Xbox seeks to draw Black talent to the gaming industry with ‘Project Amplify’

A recent survey conducted by HBCU Connect on behalf of Microsoft found that about 95% of the 200 respondents made up of HBCU students and alumni expressed interest in careers in the gaming industry.

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Gaming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment, yet statistics show that Black talent is underrepresented in the industry when compared to the U.S. population. Xbox is looking to change that with its new “Project Amplify” video series.

According to an Xbox news release, in contrast to the country’s 13% Black population, only 2% of video game industry professionals are Black. 

While Black specialists appear to be lacking in numbers, it’s not because they’re uninterested. 

Xbox has launched Project Amplify, which was created to help Black professionals break into careers in the gaming industry. (Photo: AdobeStock)

A recent survey conducted by HBCU Connect on behalf of Microsoft found that out of 200 respondents, about 95% of college students and alumni from Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide expressed interest in careers in the gaming industry. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they were particularly interested in program management roles, 24 percent in engineering roles and 18 percent in gaming development roles. 

Xbox has since developed “Project Amplify” in an effort to magnify Black voices within their own company. The goal is to use real-life experiences from Black leaders and employees at Xbox to inspire, educate and motivate young people nationwide to pursue careers in the gaming industry.

Black Communities at Xbox co-leads Q Muhaimin and James Lewis recently shared the initial details of “Project Amplify “on Xbox Wire, along with a teaser, according to IGN.

“Growing up, I didn’t have much of a vision for what my career would be. I decided to go to college because I thought it was a way to ‘get a good job’ and escape poverty, but even as a freshman Computer Science major, I still had a very shallow knowledge of the opportunities that the tech industry presented me,” said Muhaimin, a product manager, in a statement.

“Throughout my college experience and with internships, I learned more about how big the world is — how many companies, careers and pathways exist for you to find or create a job that you love,” she added. “I want more people to know that they have options, nothing is impossible or out of reach for them and encourage those to start chasing their passions early.”

“Project Amplify” will feature advice, insights into their current positions and noteworthy experiences working in the video game business from 14 Black employees who operate in various capacities throughout Xbox.

It follows the unrelated launch of certified gaming credentials from Benedict College, the first HBCU to provide undergraduate e-sports degrees and certifications in collaboration with Blaze Fire Games, theGrio previously reported. More than 250 e-sports micro-credentials are available to students through Blaze.

“In my early years, I was more focused on what not to do versus what I could be. It wasn’t until my adult years that I learned to leverage my passion for games into a career,” shared Lewis, a senior business development manager, in a statement. “I am now incredibly thankful to be celebrating 10+ years in my dream career, and I hope ‘Project Amplify’ inspires people to dream and take action toward their own goals.”

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