"Woefully Inadequate" -- Reggie Fils-Aime On Representation And Diversity In Gaming

The former Nintendo of America boss says more must be done in gaming to improve diversity and representation.

Former Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime has once again stressed the importance of diversity and representation in the gaming industry. As things stand today, the video game industry is doing a bad job with this, Fils-Aime said, describing the gaming business as "woefully inadequate," and he is hoping to help do his part to improve matters in the future.

Speaking with GamerTag Radio, Fils-Aime said, "Representation is tremendously important. You're framing the question in terms of black and brown. But I would argue it's representation across the entire spectrum. It's critically important to me. It is a core principle for me and has been throughout my entire career."

As an aside, Fils-Aime shared that when he was a hiring manager at his previous company, Procter & Gamble, he fought with his boss to hire a woman who was a non-traditional candidate. She came from a less prestigious school and did not have an MBA, but Fils-Aime saw great potential in her and her ability to get things done. This woman ended up staying at Procter & Gamble for 20 years and rose higher up the career ladder than Fils-Aime himself did in his career there. They remain friends today.

Fils-Aime shared this story as a reflection upon the importance of seeking out greater representation and diversity when it comes to hiring.

"Representation and challenging ideals of 'who the perfect candidate is, who the perfect executive is, or who should be on your team.' All of that needs to be thrown out the window," he said. "We need diversity in its broadest sense across every single industry. Bringing it back to the games industry, I have to say representation in the games industry is woefully inadequate. Woefully inadequate."

Gaming, as a business, is a gigantic industry that employs thousands and thousands of people, but the leadership at the top is not as diverse as it should be, Fils-Aime said.

"This is the biggest form of entertainment, and yet, where are the diverse studio heads? Where are the diverse executives? Where is representation throughout the industry? It's just not there," he said. "Certainly I am thinking through how to help push that message and that agenda forward but given the size of the industry, the amount of diversity in its broadest sense is woefully inadequate. And it's something that has to be addressed, and it has to be addressed as a leadership issue."

During Fils-Aime's time at Nintendo of America, he made it a priority to improve representation and diversity through a number of initiatives that remain in place today. But this is just the beginning.

"Much more needs to be done across the entire industry," he said.

Fils-Aime also discussed diversity and representation in video games during an appearance at the New York Game Awards in January. At the time, Fils-Aime said gaming can show greater representation starting with hiring practices.

"It starts with the people," Fils-AIme said. "It starts with having the broad representation within the companies themselves. In the last few years I was at Nintendo of America, we did a big push on diversity and inclusion within the company. And it's interesting. Once you do that, now there's a diversity of voices, it drives a diversity of representation in content, it drives a breadth and a view that you don't get when you have a more homogenous type of organization and culture. For me, for this industry to truly break through and to have a broad representation in all of the content that shows up on screen, it starts with companies having a broad representation of employees making the content. It's racial, it's sexual orientation, veteran, handicap, everyone that it represents. It's the people."

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