esports.png
MindsetTitle.png
Improving gaming culture by educating, elevating, and empowering marginalized communities.

CONTEXT

Live client project for XSET

TEAM

Kaz Bani (CBM)
Isabelle Boothe (XD)

ROLE

Experiential Design
Branding/Visual Identity
Product Design
UX/UI Design

TOOLKIT

Figma
Adobe Photoshop
 

01 | OVERVIEW

GAMING CULTURE CAN BE TOXIC.

003
005
007
001
004
002
006
008
GAMING IS MEANT TO BE FOR EVERYONE.
YET, IN 2021–
REPORTED FACING HARASSMENT WHILE GAMING.
scarlett.png
HARASSMENT ISN'T THE ONLY PAIN POINT THAT PLAGUES MARGINALIZED GROUPS WITHIN THE GAMES INDUSTRY.

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE.

Certain demographics are discouraged or outright blocked from playing video games until they reach an age of independence. This puts these players at a distinct disadvantage, as they do not have the practical experience that other players do.

ECONOMIC DISPARITY.

Some demographics don't have the disposable income to buy the necessary equipment to play competitively - or to play at all.

BAD ACTORS WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.

Despite the community's best efforts, there are players that benefit from toxicity and continue to perpetuate this negativity.
Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn

01 | OVERVIEW

CHALLENGE

HOW MIGHT WE COUNTERACT THE DISADVANTAGES MARGINALIZED GROUPS FACE WHEN IT COMES TO GAMING AND ESPORTS?

01 | OVERVIEW

OPPORTUNITY

CREATE A SERIES OF PROGRAMS THAT LEVELS UP THE SKILLS OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS SO THAT THEY ARE ON AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD WITH THE MASSES.

01 | OVERVIEW

STRATEGIC APPROACH

CHANGE THE MINDSET.

Gaming culture is toxic and for there to be any improvement, it needs to change from the very first level - through gamers.

By educating, elevating, and empowering marginalized communities within gaming, we can change the industry's mindset and improve gaming for all.
 

03 | SOLUTION

MindsetSplash.png
MindsetTitle.png
A series of interconnected programs that builds expertise amongst marginalized communities within gaming in an uplifting way. 
THE MINDSET EXPERIENCE INCLUDES
 

01 | OVERVIEW

IMMERSIVE SUMMER CAMP

The classes and activities of the MINDSET summer camp are carefully cultivated to level up skills while building a network of resources and improving gaming culture for the future.
THE MINDSET SUMMER CAMP PUSHES PLAYERS TO PURSUE THEIR PASSION AND UNLOCK THEIR TRUE POTENTIAL.
An in-person 4-week program, the MINDSET summer camp provides an immersive experience to learn the foundations of gaming. From technical skills, to strategy, to team building, participants will leave with renewed confidence in their abilities, professional connections within the gaming industry, and new friends from across the country.
IMG_0241.JPG
XSETFade.png

CORE ACTIVITY - GAMING

HazSlashEndCap2.png
What better way to hone their skills than with practical application?

Campers will be split into groups that will become their teams for the 4-week summer camp. Teams will compete against themselves, counselors, and other teams to become familiar with a variety of game genres and find their true calling.
Counters the experiential advantage long-time gamers have.
Provides campers with access to equipment they may not have at home.
Enables campers to learn how to game in a safe, positive, and encouraging environment.
computer.png
XSETFade.png

CORE ACTIVITY - BUILD YOUR SET

HazSlashEndCap2.png
Just like with conventional sports, players should know their equipment in order to use it to its fullest.

Instead of having to deal with a prebuilt PC that they may have to troubleshoot later, campers will be shown how to build their very own custom PC that they will use to play during the entire program. Once the camp comes to a close, campers will be able to take their build home to continue their gaming adventures.
Builds a foundation of confidence in the knowledge of equipment.
Provides campers with equipment they may not be able to otherwise afford.
Creates the opportunity for a soft introduction to technology for marginalized groups that are underrepresented in that field.
ella-don-s3cSol6Y6eY-unsplash.jpg
XSETFade.png

CORE ACTIVITY - STREAMING & PERIPHERALS

HazSlashEndCap2.png
As a professional player, learning how to stream and how to set up peripherals is a necessity.

