A recent study by University of Southern California Professor Dmitri Williams found an overwhelming lack of diversity in video game characters. Williams, a social psychologist by training, compared the ethnic diversity found in his survey of 150 games across nine platforms and all ratings to categories contained in the American census. He found that fewer than 3 percent of video game characters were recognizably Hispanic and none were playable. Native Americans and biracial characters were practically non-existent. African Americans enjoyed a rate of 10.74 percent, with a big caveat; they were mostly athletes and gangsters.
The assertion that whites constitute the majority of consumers in the gaming industry is inaccurate. According to The Kaiser Family Foundation, African American youth between the ages of 8 and 18 play games 30 minutes more per day than white youth, while Hispanics play an average of 10 minutes more.
Until research is done on the motivation of video game developers and the publishers they work for, we can only make educated guesses as to the overwhelming lack of diversity within the industry. We can be certain about one thing, however. From the press to the games they cover, the absence of black or Hispanic characters is limiting its fan base, its narrative potential, and its creative ideas.