PoC in Play: Interview with Co-Founder Adam Campbell

The video games industry is one of the leaders for creative content, but BAME (Black, Asian and Minorithy Ethnic) representation must get better. We spoke with Co-Founder of PoC in Play, Adam Campbell, around diversity within the industry.

POC in Play are an independent organisation who are dedicated to creating and organising initiatives and events to increase awareness and representation of People of Colour in the video games industry.


Could you describe what you do and your background within the industry?

I'm Adam Campbell. Product Director for Azoomee, the fastest growing kids gaming & entertainment brand & Co-Founder of POC in Play, the largest diversity organisation for the videogames industry, focusing on racial inclusion.

I've been in the industry for 11 years, with previous roles at Miniclip, SEGA and Jagex. I'm also a member and judge for the BAFTA Game Awards.

Who inspired you to create the platform, and why?

When I joined the videogames industry 11 years ago, I was the only Black person I knew working in the sector. Crazy right? It wasn't strictly true but we're such a small minority that I didn't know or have the benefit of online communities at the time. That being said, it was only a realisation for me later on after a few interactions that made me feel uncomfortable or left out.

It wasn't until about 6 years into my career that I decided to get involved in campaigning. As a Black man myself, and a human, I wanted to ensure every person, like me (and unlike me) could bring their authentic selves to work and the games they make.

As a gamer, I want to have diversity in the media I consume, because let's face it, how many times can we enjoy the exact same stories and characters over and over again? Originality and authenticity is a good argument for diversity and we all benefit.

What games/publishers do you think have done well to speak up about these problems?

It's hard to single out, I think companies, on the whole, are trying, including those who perhaps felt originally that social responsibility couldn't be of particular benefit to themselves or the community.

If I have to mention, orgs like Humble (Bundle) set up a $1m Black creators fund to help out those who typically fail to get access to finance, Niantic (Pokemon Go) similarly attempted to get more minorities into AR with targeted funding. It's an exciting field but there's a barrier to entry.

Sony and EA have attempted to address Black Lives Matter and social inequality, even though it has led to backlash in some quarters. Microsoft very recently provided access to next gen consoles to marginalised streamer groups who almost never get consoles to talk about on YouTube and Twitch. This stuff matters and it's great to see attempts at inclusion. There's always more to be done but we need to recognise what's happening and build on it.

What would you say to someone in the Black community who wants to work in the gaming industry?

Firstly, I'd always say, you belong here! I didn't really have someone to tell me that when I was younger. Secondly, always find your community, Game Dev Twitter is a thing, discord is amazing, diverse streamer groups are all over the place. Also, apply for that job! Don't let imposter syndrome get you, something I know is heightened in spaces where you feel different.

This advice can help people who are traditionally marginalised in industry, however, it applies to all races, classes and genders. Having worked with and supported a number of people over the years, I can see how our challenges are often quite alike. That being said, we shouldn't feel shy about seeing a specific problem and challenging it either.

How can people support/get involved with the platform?

You can visit our site www.pocplay.org and visit us on Twitter @pocinplay for info on what we do and who is partnered with us. Our live meet-ups are on hold for now, but we encourage people from all walks of life to see what we do and get involved. Like I said, anyone can benefit from our movement and initiatives! We're very open and I hope individuals and companies alike will support what we're doing.