Nearly 83 percent of African-American millennials play video games, but only two percent of African-Americans actually work in the gaming industry. With the help of McDonald’s and REVOLT, Morris Brown College in Atlanta is working to change these statistics by producing the next generation of gaming industry leaders.
Through this partnership, the Morris Brown eSports lab, the first of its kind at an HBCU, was upgraded and renovated. In addition to the renovation, The Ronald Floyd Thomas Center for eSports and Innovation received a $25,000 donation, so that it may continue its mission.
This game-changing collaboration between McDonald’s and REVOLT was led by expert architect and acclaimed set designer Davon Johnson and famed gaming consultant Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville. Johnson and Ms. Basketball showcased and revealed their gaming space renovation on REVOLT’s “Game Cave.”
Before beginning work on the space, Ms. Basketball hosted a roundtable discussion with a few Morris Brown students to discuss what the gaming center means to them and what it means to have it on their campus. One student said, “What made me want to do eSports growing up is I always loved video games, but I always thought that it was for the boys.” Breaking barriers of not only race but also gender in eSports is why this Morris Brown collaboration with McDonald’s and REVOLT is also important to the future of gaming.
“The fact that you could actually come to Morris Brown College to the eSports center, play video games, make money, work, and be in a place with like-minded individuals… I know it has to be a liberating feeling. Like, not only are we back now, but we couldn’t be (any) bigger and better than ever,” Ms. Basketball said to the students.
“Our mission is to give it a facelift… but how do we make it immersive, so that they actually feel like they’re in this game?” Johnson asked of gaming consultant Ms. Basketball. As they contemplated how to renew the space, Ms. Basketball discussed an often overlooked item in gaming rooms. “Lighting is everything! A lot of people don’t understand how important lighting is. You’ve got to think about the true gamers.” She went on to energetically talk about the need for students to have separate spaces for streaming. “I think that’d be dope to have. This is just the center for them to do their game… and then have another space where they can create whatever it is… maybe they want to go live on Twitch. It’s really important to make sure that these content spaces have great light… a lot of our gamers now, they’re streaming on Twitch and on YouTube, on so many different platforms that they’re making money on, so that quality needs to be top-notch.”
As of today, The Ronald Floyd Thomas Center for eSports and Innovation at Morris Brown has been fully and beautifully renovated. The space features new and comfy ergonomic seating, paint, updated LED and neon lighting throughout, retro arcade games have been installed, and an overall futuristic aesthetic. At the big reveal, Coach E and his students were surprised to learn that the renovation also included an additional content room within the gaming center, which will allow students to stream on Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms so they can monetize their gaming.
Watch The Ronald Floyd Thomas Center eSports lab be transformed on the REVOLT website here.