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Balazs Vedres and Orsolya Vasarhelyi on Diversity in Videogame Development

Our Senior Research Fellow Balazs Vedres and Post-doctoral Fellow Orsolya Vasarhelyi talked to Qubit about how inclusion could unlock creative potential. The article is based on their recent publication in Nature Scientific Reports.

Diversity alone might weaken team cohesion and can lead to more conflict because of different views, but the development of routines and communication structures within teams can multiply innovation and creativity, so diversity and acceptance need to be assessed together to determine the impact on collective creativity, they argued.

Diversity alone was not enough: the extent to which a team would accept a new member who was different from the dominant behavior patterns also had to be examined, said Orsolya Vasarhelyi.

Our researchers found that if a company moved from the lowest level of gender diversity and acceptance to the highest, it could increase the creativity measured in games by 22 percent.

"The devil of it is, and we have seen this in companies where there has been an all-male development team and they have hired one woman for the first time, that in these cases creativity tends to go down. Especially when that one woman is brought in properly. It is probably because of the tokenism that there is not really any other perspective or different thinking in the team, and that can lead to the fact that when there is so little diversity in the video games industry and the company tries to move away from that, they get into that pit first and then they can improve. And that could be a trap where they say, yes, we tried to bring in a female developer and it didn't make the game better, so we'd rather not do that. And they don't get to the level where diversity and inclusion works anymore," Balazs Vedres explained.

"The recipe that seems to work is to bring in female developers first, so they try to diversify their teams, and then start integrating them, and then build their connections through repeated projects," he added.

Read the full article (in Hungarian) here.

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