Ethnicity in the Video Games Industry

A total of 387 participants completed the 2019 Survey of Program Graduates. These individuals identified themselves as having completed or being in the process of completing a video-game-based program at a post-secondary institution. The participants included both undergraduate and graduate students.

With respect to the respondents from the United States, most were White (54%). Those who identified as being of Asian descent were 17% of respondents, while those of Latinx descent were 16% of respondents. Black or African-American individuals made up 7%. Less than one percent of respondents identified as either Middle Eastern or Native American. When reporting their ethnicity, respondents could choose more than one option. Approximately 6% of people identified as being of “Mixed” ethnicity. Most frequently, individuals of mixed ethnicity identified as being White and one other ethnicity.

“Not a lot of African Americans in the industry. It’s so far not been negative, but there’s always just a sense of perspective that I rarely can share with someone else without having to fully articulate it.” – Game Designer

Compared with the overall US population, the 2019 Survey of Program Graduates had a significantly lower number of Whites (54% versus 76.6%), a higher percentage of Asians (17% versus 5.8%), a similar number of Latinx (17% versus 18.1%), and a lower number of Black or African Americans (7% versus 13.4%). There were notable differences with respect to the ethnicity of respondents between the 2015 HEVGA Survey and the results of the 2019 survey. The 2019 survey had approximately 20% fewer White respondents. This is a remarkable difference, which could reflect changes in admissions to games programs across the US. Alternatively, it could be a sampling discrepancy, especially considering that the 2019 survey had approximately twice as many participants. There was an increase of 11% for respondents identifying as Latinx and an increase of 8% for those of Asian descent. There was a slightly more than 1% increase in respondents who identified as Black or African-American.