Video games have affected millions of people, but a great many of them have barely been represented in the games they love.
For decades, white, heterosexual males have been the main protagonist in games, but now the status quo is changing and the newly launched battle royale, Apex Legends, is proof.
The launch of Apex Legends has been received with overwhelming support thanks to its inclusion of a diverse minority character selection.
Apex Legends features two black female characters, an openly gay man, a Latino man and a non-binary character. These characters have resonated with fans of Apex Legends who have thirsted for a chance to see themselves represented in the games they play.
Apex Legends twitch streamer, Nigerian Nemesis, said he thinks it is awesome they included more minorities in the game and that he thinks it’s cool because more people feel involved with the characters.
“The more you can connect with your audience, the better,” he said. “There’s no better way to make minorities feel involved than including characters they relate to.” Nigerian Nemesis currently has over 2900 followers on his twitch and streams daily.
The problem of diversity in the video game community has been discussed and studied before. In 2018, The International Game Developers Association conducted a survey of 963 people that worked in the game industry.
According to the survey, one percent of the workers identified as African American, four percent were Hispanic, 23 percent were female, five percent were transgender or other, and 19 percent were non-heterosexual.
This reveals a major disconnect with gamers. According to a Pew Research Center survey, people of color play games longer than white people and start at a younger age. A study also revealed that 45 percent of gamers are women.
An Apex Legends twitch streamer who goes by Pipsqueeks said she would love to see more diversity in games like Fortnite and Rainbow Six Siege. For a year, she streamed eight hours a day, playing a wide variety of games.
“I’ve seen an increase in minority representation,” she said via twitch messenger. “We are moving towards a more conscientious mindset of inclusion in our society.”
Harris Foster, community manager for Finji game studio, defended Apex Legend’s inclusion of gay characters against people who argued it’s pointless “because we don’t tell war stories and focus on the hero’s sexuality.”
Foster tweeted, “Yeah, no soldier has EVER opened his wallet to look longingly at a photo of his wife that he misses back home. Nope.”
These games vary in genre and topic, but they all give out the same message. Gamers are a diverse crowd and should be represented as such.