Xbox Boss Talks Gender, Racial Diversity in Games

"We have a lot of work to do as an industry in this space."


Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has spoken out on the subject of gender and racial diversity in the games industry. The topic came up in an interview with Edge about backwards compatibility and collections like Rare Replay. Spencer said backwards compatibility and classic game collections can help people see how far games have come--and how far they still have to go.

"I think letting gamers understand the artform and how it's progressed and getting to experience those things is critical for our industry," he explained. "In the past, Xbox has had quite a traditional video game image--all sports, broad shoulders, and guns."

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Asked how important it is to change that perception, Spencer said the industry is already making strides in the area of diversity--though he stressed that there is still much work to be done.

"I noticed just as we were doing the [E3 show] the number of characters of color that were playable in the games you saw," Spencer said. "We have a lot of work to do as an industry in this space."

On the subject of female leaders in the video game industry, Spencer said there is room to improve here, too. But for now, he pointed out that Microsoft already has strong, positive female leaders among its workforce, including Halo bosses Bonnie Ross and Kiki Wolfkill, as well as Lydia Winters of Mojang.

"We don't have to say, 'OK, let's find somebody in the Halo team that's a woman to put on stage.' You pick the leader of the Halo team!" he said. "I was incredibly proud of the way that diversity showed up, but I think as an industry we have more work to do, and we're committed to that."

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