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2018 Dice Keynote Transcript

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Transcript from Phil Spencer's keynote at the 2018 DICE Summit. http://www.dicesummit.org/

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2018 Dice Keynote Transcript

  1. 1. P H I L S P E N C E R – @ X B O X P 3 D . I . C . E . S U M M I T | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8 B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E
  2. 2. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E Angkor Wat. Machu Picchu. Petra. I’ve always liked reading about history, especially reading about epic historical places. What grabs my imagination isn’t so much people in history. It’s what people built together and accomplished together in history. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to experience these places. Not just because they’re beautiful, game-inspiring structures and landscapes. Which they are. But because they’re human-made structures. Human-made civilizations. Human-made culture and lore. In other words: they represent whole worlds. All of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All of them chosen and protected because they are “considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” I’m honored to be here at DICE today to celebrate all the worlds we’re building with our teams and organizations. And to focus on the hundreds of millions of players who experience them every day. Most of all, it’s a privilege to share our thoughts about the World of Gaming. The impact of gaming as an industry. And its value to humanity as an art form.
  3. 3. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E THE POWER AND POTENTIAL OF GAMING
  4. 4. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E My father was a chemical engineer, and he introduced me to technology. He brought home our first computer, the Sinclair ZX81, which was probably best known for being popular and inexpensive. It was difficult to type on since it had this membrane keyboard. But that computer led me to my journey today. On that computer, we didn’t just play games together. We wrote games together. That’s one of the ways I connected with my dad all through childhood— through these worlds we were co-creating on the Sinclair and playing in our spare time.
  5. 5. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E Like many of us here, I had played online games, MUDS, in college. In 1997, Ultima Online changed everything for me. It wasn’t just about people running around in armor, fighting with swords. It was about a fully imagined living world—with cities full of real people and huge dungeons and awesome monsters.
  6. 6. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E It was the first time I felt like I wasn’t just playing a video game, but I was immersed in an alternate world. That the character was actually me. I can still remember my first PvP moment, naively crossing this bridge, wondering what all these other characters were doing on the other side of the bridge. A couple of VAS FLAM spells later, I was done for. The worst part: as my player became a ghost, I could not believe that the guy who slayed me could take my stuff. And I had to watch the player take my stuff. And everyone else at the bridge could watch this other player taking my stuff! If I had to name a single moment when I felt the power and potential of gaming—this was it. It was the moment I really felt a lasting connection not just to my dead character, but with a community. It was the first time I didn’t just love a GAME, but an entire virtual WORLD. But the moments where I fully understand the power and potential of gaming are moments I know I share with many of you in this room—whether you’re creating games or producing controllers, or building consoles and experimenting with future tech. It’s one of those lightning bolt moments when you meet The Gamers Who Change You.
  7. 7. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E For me, another one of those moments came at a recent BGS. There I was, running to my next meeting when a man who used a wheelchair stopped me. He stopped me just to tell me that the Xbox was his outlet. That playing on Xbox Live was the truest expression of himself in the world. That being part of the community made him feel welcome—and equal—in the world. And you know what? That—that experience made gaming VITAL for him. I think we are at an important juncture where gaming can make a VITAL impact on all the worlds we move in as an industry—the World of Creators, the World of Gamers, and the world at large. The reason why I believe we—our community here—can do just that is because this industry excels at imagining and creating worlds. We all know that gaming sits at the intersection of Art and Science. But worldbuilding? Worldbuilding is magic. It’s magic for that man who shared his personal story with me at BGS. It’s magic for “Hitman”—my Xbox Live friend in Arkansas who runs a funeral home and plays the Division with me. It’s magic for the thousands of teens who’ve learned about game design through Girls Make Games. It’s magic for the tens of millions of players who build their own worlds, brick by brick, with Minecraft.
  8. 8. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E We know magic when we play it: World of Warcraft: a game that millions still come together with their guildmates every day in Azeroth and experience this amazing world from Blizzard. Zelda: one of the most iconic games in history, helping to define gaming for over thirty years and showing again last year that it’s as relevant today as when it first launched. Inside: from a small, private studio in Copenhagen, this game doesn’t just have many stories to tell, it succeeds at asking players many questions. Halo: This one is obviously close to my heart, the story of John, Master Chief, who saves the world over and over again from the onslaught of the Covenant. Uncharted: Amazing setting, amazing graphics and daring characters that make every moment of the game thrilling.
