May 18, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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The gaming metaverse might be the best place for inclusive, diverse voices


As the idea of the metaverse continues to take shape, it’s important to remember how varied those who participate in it will be. How can game developers who are making metaverse titles create opportunities for diverse and inclusive voices? Rick Fox and Jace Hall, chief business development officer and CCO of HiDef, respectively, sat down with N’Gai Croal of Hit Detection at the GamesBeat Summit and Facebook Gaming event, Into the Metaverse 2, to talk about the concept.

The panelists agreed that the companies creating for the metaverse should reflect those who are going to be using it. Fox said, “Building a team in general requires diversity of thought, view, and expertise — all things you’re going to find in the metaverse. But, for us, the focus is putting together the type of team that can see the world from all angles and have a voice that’s unified in a way that’s inclusive of everyone.”

Hall spoke about what incentive companies have to be diverse: “Diversity and inclusion a lot times in the world is used as a talking point, like they don’t want to seem like they’re not being diverse. But that’s an act. The truth is, diversity and inclusion is very good business, because you’re talking about different people and different ideas. Those ideas are new, so there’s new market opportunities for all. It’s coming from different places, but it’s for everybody.”

Hall said that the metaverse, which will allow users to build their own identities separate from their physical appearances, lends itself to diversity. “When you meet someone in an avatar situation, you’re really just meeting a consciousness… That helps bring down biases and judgements. It helps people communicate more genuinely because they’re not affected by what they’ve been historically taught… I think one of the things the world could use is a little more acceptance of each other and communication between all of us.”

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HiDef last year raised $9 million in order to make a metaverse game. It has since stated that it intends to make metaverse games focused on social impact, with inclusivity being a major part of the game’s makeup.

Fox said that game developers can learn by listening, and must be willing to let go of established ways of doing things: “The metaverse is going to be a two-way street. What may matter to you may not be something for me, but it doesn’t make that less valuable for society. How do we step aside in our own personal agendas to be of service?”

Hall added that the metaverse should be as diverse as the real world: “The metaverse should have all body types, all gender types — that’s the point. That’s what makes the metaverse cool… The more homogenized you make your ‘verse,’ I think the less ‘meta’ it becomes. You become more ‘meta’ as you’re bringing in all of these different elements and providing a context for them all to interact.”

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