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Niantic Stock Market – Pokémon Go creator invests $6 million in Black game developers

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Niantic Stock Market – Highest Rated?

The video game industry continues to struggle with diversity behind the scenes. Companies like Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs are trying to right that wrong. CNBC’s Brandon Gomez spoke with Trinidad Hermida, Niantic Labs Head of Diversity and Inclusion, alongside Jessica Murrey, Co-Founder and CEO of Black and female-led W!CKED SAiNTS Studios. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

Pokémon GO maker Niantic Labs announced in early February its Black Developers Initiative (BDI), a program designed to support Black game and augmented reality (AR) app developers.

The five-month program will fund new projects for Black game development teams with the intention of building a playable prototype and pitch deck for their real-world AR games.

“BDI is our commitment to providing access, opportunity, resources, and mentorship,” said CEO John Hanke in Niantic’s official announcement.

Trinidad Hermida, Niantic’s head of diversity and inclusion, told CNBC in an interview that the company’s recent Pokémon Go Fest 2020 raised $13 million, and roughly half of those funds will be dedicated to this initiative.

“Developing a game costs a lot of money,” said Hermida. “It’s a billion dollar industry and it’s moving fast with so many different pieces, so finance can be a huge barrier.”

The video game industry that has been booming during the coronavirus pandemic continues to struggle with diversity behind the scenes.

“The gaming industry has been predominantly white for the last 20 years,” said Hermida. “Although we’re moving out of that and we’re really creating more balanced and equitable studios, that’s still tough when you’re trying to enter into a culture that you really don’t know.”

According to an NPD Group report, U.S. consumer spending on video game products in the third quarter of 2020 shattered previous record highs reaching $11.2 billion, an increase of 24% year-over-year.

Niantic’s multi-million dollar commitment comes as a follow to the company’s pledge of support after the killing of George Floyd last summer.

“We think the next area where we can make a powerful, scalable impact is through the culture, ideas and role models we help to create,” said Hanke in an internal memo issued in June of 2020. “To achieve that, we are going to fund projects from Black creators and will bring the best of those creations to a mass audience where they can shine a light on characters, story, and points of view that validate the lives and experiences of the Black community.”

Nielsen reports that African Americans remain among the most likely groups to be engaged gamers (71%), the second largest ethnic group after Asian Americans (81%) and followed by non-Hispanic whites (61%) and Hispanics (55%).

Despite these high engagement levels on the consumer end, data from a self-reported 2019 International Game Developers Association survey paints a more bleak picture behind the scenes. The survey found only 2% of developers identify as Black, African American, African or Afro-Caribbean.

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18 Comments
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18 Comments

  1. Daniel Pham
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Wow, I can tell none of you guys who talk about freedom of equality appriciate a free economy or have donated massive amounts of dollors to things you believe in. Let's look at this scenario, if I invested money to helping a Vietnamese organization to helping needy kids get education does that mean I'm abusing American ideals? So you talk about gender roles and make a big deal out of people claiming pro nouns but can put your head through this…. Hey I donated to a white corporation like the Bill and Melinda gates organization. It's true they are white but why do so called right and left make a a big deal. The right says they hate how the left makes a big deal then makes a big deal….

  2. Traveling Flow
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Damn everything is racist now

  3. Defined sinner
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    who asked? lmao

  4. Jxxn Matt
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    It's pityful how lasting racist greed has an effect on even the simplest things when fortune is involved.

  5. ℛɛᴛʀᴏ ℛɛᴅ
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Only 6 million. Not much confidence there.

  6. Pb.778
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    I dont think any major company is gonna be like "oh wow I like your talent and you meet all our expectations, but your like African American so we cant hire you".

  7. Skull Joker
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    I play black games on my black phone from black developers in my black town with my black friends on my black weekends

    blackity black black black black black 🙂

  8. Jeremy H
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Equality of opportunity not outcome folks.

  9. DTR89
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    At first I thought it said “Block Chain” but it said Black Game. How ridiculous…

  10. DeMac
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Ok so I'm going to say it. As a black man and gamer to the core. I don't want a black woman speaking about black representation in the gaming industry. I rather hear it from a black man. These women experience probably has nothing to do with race but more gender. Just weird they have two women speaking on this and no men.

  11. Freddie Cucaracha
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    THE NBA HAS A MAJOR DIVERSITY PROBLEM…

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  13. Buffalo Bobby
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Oh please. Who cares, black, white , asian, Indian etc. Has nothing to do with your color. This is all BS. 🙄🙄

  14. kashkash
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Who cares who you are

    Make games great again. Games are now majority cutscenes…

  15. Mike R
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Now gaming is racist 🤣

  16. kevin B
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Great Idea.

  17. namanish
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    No one is telling black developers they can't do anything, this is some bs. Gaming is perhaps the most diverse industry on the planet.

  18. Mike Lawry
    July 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    That’s dope 🔥