Sony and USC Games have entered a multi-year partnership in hopes of offering additional support to Black and indigenous students who want to study game development and design.
University of Southern California Games is considered the top North American games program. From artists to developers, UCS Games offers a variety of courses that allow students to create innovative games. They also have the USC Games Gerald A. Lawson Fund, which aims to increase diversity in the gaming industry.
“Students who would never ever be able to participate will be able to. We can also strengthen the program in a number of ways,” said Elizabeth Daley, dean of USC School of Cinematic Art.
USC Games professor and head of marketing Jim Huntley said that the program’s vision is to inspire and enable more diversity within the gaming industry.
“Representation in gaming matters,” Huntley said.
Sony also recognizes the lack of diversity in the gaming industry, which is what led the company to pledge $3 million toward the program.
“The USC Games’ Lawson Fund is more than a scholarship,” said Tiffany Johnson, senior director and global head of DE&I at Sony Interactive Entertainment. “It’s our commitment to creating opportunities for Black and other unrepresented talent that want to enter the gaming industry. We have a responsibility to drive change and build an industry that is more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming for all.”
The Gerald A. Lawson Fund will provide support for Black and indigenous students who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in game design or computer science from USC. Sony’s contribution will support students enrolled in the fall 2023 semester. The funds will also subsidize the recruitment of Black and indigenous faculty.
Huntley said he hopes the partnership will inspire other developers and publishers to reach out to USC Games to invest in this ongoing problem in the industry.