To limit Black Colleges and Universities Week in National HistoryXbox announced “Project Amplify,” an outreach program to help the next generation of Black game developers begin to chart their career paths in the industry.
In a blog post from XboxThe company has announced that they will have a panel at Uprising Summit 2022, an event whose mission is to give aspiring young artists the opportunity to celebrate, network and curate the skills they need to thrive in their careers. While the event usually features celebrities and musicians from the music and entertainment industries, the Revolt Summit also highlights celebrities in the tech industry. The event runs from September 24 to September 25 in Atlanta, Georgia.
For those still wondering why Xbox would want to be part of an event whose lineup includes appearances from hip-hop celebrities like Amber Rose, Killer Mike, Gucci Mane and Bobby Shmurda, no. Statistics from a Microsoft commissioned survey paint a pretty clear picture: Black youth aspire to enter the gaming industry, even though it doesn’t highlight those who look like them.
According to a recent HBCU poll, 95% of the 200 college students and alumni who responded want to work in the gaming industry. Of those 200 respondents, 34% want to be a program manager, 24% are an engineer, and 18% want to be a game developer. I don’t think I’m pulling the rug out of any reader’s chair by reminding you that the current climate in the gaming industry is still pretty white. And for what grips the pearl in front of my fanbase, Xbox agrees, saying that “only 2% of professionals in the video game industry are black compared to 13% of the US population.”
For those who can’t book flights to Atlanta in this economy, this is the place Project Amplify’s video series included in. Xbox uploaded a series of videos with the same name to the YouTube ID @ Xbox Channel. Throughout the 16-episode playlist, viewers can watch a video featuring 14 game designers working at Xbox. It features people from 12 different areas of game design, including narrative directors, character artists, and software engineers.
My two cents, as someone who’s (check’s pigmentation) Black and covers the gaming industry as my job: I think this is a good move on Xbox’s part. While I was studying journalism in college, charting a career path within games journalism proved to be nigh impossible for my college advisors to help guide me on considering the only recent success stories they could conjure were Alanah Pearce and Greg Miller, who, although great, ain’t Black. While it isn’t Xbox putting on its hotep hat and ratebig ingot on social network, helping the kinfolk get its foot in the door of this relatively nascent industry and insider is welcome. As much as possible. Good luck to everyone who applies.