  9. 9. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E WORLDBUILDING
  10. 10. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E For as long as there have been humans, we’ve always told stories. Stories to explain phenomenon: why is there thunder? Zeus is ticked off again! Stories to comfort our children: Good Night, Moon. Stories as social commentary: Every book by Ursula LeGuin. Worldbuilding makes our world understandable and makes stories feel REAL and grounded. To paraphrase writer Chuck Wendig, good worldbuilding starts with the story. But epic worldbuilding serves the story. It’s everything. It’s so much more than constructing the landscape and buildings. So much more than concept to final script. It’s language, politics, traditions. It’s faith, laws, customs. It’s race and ethnicity. It’s gender. It’s relationships. It’s the rules of magic. It is lore. In short, it is everything that makes up a society. Worldbuilding is the arena we build to tease out meaning in life: What are we saying about Our Real World with the Worlds we create? It’s Candleman asking, “Will you brave difficulty and darkness to bring light to the world?” Or Life is Strange asking, “What does it mean to be blissfully ignorant versus painfully aware?” What Remains of Edith Finch asking: “Can you escape the cycles of your family history?” Or The other Last of Us: “Are there truths that people are better off not knowing?” Worldbuilding enables the Question within the Quest. Every single time we upend a stereotype in a game, we beg the question: “Why can’t it be like this in real life?” And most of all, worldbuilding is the bedrock of awesome gameplay. Can we make the world so visceral and so real that it exerts a gravitational pull that makes it endlessly playable? That it is so layered and so compelling that you can’t stop talking about it with everyone? That it so exciting and so unexpected that it glues you to Twitch? Worldbuilding is some of our BEST, our FINEST, and our most important work.
  11. 11. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E CULTURE FOR COLLECTIVE IMPACT
  12. 12. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E In order for us to do our best work, though, we need our work environment to function well. If the core mechanics of our own teams and our own internal cultures are broken, everything stumbles. And then there’s the flipside: when the core mechanics work, the team can accomplish great things. This is our aspiration. And we’re learning this firsthand right now. Almost exactly four years ago, Satya Nadella became just the third CEO in Microsoft’s history. We all knew something was going to be different when he assigned the Leadership Team to read: Non-Violent Communication: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships. And then, he started quoting poetry… But it was obvious that Microsoft needed a reboot. Morale had hit a low. We were all massively frustrated that we kept missing big trends. In some ways, it felt like real innovation was impossible. The infighting and fiefdoms were so famous, people made fun of it, which would have been funny if it hadn’t been so painfully true. So: we Hit Refresh on everything: not just our communication, but our entire culture. This is a four-year and counting, comprehensive, top-down and bottom-up rethinking, reframing, reimagining, and rebuilding of our culture. The way we are going from a Know-it-All—to a Learn-It-All culture. From proving that you were the smartest person in the room—to being the most curious person in the room. From “reasoning against” an idea—to “reasoning for” an idea. From listening with the intent to argue—to listening with the intent of being persuaded. Everything is changing: the way we relate to each other and to our partners and to our competitors. The way we build teams and run projects. The way we commit every single day to making Microsoft a safe and inclusive place for all.
  13. 13. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E
  14. 14. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E This was and is a deliberate 100,000 person-strong undertaking to craft the most innovative, the most representative, and the most effective culture we possibly can…so we can all do our best work together. This isn’t culture for culture’s sake. But culture for collective impact. Cultural transformation is hard and demanding work. Four years into it, it’s still sometimes incredibly slow and incredibly painful to get everyone on board, much less to admit your own biases. Four years into it, it still requires a growth mindset, a commitment to keep listening and keep learning since culture change is always ongoing. Four years into it, we are still taking actions and changing behaviors. I think the biggest tension we’ve experienced comes down to this: do we solve this as best we can right now. Or work forever for the best solution? Have we figured this out? I think we’re learning how to figure this out since culture is an ongoing journey where every success and every failure helps us discern the best of who we are. We keep at this cultural transformation because we know it enables our best work. That work is needed now because we are here to empower all people and all organizations around the world to achieve more. It is our personal and corporate COMMITMENT to people of ALL genders and ALL abilities and ALL ethnicities in ALL geographies. It is our personal and corporate BELIEF in what human ingenuity can build and accomplish. This is our quest.
