Black Voices in Gaming, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing Black representation and inclusion within the games industry, has announced the game developers who will be joining its inaugural Xperience Excellence Accelerator (XEA), which is powered by Netflix Games.
The first-of-its-kind accelerator combines industry education, networking, and funding for Black game developers with mobile game concepts.
“Since Black Voices in Gaming’s inception, our team has been continually pursuing new programs and partnerships to help raise visibility and opportunities for developers in the Black community,” said co-founder Justin Woodward. “The evolution of Netflix in the gaming space and dedication to innovate in the industry is fresh and opens up opportunities to serve new audiences on a familiar platform which is exciting. It is great to be able to collaborate on this program with the cohort of talented developers in the Black Voices in Gaming community.”
The importance of diversity
The four studios involved in the inaugural cohort are the USA’s Weathered Sweater, UK based Gesinimo Games, Nigerian studio Oshoma Games, and South Africa’s SpaceSalad Studios. The XEA will provide each team with $20,000 in grants to support prototype development for pitching to potential investors, publishers, and partners.
The accelerator comes as the games industry worldwide is becoming increasingly engaged with issues of diversity, both in-game and behind the scenes. To this end, many studios have introduced dedicated teams devoted to fostering an inclusive workforce. Gaming is a hobby for everyone, and an inclusive workforce can lead to more positive representation. Mobile gaming’s accessibility and popularity worldwide means that any one game has the potential to reach far wider audiences, and diverse teams can help to authentically tell stories reflecting the target audiences, while bringing wider attention to societal issues.
In June, Netflix announced the ten game makers included in its Wings Elevate 2023 accelerator program, all of which feature gender diverse development teams. We listed the streaming giant as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022, and will be unveiling our list for 2023 at our event at Gamescom on August 22.