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Opinion Business Game Dev Phil Spencer Says The Gaming Industry Needs More Black Leaders

Feb 9, 2018
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Agree with Phil here. Would be good to see more diversity in gamings leaders and we're going to see that in the future.

Being diverse and hiring based on talent are not mutually exclusive.
Why does there need to be more diversity?
 

rnlval

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During a recent interview with Xbox chief Phil Spencer, I asked him about this. His company, Microsoft, had made several pledges, including to do better by its Black employees, to recruit more Black workers to the tech giant, and to “double the number of Black and African American people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025.”

That was in June, when everyone was talking about racial justice.

“One of the worries is you kind of get hyper-focused at a certain time, and the election comes along and months go by and you almost just kind of shift,” Spencer told me. “The conversation turns to something else. And I do think it’s something that we should come back to.”

We came back to it when we were speaking last month, during a conversation that was set up ostensibly to talk about the next generation of Xboxes, which we talked about plenty. We put the Xbox hardware talk on pause, though, when I asked how Microsoft was following through on its pledges. At one point in the exchange Spencer and I talked about Black people’s prominence—or lack thereof—in game studios and in leadership.

“The area where I think we really need to focus more as an industry, including my own team, are, as you said, those visible leaders,” Spencer said. “Because there was a generation where this didn’t happen.”

For years, Spencer was noting, Black people have not been given many chances to lead in gaming. Other people—the implication being “white people”—have ascended in the ranks at Western game companies.

“And as those people move up inside of the organization, you get a lot of people like me,” Spencer said, acknowledging that he’s yet another white guy in power. “And we don’t need more people like me in our organization. We need a more diverse team. So I’d say, for our focus right now, I think about manager representation.”

Check the link for more.

Avery Brooks explains why SJW characters suck.

PS: I'm not Nordic White, I'm East-Asian with a Spanish racial mix.
 
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Jan 29, 2019
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Sorry, only those whos skin is either Espresso or Chocolate may apply to this job, we will have openings for Limestone, Band and Golden at another time, Warm Ivory, Sienne and Sand colored skin people may only apply on the janitorial team until we have met our representation quotas.

what happens if you are "barely black" and you remain inside for a while... do they fire you (because your skin tone lightened)? or you just get demoted?... and me, I can be pretty dark at the end of the summer (if I don't put sunscreen lotion... can I get a raise?).
 
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nyr88nyg

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May 23, 2020
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Should they pay for scholarships for black people and not for white people?

I mean, opportunities should be given regardless of gender or color. Positive discrimination is still discrimination.
Charity is charity, idgaf what charitable cause they choose.

Is it wrong to donate to animal charities if you’re not giving to human charities?
 
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Rolla

Report me for trolling MS/Xbox threads > 06/27
Jan 26, 2020
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Yeah xbox doesnt need more incompetent people. 100% agree.

Could you explain or elaborate on this comment please. Because as it reads, it appears/seems as though you're saying black people are incompetent. And while I'm sure that's not what you mean, the ambiguity is problematic.
 

Mojoraisin

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Avery Brooks explains why SJW characters suck.

PS: I'm not Nordic White, I'm East-Asian with a Spanish racial mix.
I find it worrying that even people seeing the fallacies of identity politics are already (probably unconsciously) halfway there. If you didn’t have your PS and it was a white Nordic dude that typed it - would it be any less valuable to this discussion?

The clip was good though.
 
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Panajev2001a

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Agree with Phil here. Would be good to see more diversity in gamings leaders and we're going to see that in the future.

Being diverse and hiring based on talent are not mutually exclusive.

True, but upbringing, culture, etc... are not inherent to the color of your skin.
Do you ensure the candidate from a certain minority group had not been adopted by white parents and grew up in suburbia? How do you regulate that?

Can you look at a team of white developers and think they are homogenous and non diverse just based on the color of their skin despite one being say French, another from the north of the U.K., another being from Spain, another one from Slovenia, etc...?
 
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Jul 3, 2020
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Spencer just accused every company without a black “leader” of being racist and part of some large problem. He couched his language in a more polite way. But he set himself up on a pedestal to judge organizations he has absolutely ZERO connection to.
 
