Culture |Diversity | Date published: Jun 2, 2021
Welcoming the Black Collegiate Gaming Association as New Strategic Partner to Support the Next Generation of Gaming Industry Leaders
Hi everyone. I’m Grace Chen, VP of Network Advertising, Licensed Merchandise and Loyalty at Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE). I love leading the network advertising and licensed merchandise teams, but it isn’t my only role here — I also support some of our partnership efforts as part of the Social Justice Fund Committee at SIE, where we focus on making the gaming industry more diverse and inclusive. It’s an initiative that is very close to my heart, and I am very proud to help evoke long-lasting change for underrepresented communities by improving access to the tech and gaming industry.
Today, I’d like to announce our new partnership with Black Collegiate Gaming Association (BCGA), which includes a new scholarship program designed to help ensure success for the next generation of gaming industry leaders. The BCGA success scholarship supported by the PlayStation Career Pathways Program is an investment in the education of college students and their future. In partnership with the BCGA, our goal is to help students gain corporate or creative roles within the gaming, esports, and technology industries after graduation.
We’re excited to share that for the Summer Semester 2021, 19 scholars were selected – representing 12 colleges, five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) from all across the country, including seven different states – and will take part in the BCGA success scholarship supported by the PlayStation Career Pathways Program in its inaugural year; it will also be made available for students interested this upcoming Fall Semester. The scholarship recipients are granted access to education which will ultimately help to create a more inclusive, more equitable future for passionate voices of color who want to pursue a career path in gaming.
What is BCGA?
Black Collegiate Gaming Association is the first woman-owned organization of its kind to enter the male-dominated space of collegiate esports and gaming. BCGA partners with HBCUs to offer a 360-degree approach to learning about, and gaining access to, the technology industry. Overall, the organization is designed to help Black college students grow into creators and career professionals in the gaming industry. BCGA founder and chairman Keshia Walker started the organization in 2020 to help the gaming industry to be more reflective of its customer base.
“Gaming is a $159B industry and 73 percent of African-Americans ages 13 years or older identify themselves as gamers. Yet, less than 3 percent of those working in the gaming industry are Black and a mere 1 percent are professional gamers. Those numbers just don’t add up. We are excited to enter this partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment to drive meaningful change in the future and help students to find their voice in the video gaming industry. I’m especially thrilled that we are able to provide scholarships to women of color who represent less than half a percent in the Gaming industry,” says Keshia Walker.
Recently, The Black Collegiate Gaming Association has held two events sponsored by leading industry companies, including SIE – Black College Con, to celebrate Black History Month, and Women Got Game, a women of color gaming summit.
“These events were a great way to kick-off our new strategic partnership with Black Collegiate Gaming Association. A partnership that incorporates much more than those events and the scholarship program itself. SIE will equip on-campus gaming labs for selected universities that are part of the BCGA network and offer scholarship recipients mentoring and summer internships to prepare underrepresented talent for a career path in the gaming industry. Our goal is together with BCGA to create sustainable opportunities for the next generation of gaming industry leaders,” says Tiffany Hester, Director Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Sony Interactive Entertainment.
The partnership with BCGA, in addition to our previously announced strategic partnerships and initiatives, is part of SIE’s commitment to driving long-term change to achieve social justice and race equity, and we will continue to announce new partners in the future.