Twitch is partnering with Cxmmunity, a nonprofit organization aimed at increasing minority youth participation in esports and gaming, to create an esports league for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the company announced Thursday. Students at HBCUs will receive scholarship and educational support through its Twitch Student program, and Twitch will help the schools expand esports programs.
Cxmmunity co-founder Chris Peay says, as a graduate of an HBCU, he knows firsthand about the gaming industry’s lack of representation. “Growing up we’re often taught you get good grades so that you can get into a good college, graduate from that college, and find a good job,” Peay said in a statement. “Very seldom do we talk about entrepreneurship, let alone entrepreneurship within the esports and video game industry. It’s actually frowned upon in some fashion.”
Numbers from the International Game Developers Association show that 83 percent of Black teenagers play video games, but the overwhelming majority of video game creators — 68 percent — are of European or Caucasian descent. The goal of the new program is to bring more people of color into jobs within the video game and esports sector by creating a pipeline of Black talent, the companies said.
There are more than 200 schools with varsity esports teams in the three major collegiate esports leagues — Tespa, Collegiate StarLeague, and the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). Morehouse University is currently the only HBCU with an esports league, however, Twitch reports. The first games of the HBCU esports league will hit the Cxmmunity Twitch channel on August 2nd.
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