Niantic, the American software development company behind Pokémon Go, has announced a new program whose purpose is to provide support, mentorship, and funding to Black game/AR developers.
Called Black Developers Initiative (BDI), the program is open to all teams with Unity experience that already have established legal entities and have experience working together.
To be eligible, teams must be at least 50 percent Black, and Black team members must drive game vision via a leadership position. The legal entity itself (such as LLC, Inc., and others.) must be at least 51 percent Black-owned, -operated, and -controlled, and Black team members must have a direct line to profits.
There are no geographic restrictions, but developers must be able to work and communicate with Niantic in English.
“Increasing content that represents a more diverse view of the world is critical and central to Niantic’s mission to inspire people to explore the world together,” writes John Hanke, Niantic’s founder and current CEO, in the official announcement. “BDI is our commitment to providing access, opportunity, resources, and mentorship to Black game and AR developers.”
Developers are encouraged to start submitting their applications right now, but no later than Sunday, March 14th, 2021 11:59 PM PT. Each application should include basic contact information and detailed information about the team, such as bios, skills, previous experience.
The idea to create the program was sparked by the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, which saw between 15 million to 26 million participants in the United States alone, making it one of the largest movements in the country’s history.
Last year, Niantic pledged to donate $10 million to Black Lives Matter causes, so Black Developers Initiative is just the latest in a series of steps intended to support Black communities in the United States and other parts of the world.