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Xbox teams up with Ukie to #RaiseTheGame on diversity in the gaming sector

Xbox has helped to launch a new initiative to improve equality, diversity and inclusivity in the video games industry.

The #RaiseTheGame pledge is being led by Ukie, the trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry.

Companies signing up to the pledge will work towards:

  • creating a diverse workforce by recruiting as fairly and as widely as possible
  • shaping inclusive and welcoming places to work, by educating and inspiring people to take more personal responsibility for fostering and promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Reflecting greater diversity within games at every level from game design and development through to marketing and community engagement.

Ukie aims to sign up 200 UK game businesses, covering 50% of the workforce, by 2021.

Xbox joins EA, Facebook, Jagex and King in becoming a founding partner of #RaiseTheGame, and all the companies will provide information every year on how they matched up against the pledge pillars.

Roland White, Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Microsoft, said: “We continue to strive for increased representation across all identities of diversity, because quite simply, this will lead to better games, better experiences and a better community of players. Diversity and inclusion are imperative at Microsoft and within the Xbox organisation because we believe that when everyone plays, we all win.”

A woman wearing gaming headphones sits on a sofa at home with a laptop open on her lap

Ukie announced the pledge as it published the most authoritative analysis of diversity in the UK games workforce ever conducted.

The UK Games Industry Census report featured more than 3,200 anonymised responses from people working across the industry. It revealed:

  • The games sector is a young industry, with two thirds of people working in the sector aged 35 or under
  • 10% of people working in games are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, which is slightly higher than the national working population and above that in the overall creative industries. Representation of BAME backgrounds is, however, notably less representative in more senior roles
  • 70% of people working in the games industry are male, compared with 28% female and 2% non-binary workers. Female representation is significantly under the national average, under the average of the overall creative industries and lower in senior roles
  • The UK games industry is highly international, with 28% of the workforce having non-UK nationalities compared to 17% in the working age population. These workers are more likely to be European, with that breaking down to 19% from the EU/EEA compared to 9% from the rest of the world.
  • 21% of the games industry are LGBTQ+. This is an extremely high proportion, with national data indicating that LGBTQ+ people make up between 3-7% of the UK population.

“Diversity isn’t a nicety; it’s a necessity if the industry is going to grow, thrive and truly reflect the tens of millions of people that play games every day in this country,” said Dr Jo Twist, Chief Executive of Ukie. “A diverse industry that draws on myriad cultures, lifestyles and experiences will lead to more creative and inclusive games that capture the imagination of players and drive our sector forward.”