In 2013, Electronic Arts (EA), a global leader in digital interactive entertainment, executed a number of programs to demonstrate a commitment to equality and inclusion of its LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) colleagues, and their friends and families.
In February 2013, EA hosted “Full Spectrum,” an event in New York that brought together industry thought leaders to discuss the challenges of creating authentic LGBT characters in games, as well as how to address issues that arise through player interaction.
Says Sandy Goldberg, EA’s Corporate Communications Senior Manager, “For a number of years, we’ve partnered with the Human Rights Campaign and the Ford Foundation, so when these subjects began gaining attention, we felt we had an opportunity to bring a number of people together—global industry partners, our partners through HRC and Ford, and our employees—to discuss what our industry can do to combat hate.”
The event featured a session with LGBT advocate and former NFL athlete Brendon Ayanbadejo and panelists from Tencent, the Ford Foundation, the ESA, HRC, CNN, KIXEYE, BioWare, and others to bring to life the myriad of issues that face the LGBT gaming community. Stories from the event, and from fans at home, were shared with the hashtag #H8IsNotAGame.
And it’s far from the only initiative EA launched in 2013. The Humble Origin Bundle, a game package released through Humble Bundle, raised over $10.5 million for six charities in September, and allowed EA’s gaming community to donate a portion of their purchase price to the Human Rights Campaign. Humble Bundles are electronic gaming packages that allow purchasers to name their own purchase price and earmark a portion for specific charities.
In 2013, EA also sponsored seven local Pride Parades around the world, in cities where their employees live and work. It was the second year EA sponsored Pride Parades in San Francisco and Seattle, but the first in Los Angeles, Stockholm, Vancouver, Austin, and Orlando. The company’s own blog series helped capture the experience in each city (see more at www. ea.com/news/tag/diversity).
“While many of our initiatives are born as a reflection of our culture, all are fully embraced by the leadership team at EA,” says Andre Chambers, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion. “As an organization, we believe that having a diverse and inclusive perspective helps us build better games.”