Nerjyzing Diversity in the Video Gaming Industry - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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1116_ENT Jacqueline Beauchamp2

Beauchamp

Some people sit and watch on the sidelines, while others play the game. Jacqueline S. Beauchamp plays the game. Not satisfied with the dearth of diversity in the video gaming industry, in 2004 Beauchamp partnered with three colleagues to start Nerjyzed Entertainment Inc. to not only put more African American players in games, but also to increase the number of developers in the field.

“I kept saying for about two and a half years [that] someone needs to… bring some different products and different experiences to the market segment,” says the former Motorola executive. Then she realized that she was that someone.

With the release of “The Black College Football Experience: The Doug Williams Edition” Nerjyzed has done what no other company has done before: It has created the first game published by a black-owned interactive digital media company for high-end video game consoles.

Over the years, Beauchamp, now Nerjyzed CEO, and her three co-founders–  all graduates of HBCUs–were able to raise $8 million in seed money and hire 45 programmers and video game developers to work toward their goal of creating a sports video game that focuses on the football leagues of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The endeavor has been five years in the making and the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based company has seen its share of ups and downs. But now, after the game’s autumn release, Beauchamp, 47, a former manager with experience working at Motorola and IBM, is ecstatic that BCFx is finally taking up shelf space at Wal-mart, GameStop, and Amazon.com.

BCFx features more than 40 teams from HBCUs that battle on the football field using not only their players but their drumlines. It also has interactive halftime shows complete with drum majors, cheerleaders, and bands. The drumline portion of the game allows players to compete against other players in a rhythm-based competition. Using a drum pad, gamers can choose to perform one of over a 120 songs ranging from artists like Beyoncé to Frankly Beverly and Maze.

Beauchamp spoke with Black Enterprise about Nerjyzed’s false starts, the support the company received from HBCUs, and explained why it is important to honor NFL legends who have roots in black college teams.

BlackEnterprise.com: Why did it take such a long time to obtain the certification to produce the games on Xbox and Sony Playstation consoles?

Jacqueline Beauchamp: Our product is very different. We have integrated two of the top tier genres in the video game industry into one product: football and head-to-head, rhythm-based competition on one game. We were the first to be able to do that.

The integration of two different genres [created] a different class of product, which took a little bit longer than we had anticipated. It was just a little bit more challenging. There were some rules that actually changed in the middle and we literally had to go back and redo a number of things that we had previously met the requirements on.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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