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Jan 29, 2019
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Being diverse and hiring based on talent are not mutually exclusive.
No, obviously not. They were not before, but when you put identity traits that have nothing to do with the job in a check list of job requirement it does eventually lead to compromises on talent hiring-- that does both ways.

Leadership in a specific industry arise more or less organically, people who are at the age of leading a studio or tech company now built their career in that field over the last 20 years, you don't come up at the end of the chain and say "we want more X leaders". To fix that kind of problem that must be addressed with the kids of the current generation, hopefully with the right tools 20-30 years down the road there will be more black leaders in this industry (if they, as a group on average, decide to even go in related fields).
 
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Woopah

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Why does there need to be more diversity?
Gaming should be for everyone and we want the best people to get leadership roles. Humans are diverse, so if you get the most talented ones then it is likely that they will also be diverse.

Jobs should always go the best person, regardless of skin colour or gender or anything like that. It's the job of leaders to make sure everyone has those opportunities.
 
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PlayerPurple

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There are some awesome black developers, they just need more exposure. Jason MacDonald is just one of them...


Funny thing is, I’m trying to think of prominent AAA black developers in this industry....and Jason and Tramell Ray Isaac were the only two who came to mind.

I think Phil has a point here.

EDIT: Just thought of another: Omar Kendall. Worked on League of Legends, UFC Undisputed, and directed PlayStation All-Stars. So I guess that makes 3 black developers...which is still not a lot.
 
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oldergamer

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How about appointing whoever is best for the jobs, regardless of colour. Checklist culture will fail long term imo.

If companies hired whoever was best for the job, every job, people would NOT need to have this conversation now. Fact is no industry has been untouched by race playing a factor in hiring.

I think that is more what its about. MS is being more progressive and saying they won't have a problem with this in the future, and or they want to be more multicultural (considering they have offices all over the world) this shouldn't be thought of as a bad thing. Or at the very least they are saying by extension, if you go to school and get trained in the right courses, you have options other than working at best buy ( not that there's anything wrong with it).
 

rnlval

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Spencer just accused every company without a black “leader” of being racist and part of some large problem. He couched his language in a more polite way. But he set himself up on a pedestal to judge organizations he has absolutely ZERO connection to.
It's hypocritical for woke companies to preach ethics while having manufacturing contracts located in CCP's China.

If woke corporations are serious about supporting Latinos and Blacks, then move the manufacturing(ODM) contracts to Latin America and Africa, instead of China.
 
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oldergamer

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You know there is an entire continent full of black people, they can go crazy with their own gaming industry over there.

Are white people not allowed to be the majority in their own home?
WTF? seriously? who cares who the majority is. Its not about that.
 
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Andodalf

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If companies hired whoever was best for the job, every job, people would NOT need to have this conversation now. Fact is no industry has been untouched by race playing a factor in hiring.

I think that is more what its about. MS is being more progressive and saying they won't have a problem with this in the future, and or they want to be more multicultural (considering they have offices all over the world) this shouldn't be thought of as a bad thing. Or at the very least they are saying by extension, if you go to school and get trained in the right courses, you have options other than working at best buy ( not that there's anything wrong with it).

Exactly. As a predominantly white industry, it tends to hire white people at a higher rate, and also white people are more likely to enter the industry. This makes others less likely to join. This happens when any race dominates an industry. Phil is saying that this causes the industry to lose out on talent, and that by embracing these guys with leadership potential, they can grow the talent pool available.
 

oldergamer

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I'm black. Fuck this pageantry of pandering. Hire based off of your skill set, accomplishments and credentials, not your race. This is racial discrimination taking precedent over being qualified to do the job. I hate this shit. If anything, just even the playing field for applicants when applying for a position.
... and what if that is what he is saying? Right now do you think the playing field is even? Are you Racially discriminating if you say nothing about wanting to hire with more diversity, or by saying you want more diversity. People need to realize this is more "gray" then "black & white" ( no pun intended ).
 
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Feb 9, 2018
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Gaming should be for everyone and we want the best people to get leadership roles. Humans are diverse, so if you get the most talented ones then it is likely that they will also be diverse.

Jobs should always go the best person, regardless of skin colour or gender or anything like that. It's the job of leaders to make sure everyone has those opportunities.
Gaming is already for everyone. People are already being hired for their individual merits rather than skin colour. 'Diversity' is a patronising crock of shit.
 
