TV One Getting Its Game On

TV One will enter the popular video gaming industry by creating a game design and development competition for African American game developers, the network announced Thursday.

The network will partner with Entertainment Arts Research Inc. to form the Urban Game Jam, which will offer urban game developers a new, high-profile opportunity to exhibit video games and music produced for the industry.

Details are still in development for the competition - announced at the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco -- but TV One is expected to give game developers exposure through its website and possibly on-air, said network officials.

"African Americans play video games in huge numbers, but represent a tiny portion of the game developing profession," said TV One Digital Media Vice President Allison Rand in a statement. "There has been research showing that this trend may lead to the scarcity and/or stereotyping of black characters in video games. We are very excited about this contest and this partnership with Entertainment Arts Research and look forward to helping stimulate and encourage the proliferation of content by black game developers."

Added Joseph Saulter, CEO of Entertainment Arts Research Inc: "We have an opportunity to add a symphony of innovative, creative content to the video game industry. Technology has opened a window for diversity and African American game developers are changing the complexion of the industry with culturally sensitive video games and musical style. The Urban Game Jam is our way of introducing the video game industry to amazing African American comic book characters and science fiction stories from a universal perspective."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.