Sony Interactive Entertainment Invests In USC’s Games Program

It would appear that Sony Interactive Entertainment is pulling out its wallet when it comes to fostering learning and training for the next generation of gaming creatives.

The multi-disciplinary Japanese entertainment wing of Sony is announcing today that it’s entering a multi-year partnership with California’s USC, starting with a $3 Million US contribution to support the USC Games Gerald A. Lawson Fund with backing from the PlayStation Career Pathways Program.

The goal of this partnership is really to get at increasing the level of diversity in the video game development industry going forward. 

The fund is named for Gerald A. Lawson, more affectionally known to his early home console industry peers as Jerry Lawson, who helped design the Fairchild Channel F and pioneered games on cartridges. Gerald A. Lawson Fund originally started in May of last year after a partnership with Take-Two Interactive.

The hope seems to be that Sony Interactive Entertainment joining in will inspire more companies to open their wallets.

“We are beyond excited to be one of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s partners and share their same vision to inspire and enable more diversity within the gaming industry,” says Jim Huntley, USC games professor and the program’s head of marketing. “Representation in gaming matters. We hope the USC Games Lawson Fund Supported by PlayStation Career Pathways Program inspires other corporations, publishers, and developers to reach out to us and invest in tackling a chronic problem that the industry has struggled with since its inception.”

The most gripping quote from today’s news comes from Ramone Russell, product development and brand strategist at San Diego Studio. He says that while 80 percent of Black youth are playing video games, representation on the industry side for Black devs is in the single digits. 

If you would like to make a personal donation to the fund, the information on doing so can be found here