the remastered versions of games we already love. Sony used its platform to promote games for even the smallest of gamers, but on top of the diversity of games, we got a diverse representation of characters. Perhaps the biggest surprise being Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, who is an Afro-Latino teen that takes the Spider-Man mantle from Peter Parker. We no longer see just the promotion of games we get to play, but the rise of representation in games. More people are getting the chance to be seen and play characters that look like themselves.
Even Microsoft is getting in on promoting how inclusive their video games have become. They tapped Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya to star in their new trailer for the Xbox series X as he gets transported to worlds with an Afrofuturistic presence (Makuch, 2020).
Only three percent of video games have featured a primary character of color in the past 17 years (Kim, 2020). A study conducted by EA's Global Consumer Insights team found that most survey participants wanted games to be more inclusive (Gravelle, 2019). Based on this research, gamers appear to be looking for game publishers to pay more attention to character representation and what it means to gamers' individuality. These gamers are strong potential consumers for future games, which means taking this desire for representation into account when creating video games and executing marketing efforts for them may help the gaming industry reach their audience in ways they never have before. With the immense popularity of gaming, savvy marketers are effectively using inclusivity in their advertising to convince gamers to purchase their games over others. The other positive is that the more financially successful inclusive games are, the more inclusive the gaming community will be, which means more people can feel apart of these digital worlds.
Kim, N. (2020, July 29). Diversity in Video Game Characters Leads to Huge Sales. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/entertainment/2020/07/29/diversity-in-video-game-characters-leads-to-huge-sales
Gravelle, C. (2019, March 17). Gamers Really Want More Inclusivity, According To EA Survey. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://screenrant.com/ea-survey-inclusive-games/
Makuch, E. (2020, October 12). Xbox Series X Launch Trailer Features Black Panther Star Daniel Kaluuya. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.gamespot.com/articles/xbox-series-x-launch-trailer-features-black-panther-star-daniel-kaluuya/1100-6483219/