  15. 15. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION
  16. 16. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E I’ve been at Microsoft since I was an intern at college. I can honestly say that for today’s world and with our current set of problems, opportunities and competitors, I’m more excited than ever to work in the Satya years—empowered to do our best and most impactful work for gaming. That’s how profound this culture work is, and that’s why we keep constantly working at it. Almost four years ago today, I became the head of Xbox. In case this might help any of you, I thought I’d share some of my learnings over the last four years of our cultural transformation: LESSON 1: EMPATHY & TRUST. I’d been in my role for a month when I had the opportunity to speak to the entire Xbox team at my first All-Hands meeting. The team was in a world of pain: we had not done our best work with the unveil of Xbox One. The product we built wasn’t meeting the expectations of our customers. Market share had taken a nosedive. And it was painful to read all the headlines. Plus, the team thought the leadership team had gone totally tone-deaf about our customers who were demanding more. I knew I had to do more than articulate our strategy to win back our customers. I had to win back the team’s trust. So we chose to tell our team about confidential news that we couldn’t take public for months as well as our strategy behind that decision. Thousands of them heard those plans that day. And the amazing thing is: word did not leak. Not one Tweet. Not one forum post. That was a significant milestone on our journey to rebuild trust between the leaders and the team. For me, this was a huge lesson about trust. But more than that, it was a lesson about empathy. About looking up above the noise of emails and the weight of headlines, and meeting my team at their heart, addressing their worries, and trusting them first. LESSON 2: ACCOUNTABILITY. The most difficult lesson I learned was GDC 2016. For twenty years, Microsoft Women in Gaming—and later, including Microsoft Blacks in Gaming, have sponsored an event at GDC. 2016 was the year we went bigger and had events for Latinx in Gaming and LGBTQ in Gaming. So along with many of you, we were sponsoring four days of really great community celebrations across the gaming industry. But at a party, an unequivocally wrong, unequivocally sexist, and unequivocally intolerable choice was made. Backlash was justifiable and furious. Internal backlash at Microsoft was almost harsher.
  17. 17. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E The easy thing would have been to sidestep responsibility. Instead, we bet on who we were as a team and what we stood for as a team—and we communicated that we don’t tolerate any employee or any partner who creates an environment that alienates or offends others. We bet on our own company culture—and we communicated that we stand for inclusivity. And I personally committed to do better. For me, I think it’s a leader’s job to absorb the hit. To take personal accountability. And to be clear about our culture: who we are and what we stand for. LESSON 3: GROWTH MINDSET. What made it easier for me to hold myself accountable was really believing in the growth mindset piece of our culture. Believing deeply that failure—even, and maybe especially, public failure—is the source of our greatest growth. I just read an interview with Bryan Stevenson, the public defense lawyer who wrote Just Mercy, that echoed this need to be continuous learners, especially in highly fraught dynamics, such as gender and race. He wrote, “I don’t think that we should expect to make progress on these issues without bumping into one another, without making mistakes. What I don’t think we should do is retreat...” I agree with Bryan. When we make mistakes—and we bump, or collide, into each other, the easy way is to retreat. Maybe even to deny there’s a problem. Instead, I think we have to be humble. I think we have to be active learners—read, educate ourselves, try to understand other people’s journeys, and read some more. And then, better informed, I think we commit to leading with deliberate purpose. This is something I know I have to work on every single day. LESSON 4: LISTENING & AMPLIFYING. One of my biggest growth areas as a leader is to listen first instead of jumping in with the “supposed” answers. The results are better for the team if I ask questions. Because. The dialogue becomes more meaningful and participation on problem solving increases when people feel heard and valued. And that’s when we can really build and accomplish together. This is especially true if I ask the quietest person in the room what they’re thinking. Whether it’s culture or personality or not being used to being asked, some people are quieter. So when I ask them questions during or after the meeting, I make sure I hear their ideas. Often times, the best insights and solutions come from the quiet ones.
  18. 18. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E “I don’t think that we should expect to make progress on these issues without bumping into one another, without making mistakes. What I don’t think we should do is retreat...” –Bryan Stevenson Author, Just Mercy
  19. 19. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E I’ve also taken a lesson from some of the female leaders on my team who’d spotlight each other so their ideas weren’t lost in a discussion. Not he-peating their ideas, but AMPLIFYING what they said so others hear their ideas. What’s the difference? We give credit to them. “Hey, like Bonnie said…” Again, small communications adjustments like this help and welcome the entire team to build and accomplish together. LESSON 5: LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES. A real-time lesson that I’m practicing right now is leading from three key principles: create clarity, generate energy for the team, and deliver success. As we’re pivoting from a device-led to a customer-led world, every time I communicate with the team, I think hard about these three leadership principles, and I ask myself: How can I communicate even more clearly and simply so everyone understands our mission? How can I generate the most positive energy for my team so they’re as excited as I am about the opportunities and challenges ahead? How can I bring along the entire team so we can deliver success after success together? Most of all, am I building a world where ALL OF US can thrive and achieve more?
