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A Grant Which is Helping Add Diversity to the Video Game Industry

"The grant should help empower young people attracted to the video game industry and who, otherwise, would have had trouble repaying their student loans at the end of their studies" States Michaël Newton, CEO of Loisirs Numériques.

The French video game industry is popular and is constantly looking for more and more employees. In 2020, the French video game market achieved its best performance and showed a growth of + 11.3%. However, the studies leading to this sector are expensive, creating a barrier for many people who would like to move towards such studies. It’s a socially unfair barrier that also penalizes the creativity of the sector.

This observation of social equity and need for creative diversity led several industry professionals to create the Bourse Jeux Video, a grant for video games students. This grant was launched during Spring 2020. This initiative, supervised by the Loisirs Numériques association, addressed the lack of social diversity among professionals' profiles.

The purpose of the Bourse Jeux Video is to provide financial support and skills in support of young people wishing to gain an education and potential career in the video game field in order to have a more diverse industry environment.

The Bourse Jeux Video offers full funding of registration fees, school fees and computer equipment for selected students, as well as accommodation and transport assistance (if necessary). The student will have support by one or more professional mentors. In the first year of this innitiative, the grant helped 6 students succeed in different specialization of the industry. For the second edition, they have received 250 applications and are currently selecting the future candidates. There are 10 schools who participate and support the grant, among them Cnam-Enjim, the Gobelins, ISART Digital, Lisaa and others.

Having social diversification of student profiles will "generate new forms of creation and games as well as new stories. Beyond the creative side, it can also lead to new methods of operation in the studios" confirms Jehanne Rousseau, CEO of the Spiders studio.

The funding for this grant is private, mainly from development studios, publishers, a few institutions such as the SNJV (National Video Game Syndicate) and associations such as Women in Games. The fundraising is also used in events such as a Game Jam organized in May, Jehanne Rousseau explains : "Six games have been created and are available for free on itch.io (eg Glow Shift, a cooperative 2D platformer created by Chakib Benssoum). Each student gathered around a team supervised by a mentor. Their goal was to produce a project on the theme of anti-competition, in order to highlight solidarity and cooperation. This was coupled with a small fundraising event, during which we raised 32,000 euros for student support."

The next step for the grant is to make presentations in middle and high schools to present the video game careers and especially to answer questions from young people.

Contact: boursejv@loisirsnumeriques.org

Source in French:

Find more info of the initiative here.

An interview of Michaël Newton, here.

Read the entire Jehanne Rousseau interview by the CNC here.