‘Hier spielt Vielfalt’ – the diversity initiative of the German video games industry
More than 2.2 billion people worldwide play computer and video games together – regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, origin or religion.
The developers involved in the industry across the world are just as diverse as the players. It is not uncommon for teams of 200 to 300 people to include 50 or more nationalities. They all bring their personal experiences, individualities and different perspectives to the process of creating a game and therefore play a key part in shaping its content and character.
The diversity of the video games industry is one of its greatest achievements and strengths, and it should be preserved and further expanded. That is why the German video games industry is sending a clear signal for more diversity with its ‘Hier spielt Vielfalt’ (Diversity plays here) initiative. With the initiative launched in December 2019 and the associated joint declaration, the signatories are standing up for a games culture based on recognition and appreciation. They are committed to an industry that is free of prejudice and discrimination and that treats everyone with respect and appreciation, regardless of their origin, world view or lifestyle. Around 1,400 individuals, companies and institutions have already signed up to the initiative’s principles. Other players and supporters of the industry can sign the declaration at any time here.
To launch the initiative, we have published a bilingual diversity guide. It gives companies and institutions tips as well as offering assistance for building diverse teams and game communities. Best practice examples from Bethesda, Daedalic, EA, Microsoft, SAE Institute and Wooga also provide practical insights on topics such as diversity in games, diversity in teams, dealing with the games community and accessibility. The English-language guide is available here.
Following the German games industry’s joint declaration for more diversity, the signatories, will …
… stand up for diversity and promote role models.
… live and breathe diversity values and apply them across various teams and in our organisational structures so they can benefit all.
… review personnel processes and adapt them where necessary so that skills and talents can develop optimally.
… work for a qualitatively balanced, unbiased and stereotype-free representation of all people in the games industry.
… work for a climate in which there is no room for discrimination of any kind and in which conflicts can be addressed openly and resolved in partnership. We also carry these values into our communities. We firmly reject right-wing radicalism, extremism of any kind, hatred and group-focused enmity.
… actively campaign against harassment and abuse of power, and commit to a working environment free from discrimination and fear.
… consciously consider all dimensions of diversity in our games, teams, publications and committees as well as in our events, and ensure our actions set the standard for model behaviour.
… work towards ensuring that all genders are taken into account and equally remunerated when assuming decision-making roles.
Diversity already plays a very important role for many companies in the games industry, whether within their own teams or among the players of their games. We asked companies to share their experiences – and they gave us some fascinating responses. To read the interviews in full, please click here.
Franziska Lehnert, Head of Communication GSA, Bethesda
‘Diversity is a wonderful thing; it’s something we should promote and which we can be proud of. We should deal with differences of opinion or challenges in communication with this in mind – let’s talk about challenges instead of problems because ultimately, we’re all here for the same reason: our passion for games.’
Maxi Graeff, Marketing Communications Manager Xbox, Microsoft
‘At Microsoft, our goal is for every player to be able to play with their family, friends and others, regardless of the platform they choose. This also means developing products that are accessible for all – because when everybody plays, we all win.’
Maike Steinweller, Head of Communications, Wooga
‘We believe that we can only truly help to make the games industry more diverse if we cooperate – on a professional level, in games themselves and within the gamer scene, as teams within the company and across companies within the entire industry. As we know, diversity is about more than just assembling an international team, supporting women or giving the LGBT+ community a voice. It means making simultaneous changes across multiple levels.’
Willi Wöber, HR Manager Region GSA, SAE Institute
‘Diversity is becoming more important to our work in education than ever before. If diversity isn’t one of your priorities, you are excluding a huge number of people who could easily be part of the community at any of our SAE sites.’
Maria Lesk, Head of Customer Support, Daedalic Entertainment
‘Regarding diversity: Always ask the opinion of minority groups. Don’t decide based on your own privilege that you’re “already doing enough” – talk to the minorities in question and ask them what can be improved, and whether each individual in the group believes that they are being heard and feels safe. It is also important not to force anything – not in human resources, and not in the games. Communication, compromise and empathy are key.’
Jens Kosche, Country Manager DACH, Electronic Arts
‘Making diversity and inclusion part of our business processes facilitates innovation and creates opportunities for all employees to maximise their contribution and unlock their full potential. And that, in turn, leads to better games.’