  20. 20. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E TECTONIC SHIFTS
  21. 21. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E FIRST: The next wave of the digital revolution is increasingly drawing gamers and creators together across geographies. Across play platforms. Across watch platforms. It’s not surprising that gaming has always been on the bleeding edge of the digital revolution—what some people have been calling the democratization of technology. What’s exciting to me is how digital tools like Unity and others are becoming democratized, empowering more indie creators to become the next Stardew Valley and Never Alone. To build the next Ori and Subnautica. New digital tools are also enabling distributed development so teams can work across different regions and different cultures. THIS is great news for Gaming because studies show that exposure to different cultures and values actually encourages flexibility and, most importantly, creativity. And now consider that the line between Creator and Consumer has never been so thin. Think about it: when Madeline L’Engle wrote her books, no one really knew how to reach her. Now creators—meaning: every single person in here, as we’re all painfully aware—are just one Twitter handle away. Feedback loops are now instantaneous. Communities have a direct line to us Just as culture is renewing Microsoft, I think culture can be the tool that enables us to realize the true power and potential of gaming. The time to get our culture right is now. There are massive tectonic shifts in Technology, Customers, and Entertainment itself that can ultimately help us create new games and welcome new gamers. Our reach and impact will be so much greater, if we’re ready.
  22. 22. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E and others on Discord to “share” their opinions. And if we think that these technological advances have impacted creators and consumers, just check out the next wave of the digital revolution: AI, mixed reality, and cloud computing. I fully expect to see unprecedented creativity and collaboration between studios and gamers. The second big trend is the increasing scale and accessibility of gaming. More people than ever before are going to have access to a broader and more diverse sets of games. Just like it was for myself, we know that for many people around the world, gaming is the first entry point into technology. And I think this is going to be even more true in the near future because of the ubiquity and access of screens. One estimate sees the number of gamers growing to be over 2 billion worldwide in three years. I think the question we need to ask is this: How do we transform our industry to prepare for this massive growth and opportunity? Now consider that new gamers are joining us from places like Brazil, India, and throughout Africa. We’re going to see increasing opportunity along with increasing responsibility to make Gaming for Everyone. So the second question we need to ask is this: How do we transform our culture to prepare for new gamers from different cultures, different backgrounds, and different worldviews? And third, the blurring of the line between gaming and entertainment continues. 2017, though, was the year where entertainment didn’t just blast open cultural change with #metoo. It marshalled the power of its medium to shift the narratives around identity. Art—literature, movies, music, even street art— has always played an instrumental role in creating
  23. 23. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E ~ 2 B G L O B A L G A M E R S
  24. 24. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E empathy, changing perceptions and shaping worldviews. Gaming as an art form has done this, too, such as Life Is Strange where relationships weren’t saddled with preconceived notions. Or Minecraft where a study showed that it actually built empathy as students learned firsthand how their decisions and their interactions affect other people’s responses. And then, take reading. Recent studies show how reading Harry Potter can actually improve kids’ attitudes toward marginalized groups. Because. After readers see Harry and Hermione face discrimination, they themselves become less prejudiced toward minority groups in their own lives. I bet in a few years, we’ll be talking about a similar Coco Effect. Coco was the first all-Latinx Pixar movie. The first time Pixar told a story about a cultural celebration. The first time Pixar hired cultural advisors and invited them into their ultra-secret creative process. Because authenticity was a priority and a focus, the result wasn’t just a “loving tribute to Mexico,” but a triumphant, global introduction to real Mexican culture. Wonder Woman. From LA Times to Business Insider, reviewers talked about the significance of The Moment, the one where Wonder Woman takes the first step onto No Man’s Land. The Moment that “young girls can use for inspiration to be strong-willed and driven in the real world.” Get Out isn’t just an award-winning horror movie, but a brilliant commentary on racism. As Jordan Peele, the awesome director said, “We can discuss race all day long, but if you see a movie that successfully puts yourself in the shoes of somebody different than yourself, you see the world differently. So I think the Power of Story is greater than the power of conversation.” And now we have Black Panther. LA Times called it: “Incredible, kinetic, purposeful. A superhero movie about why representation and identity matters.” These movies advanced a new and arguably more accurate way of seeing and relating to people in our world. They showed that representation matters—not just for the community they represent, but for the world at large. To the question: “What kind of world are you building?” These movies have answered loudly: a world where ALL OF US can be the hero. These commercially and critically successful films won hearts, minds, and box offices. Representation isn’t just good common sense. It is good business sense.
