Diversity is essential to the growth of the games industry, Microsoft's Spencer says

Diversity is essential to the growth of the games industry, Microsoft's Spencer says

The head of Microsoft's games business has said that corporate diversity is absolutely essential to the market's future.

Speaking at DICE - as reported by - Phil Spencer spoke about the virtues of making companies more diverse, saying that he had learnt some hard lessons along the way. This included, but was not limited to, the Microsoft party at 2016's Game Developer Conference which featured podium dancers in school uniforms. This, Spencer says, was an "unequivocally wrong, unequivocally sexist and unequivocally intolerable".

The exec went on to talk about the future of the games market and how companies need to best position themselves to serve a growing number of consumers.

"One estimate has the number of gamers growing to more than two billion people worldwide in three years," he said.

"I think the question we need to ask is this: How do we transform our industry to prepare for this massive growth opportunity? We're going to see increasing opportunity, with increasing responsibility to make gaming for everyone."

He continued, speaking about the success of representative films in 2017 such as Wonder Woman and Get Out to highlight why diversity is so important.

"These movies advanced a new and arguably more accurate way of seeing and relating to people in the real world," he said.

"They showed that representation matters; not just for the community [the films] represent, but for the world at large... These commercially and critically successful films won hearts, minds and, yes, box office. Representation isn't just good common sense, it's good business sense."

Spencer was recently promoted to Microsoft's senior leadership team as EVP of gaming.  

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.