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Ten_Fold

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For sure black people consume a good amount of gaming, but you might see 10-20 in a company that’s 100+, an you don’t really see them at senior roles. I do think it will change soon enough. Atlanta is pretty much black hollywood so you’ll find more talent there. I feel we will see a rise in more black game developers very soon. Diversity is good as long as they make a good ass game. Anyone would be dumb to think other wise.
 

Tschumi

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Hmm, i made a poll of what consoles people of different political backgrounds like, xbox had a lot of people who, recent evidence suggests, might not like him saying that~

I got one think he's dead right, and there's nothing wrong with the suggestion. Even if it is just pr
 

Woopah

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True, but upbringing, culture, etc... are not inherent to the color of your skin.
Do you ensure the candidate from a certain minority group had not been adopted by white parents and grew up in suburbia? How do you regulate that?

Can you look at a team of white developers and think they are homogenous and non diverse just based on the color of their skin despite one being say French, another from the north of the U.K., another being from Spain, another one from Slovenia, etc...?

Diversity of thought is the most important part of diversity so yes I agree that a group of white people can be diverse, same as a group of black people can be diverse. The goal should not be to regulate certain jobs for certain people or to have quotas, but to ensure everyone has access to the same development opportunities.
No, obviously not. They were not before, but when you put identity traits that have nothing to do with the job in a check list of job requirement it does eventually lead to compromises on talent hiring-- that does both ways.

Leadership in a specific industry arise more or less organically, people who are at the age of leading a studio or tech company now built their career in that field over the last 20 years, you don't come up at the end of the chain and say "we want more X leaders". To fix that kind of problem that must be addressed with the kids of the current generation, hopefully with the right tools 20-30 years down the road there will be more black leaders in this industry (if they, as a group on average, decide to even go in related fields).
Fully agree here. The way I read it, Phil is not talking about putting identify traits in job descriptions. Instead he is talking about black developers having the opportunity to advance to people manager roles so that, as you said, they have the opportunity to apply for leadership positions later down the road.
 

oldergamer

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Funny thing is, I’m trying to think of prominent AAA black developers in this industry....and Jason and Tramell Ray Isaac were the only two who came to mind.

I think Phil has a point here.
See I had not heard of these guys before. I think some people take this to the extreme when thinking about it ( even based off a few posts in this thread there are some with a "they will not replace us vibe in the posts"). There is no need for that. Spencer is saying they want to be more inclusive, but this isn't about making or changing anyone in a majority. This happens by Race, language, gender, all the time. It needs to stop.

I worked for a game company - not saying which - (HQ was in france). I had 17+ years of game development experience. Every single person in the company spoke english despite having offices in montreal and France. I shipped a few games there, I worked on a few projects in the concept phase that were praised by the person in charge of development in france, yet twice i was passed over for the lead producer role in my office. A lot of people i worked with thought i should have been at least offered it, and mentioned it to me a number of times. They loved me in that office and they really had no idea how many times i prevented people from quitting. Everyone wanted to work on my team.

However, twice they gave the role to people that shipped a single game for this company, and literally had no game development experience before working there. Basically, I wasn't french, or with the company as long as one person (1 yr less). So it didn't get offered to me. Is that hiring for the best role? note: this happens all the time.
 
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Panajev2001a

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The goal should not be to regulate certain jobs for certain people or to have quotas, but to ensure everyone has access to the same development opportunities.

The problem for advocates on one side and the other is to prove it is the case. Rallying against injustice or denying it is easier when you do not have to measure or prove anything.
The easier way, what some companies are doing and some people are demanding, to prove is mandate quotas and make an argument that you are still choosing the best of the best or people that are most suitable just out of the most suitables you are choosing based on skin color.

The idea of blind auditions was taken to ensure there were equal opportunities (for the upbringing... invest in poorer areas period), but now some activists are demanding racial aware auditions to enforce it somehow.
 
Jul 3, 2020
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A natural follow up question would be to ask Spencer what a "black" leader is. To identify a deficiency in a category, that category must be defined.

What is "black?" Does he want to apply the Drop Rule where any African ancestry makes a person black? What if the person has a Japanese mother and a half black/half white father? Does that make them black? Who decides?