  25. 25. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E THE TRUE POWER AND POTENTIAL OF GAMING
  26. 26. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E With all these new tools empowering new creators. And with the increasing reach to new gamers around the globe, I think we—as an industry—are at our own crossroads. The Question within our Quest is this: Has gaming reached its full power and potential to reflect and shape the world for all of us? We’ve all spent a lot of time thinking about this and thinking about what we know is true about gaming’s real potential. • We believe gaming has the unique ABILITY to bring people together. • We believe that gaming has the unique CAPABILITY for the community to create a story together. • We believe everyone can be EQUAL in the world of gaming. Where books and movies are all predestined storylines that are guided and guard-railed by authors or directors, gaming is the only art form where it’s your journey, your decisions, your actions, and your consequences. It is the only art form where you walk in someone’s shoes and you see the world from their eyes. It’s the only art form where you are on equal footing, regardless of age, education, socioeconomics, race, religion, politics, gender, orientation, ethnicity, nationality, or ability. This is why Gaming can be one of the great equalizers and great unifiers for society. Together, we can make gaming a reflection of the world we don’t just want to see. But help change it into the world we want it to be. There is a reason why games have always brought people together from the first Olympic Games in 8th century BC to today, where we just witnessed North Korea and South Korea playing on the same hockey team. There is a reason why people use online gaming as a way to escape the real world when they’re coping with social identity issues. And there is a reason why video games—like Halo, World of Warcraft, Super Mario—are popular wishes granted by Make-a-Wish. It’s because these are worlds where kids who are too ill to go to school can still play with their friends, not just like normal. But play like equals. Here’s the thing: the pen might be mightier than the sword. But today? Today, the PIXEL is mightier than the pen.
  27. 27. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E THE WORLD OF CREATORS
  28. 28. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E When player feedback is loud that the gameplay is boring, or the World is derivative, we suck it up. We don’t make excuses. We listen. We learn. We fix it. We ship it. We do it again. We—as an industry—excel at worldbuilding. It’s what we do. Just read Blood, Sweat, and Pixels. I read it as a love letter—as in: tough love—to our industry and your undaunted courage and your resilience to grind it out to get the world right and the gameplay brilliant. You know what? It really is a miracle that any game is made. I think change starts with honestly assessing what core mechanics are working in our own gaming culture—and what’s not. Our language, conduct, communication, leadership, talent pipeline. The way we do things. The way we talk to each other. At the most macro level—the corporate world at large—the studies are sobering because corporate culture isn’t set up for everyone to succeed. According to Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton: • Male leaders who speak up are rewarded, but female leaders who speak up are actually devalued by both men and women. • When women offer suggestions, managers rate them as less loyal than men. “It’s a miracle that any game is made.”
  29. 29. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E
  30. 30. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E • Having a double minority status of any kind amplifies the cost of speaking up. Like black women. When black women fail, they “shoulder an unfair share of the blame for mistakes.” This isn’t 1961 NASA that I’m talking about. This is our world today. And these are just some of the daily obstacles our teams face at work right now. We can do better. My team and I need to do better. We, as an industry, must commit to doing better and eradicating this piece of our culture. And we’ve got to figure it out. Because. Study after study after study shows that teams with the most representation are the most CREATIVE, the most INNOVATIVE, and the most UNDAUNTED by big problems. In other words: We do our best work when people on our teams can expand each other’s worldview. In Minecraft, Steve used to be described as an architect, a designer, or a geologist. Alex as liking to build and explore. One of our Minecraft leaders, Lydia Winters, pointed out that subtle but powerful gender distinction—and we decided that, NO, Steve is not the warrior and Alex the interior decorator. That NO, Alex
  31. 31. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E would not be placed behind Steve on the box art. And incidentally, NO, it is not a woman’s job to think about gendered language. These deliberate fixes made Minecraft more gender equal. And they signal to our players to think of them as fully equal. Since representation can enable teams to build richer experiences, then team composition really matters. This is an area I’m personally investing in this year: how do we recruit? How do we retain? How do we develop? How do we pick our High Potentials—and who do we pick? How do we track External Hires—and who do we track? I know we all maintain a hire list. Take a look at your list. Are they all the same type of people? Data shows that we can be as aggressive as we want with recruiting diverse candidates, but if the work environment isn’t welcoming, they’ll leave. So what are we doing now to ensure everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or physical ability, can feel safe and inspired to do their best work? Brotopia, a new book by Emily Chang, has a list of practical solutions. Like scrubbing job postings that use male-biased terms like “rock star” and “ninja.” Research shows that those types of job descriptions signal your work culture and get fewer applications overall—and fewer from women. And, of course, there are big, systemic issues at play here: how do we build the talent pipeline beyond the pool of available talent…and become an industry where everyone wants to work? Even as we work toward those long-term talent solutions, there are questions that we need to ask and answer now, the same as other forms of entertainment. Hollywood is being asked: why not #starringjohncho? Publishing is being asked: why not #ownvoices? It’s our turn to ask ourselves: why not #allofus?
