Pokemon Go developer Niantic has launched a new game development fund called the Black Developers Initiative through which the company aims to fund and support the development of games made by Black creators.
“Our intention is to empower Black game/AR developers and provide access, resources, and support so they can build amazing game experiences that inspire people to explore the world together,” reads a line from the announcement.
It brings us great pleasure to announce the Niantic Black Developers Initiative, our commitment to providing access, opportunity, resources, and mentorship to Black game and AR developers. pic.twitter.com/Otmzwuksvl
— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) February 11, 2021
Teams who are chosen for the fund will receive five months of funding, executive mentorship, and development support to create a playable prototype.
The first participant in the program is a studio called W!CKED SAiNTS, which is developing a prototype for a game called World Reborn. The title is described as “Game of Thrones meets Riverdale with a little dash of Black Mirror.” You can learn more about this game and the developers behind it in the video below.
To qualify for Niantic’s Black Developers Initiative, teams must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Black team member(s) have a direct line to the profits of the game.
- The company/studio is at least 51 percent Black-owned operated and controlled as based on the NMSDC requirements defined here under “Certification Criteria” used by the Small Business Administration.
- Eligibility is established via a combination of screenings, interviews, and site visits (post-covid). Ownership, in the case of a publicly-owned business, means that at least 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more Black members.
- Black people driving game vision via a leadership position. Leadership is defined as:
- Creative Director/Lead Designer
- Technical Director/Lead Programmer
- The studio team is at least 50 percent Black.
You can visit Niantic’s website to learn more about Niantic’s Black Developers Initiative.
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