Inside Sony Interactive Entertainment: Unidos@PlayStation
There’s something special about a shared experience, especially when you can find one in the workplace. The employee networks (eNets) at Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) strive for shared experiences that inspire brilliance, excitement, and employee agency. Unidos@PlayStation is an example of this, providing this venue for me and my Latinx colleagues.
Our backgrounds are all different, but as my colleague Steve explains, our commonalities bring us closer together.
“Creating Unidos@PlayStation was a means to create a space where Latinx coworkers can get together and share lived experiences,” says Unidos@PlayStation Co-President and Sr. Project Manager Steve Peer. “There’s a lot of variation, of course, but there are similar guiding themes at the core. It’s like family and it’s nice not to have to constantly worry about being understood or speaking on something that people consider outside of their normal circumstance.”
When you can find commonality in things like your childhood, sharing our different quirks and realizing how many others can relate, it opens up avenues to wider ranges of discussion.
“It is super important for people to know that there are other people like you, whether they look like you, come from where you’re from, or have had lived experiences like you’ve had, that’s important for an individual in a workplace to understand,” Steve adds.
SIE’s Culture & the Unidos@PlayStation Mission
The mission of Unidos@PlayStation is to help make SIE a great place to work and play for Latinx and Hispanic employees.
One way that SIE supports what the Unidos@PlayStation team brings to the table is by embracing the diversity of the gaming community’s many cultures. Specifically, as it relates to our eNet, there’s a large demographic in our company that speaks Spanish and English. Leadership recognizes the value of cultural inclusivity adds to SIE’s mission and how we can help. For example, when the acquisitions team was making an effort for a more inclusive hiring process, a team member remembered me presenting during one of our eNet showcases. They got in contact with me and it felt really great to know that the issues we’re discussing are resonating across the company and not just evaporating into thin air.
“Previously, the Latinx and Hispanic influence felt secondary or tertiary at best going into the development process,” Steve says. “Now it is very much front and center. SIE is looking for our involvement from the very beginning to make sure we’re going in the right direction in this space and not looking to shape things after the fact. From a business perspective, this feels like the smartest move because you’re not reinventing your plan. You come into it with people that bring the perspective and experiences – people who understand this culture.”
Community Impact and the Importance of Unidos@PlayStation
One of the most impactful Unidos@PlayStation actions that comes to mind is our work with the PSN moderation team at SIE. That is one of the coolest things we’ve done for our community, which often speaks two languages. Because of our work, there’s a whole group of “Spanglish” filters that help to make gaming more welcoming and safe for those who understand or speak Spanish and English.
“There’s a host of words that may seem to be pretty standard in the American lexicon,” Steve says. “But in different cultures, we know that some words or phrases can mean something entirely different depending on how they’re used in certain contexts. SIE opened up an opportunity for various eNets, including ours, to contribute. It turned into a two-hour session of just going down a list of variations, spotlighting some words that may have offensive meanings, or just explaining words that become offensive if used in a particular context.”
“I also work with BLACK@PlayStation,” Steve adds. “Having input from our eNets for the chat filters goes a long way to improving the gaming experience for so many people. Things like this are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the importance of eNets and the perspectives they provide at SIE.”
We’ve also encouraged SIE’s talent acquisition to partner with Latinx in Gaming and Latinas in Tech to source Latinx talent. Latinx in Gaming is a small community, but they have so much potential and are growing fast. I’ve attended some of their events in the past like a gaming happy hour. The event, CONEXION’s IGDA Virtual Mentor Hours, was an opportunity for Latinx members of the gaming industry to take a deep dive into all facets of game development. Most of all, it was really nice just to see people from all over Latin America who are in love with gaming. That’s really what it’s all about at the end of the day.
Looking forward, Spider-Man: Miles Morales should be used as a blueprint for how to create an inclusive gaming experience. There was cultural consultation and a variety of nuances addressed and researched before the game was put out to market. It was clear how the game resonated with the community. I hope we can spread that impact further.
“I’d love to see more Latinx, Chicano, Hispanic representation not just in gaming itself,but in leadership roles within the industry. We make up a pretty large group of the player base so I’d like to have some kind of parity in the industry and leadership roles.”
While we at Unidos@PlayStation can relate so well to each other, we aren’t exclusionary by any means. We want others to feel like they join in, hear our stories, and share their own. It’s all about bringing everyone together.
SIE is committed to creating a world where everyone belongs, fueled by our company culture, our products, and our incredible PlayStation community around the world. If you are interested in a career at Sony Interactive Entertainment, please take a moment to look at our opportunities at PlayStation Careers.