  32. 32. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E
  33. 33. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E THE WORLD OF GAMERS
  34. 34. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E What’s amazing is that all of us here today get to create a world for gamers and we get to maximize fun for a living. 99% of the time, my job is great. Until it isn’t. And that’s usually when I hear about an experience on our platform that’s just…disturbing. Like when a player tells us: “I didn’t want anyone to know I was black. Once they found out, it was ON. They’d call me the worst old school names. Guys would shoot me even on my own team.” Or: “When they realize I’m a girl, they’ll get either vulgar or aggressive. Which—I didn’t want any of that. I just wanted to play the game. You know, just work together as a team.” Or: “If it’s my friends’ first time playing a game, I’ll ease them into games where I know (it isn’t) a toxic community.” These are real quotes. And the sobering thing is: this isn’t even the worst of the vitriol and the threats that people endure online. And this is a failure. The sad truth is that people today who are harassed online start avoiding gaming. Then they start warning others to stay away. And that is pretty much the antithesis of community, much less fun. To quote Emily Chang: “The message of these negative, upsetting episodes is this: ‘You’re not welcome here. And if you choose to show up anyway, be prepared to live with any harassment that comes your way.’” Honestly—toxic behavior doesn’t just hurt the individual. It hurts our entire industry. When toxicity is aimed at one of us, it stops with all of us. That’s why I’m encouraged that our community is coming together to talk about specific actions. Let’s stand together to reinforce that—Hey, beneath the polygons and the pixels are real people who are here to have fun. Let’s stand together and really be about “Ready Player Two Billion.” Let’s stand together and really commit to Gaming for Everyone.
  35. 35. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E If you haven’t already looked at what Riot did or what Jeff Kaplan over at Blizzard is doing now to address the “Toxic Plague,” definitely do. The early results of some of Blizzard’s work are really promising. With a couple of fixes, they’ve already driven incidents of abusive chat down by 17% and player reporting is up 20% because people are trusting the system. And let’s commit to absolutely including gamers with disabilities, not just giving them access, but keeping it fun for them, too. When we truly design for all, we help make the world EQUAL for all.
  36. 36. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E WE ARE WORLD MAKERS
  37. 37. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E My favorite passage in Schreier’s book is about Diablo III: “It…proved a point that would influence numerous game developers to come: every game can be fixed.” Well, every WORLD can be fixed, too. I think we’re in a game-changing moment. One when we can collectively decide that it’s not enough that we be game-makers. One when we conclusively decide that no matter how hard it is, no matter how uncharted the territory—we are world-makers. In a world where we have 7.6 billion people, where 4 billion people are connected, where over 2 billion people are expected to play games within three years—THE FUTURE OF GAMING is why getting our culture right is important now. This isn’t just about culture for collective impact today. This is about investing in culture for global business impact tomorrow. The best part of DICE is the spirit of collaboration. It’s our moment when we can focus on each other and the topics that really matter to our art form. There are no distractions. Just this. And Us. So let’s figure out together how we want to lead on this. I’m asking each of you: What world do you want to build? I want to know: What world could we build if we expand our team compositions? What world could we build if we created a more effective culture for everyone working in it? And what world could we build if we made all gamers feel welcome? For me, regardless of the strategies and the specifics, I know what kind of world we can make. A world that elevates gaming way beyond epic lands and legendary characters. A world that elevates the impact and reach of gaming. A world that changes the way people see and relate to each other as equals. A world that unifies and leaves lasting value because we dared to create for all of us.
  38. 38. B U I L D I N G A L I V I N G A N D L E A R N I N G C O M P A N Y C U L T U R E V I E W T H E D . I . C . E . S U M M I T K E Y N O T E

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