Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in Game Development (Beyond LinkedIn Posts)

In today’s global gaming landscape, diversity shouldn’t be treated as a buzzword; it is a fundamental aspect that boosts gaming studios and shapes company culture and builds opportunities. It profoundly influences how developers create worlds, concept characters, and craft narratives. At Kokku, we have taken it upon ourselves to make diversity an integral part of our development teams, work culture, and hiring practices.

As a leading co-development partner for some of the best AAA studios worldwide, we recognize the responsibility we have in embodying these principles in our strategy. In this article, we will delve deeper into how Kokku is championing diversity within and beyond the gaming sphere and why it is crucial for the evolving gaming landscape to understand and respect the diverse cultures of our partners. We also hope other Gaming Studios will follow our example and implement real diversity and inclusion policies to their companies. Spoiler: it needs investment, focus on people, training and most important… It takes courage. 

Diversity: A Prerequisite for a Modern Game Co-Development Studio

At Kokku, we are committed to creating gaming experiences that honor the diverse cultures of our global partners and audience. Embracing cultural diversity isn’t about avoiding confrontations, but rather about cultivating a deeper understanding of our partners and players’ diverse experiences, which allows us to find solutions to complex challenges.

Whether our partner is from a different country, we approach the collaboration with respect, enabling teams to appreciate the rich history behind the game’s influences. We believe that paying meticulous attention to even the smallest details is the recipe for success, and it fosters a positive working relationship.

Diversity: The Backbone of Kokku’s Game Development Teams

Diversity in game development is a complex, multifaceted subject. At its core, it involves recognizing, understanding, and respecting the diverse cultural backgrounds of partners and gamers. It means acknowledging the unique elements that distinguish cultures, such as customs, values, and societal norms, without attaching any form of judgment to them.

However, it is not enough to merely acknowledge these differences; it is equally important to integrate diversity considerations into our studio’s operations. At Kokku, we understand that diversity extends beyond the games we develop; it is ingrained in our DNA. Our mission statement is to “Develop and empower people to deliver the best products for the entertainment industry.”

To further our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we launched the “Nenhum Direito a Menos” (Portuguese for “Equal Rights, Nothing Less”) initiative in 2022. By “Equal Rights”, please understand: Equal Opportunities are included. This program aims to demonstrate and discuss the realities that minorities experience daily in society. We believe that the path to a better future goes through a more inclusive present, and our policies, such as gender-neutral career paths and affirmative actions, reflect this belief.

Opportunity Over Meritocracy. 

The “Equal Rights, Nothing Less” Diversity and Inclusion policy is backed by acknowledging that “meritocracy” is nothing but a fancy word created to fake that “everyone can make it if you try hard enough”.  Let’s be honest, we know this is not true. “Meritocracy” is a word created to perpetrate the gigantic social gap between the sons and daughters of privileged people over the sons and daughters of those who are at the bottom of the social ladder.  The “Meritocracy” would only work, for example, in a world where there’s no social gap between people, no discrimination because of skin color, gender or faith. And we know THIS IS NOT A REALITY. 

For this reason, we can not pretend we’re “doing our part to promote Diversity and Inclusion” by posting on LinkedIn that “we held a fantastic presentation where we brought minorities to talk about their challenges in the workplace to our amazing team”. Really? What do you understand about “Diversity and Inclusion”? If so… Please read carefully what we’re doing to not “promote”, but to FORCE Diversity and Inclusion in our studios. 

How Kokku Champions Diversity

As Brazil’s leading co-development partner for some of the most important studios in the gaming industry worldwide, we place a high value on diversity and inclusion. Our collaborative approach with international studios involves gaining insights and feedback from individuals of respective cultures to ensure accurate representation and effective communication. Our partner’s success is our success.

Our commitment to cultural diversity extends to our workplace, where we encourage open dialogues about diversity, representation, cultural appropriation, stereotypes, and other relevant topics. At Kokku, every question is valued, and every perspective is respected, fostering a better understanding of different cultures and incorporating these insights into our gaming worlds. Diversity is, in essence, our formula for being a cooperative partner that develops engaging and inclusive games. With a diverse team of talented professionals, we are steadily making strides towards a future where all individuals feel represented and respected.

Continuing the Journey of Diversity

As we continue to grow and evolve, we remain steadfast in maintaining and enhancing our focus on diversity and inclusion. Over the past two years, we have increased the number of women in our team by 233%, and they now represent 27% of our total workforce. However, we acknowledge that this is just the beginning of our journey.

Our goal is to be at the forefront of the Brazilian and Latin American gaming scene, leading the charge for change, challenging norms, and helping the industry embrace and reflect the world’s vibrant diversity. We will continue to work with AAA studios to create games that are not only entertaining but also contribute to a better world.

At Kokku, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a powerful statement. It serves as a reminder that the fight for equality is ongoing and that every individual has a unique story worth sharing.

Together, we believe we can reshape the game industry landscape, because at Kokku, we believe that nothing is impossible until it’s done.