Including everything from custom keyboards, to specialized mice or controllers, to the perfectly fitted headset, peripherals are a staple in gaming. Sponsored by leaders in the industry, campers will be able to experiment with various peripherals and learn how to set them up properly for the best gaming and streaming experience.
Counters the experiential advantage long-time gamers have.
Provides campers with the ability to try out equipment without having to commit to something they may not like.
Enables campers to learn how to set up their equipment in a safe, positive, and encouraging environment.
IMG_0226.JPG
XSETFade.png

CORE ACTIVITY - STRATEGY & TECHNIQUES

HazSlashEndCap2.png
There’s more to gaming than button smashing and hoping for the best.

Campers will learn how to build teams and strategize for a variety of game genres. With professional and expert gamers to guide them, campers will develop new skills and learn how to analyze situations to push past their gaming limits.
Counters the experiential advantage long-time gamers have.
Connects campers with professionals and experts in the industry that they can continue to rely on.
Enables campers to learn how to game in a safe, positive, and encouraging environment.
e1095b5092cddecef67f44405e254361.jpg
XSETFade.png

CORE ACTIVITY - GAMING HEALTH

HazSlashEndCap2.png
Over 50% of gamers experience some level of discomfort within their joints.

Behind every sports team, there are health coaches, physical therapists, and personal trainers. As a professional gamer, knowing how to take care of their body is essential to efficiency and longevity. Campers will learn how to take care of themselves while grinding long hours, easy exercises and stretches, and how to maintain healthy habits.
Provides campers with a healthy foundation to build habits off of.
Educates campers on an issue they may not have ever thought of.
Enables campers to learn how to game in a safe, positive, and encouraging environment.
team-of-teenage-gamers-plays-in-a-multiplayer-vide-2021-08-28-01-22-12-utc.jpg
XSETFade.png

CORE ACTIVITY - CREATE A GAME

HazSlashEndCap2.png
When you understand the why, you can better address the how.

By knowing their environment, campers will learn how to best use it to their advantage – and what better way to understand a game than to try and make one? An exercise in creative thinking and team building, campers will get an overview of what goes into developing a game from industry professionals and have the opportunity to create one themselves.
Provides the opportunity to collaborate with others from across the country whom they may not have met otherwise.
Connects campers with professionals and experts in the industry that they can continue to rely on.
Creates the opportunity for a soft introduction to technology for marginalized groups that are underrepresented in that field.
While Core Activities make up the bulk of the MINDSET camp program, all work and no play makes summer quite dull. With extra supplemental activities to break up the “work”, campers will be encouraged to create relationships with their peers, learn how to work together, and enjoy themselves.
4 (1).jpg
giorgio-grani-r7rz1CYZzW0-unsplash.jpg

EXTRAS - PAINTBALL

ezgif.com-gif-maker.png

EXTRAS - OBSTACLE COURSES

EXTRAS - BRAND YOUR TEAM

Create a custom logo and design your own jerseys for your team! Wear them to your final gaming session and bring them home with you at the end of the camp.
Put your real-life strategy, agility, and teamwork to the test. Compete against other teams for paintball dominance in a variety of different environments.
Wish you could execute those crazy stunts in real life? Now you can! Test your skills, stretch those stiff muscles, and help your team master the various obstacle courses.
 

01 | OVERVIEW

MONTHLY WORKSHOPS

The MINDSET summer camp serves as a crash course to level up the skills of marginalized communities, but the learning doesn’t stop there.
TO CONTINUE HONING THEIR SKILLS, BUILD NEW SKILLS, AND LEARN VALUABLE INSIGHTS WITHIN THE GAMING COMMUNITY, THE MINDSET PROGRAM WILL HOST FREE MONTHLY WORKSHOPS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR.
Advertised across campus media, MINDSET workshops will be hosted every month by a guest speaker. These speakers include celebrity gamers, professional gamers, members of the XSET staff, and other industry professionals.

These workshops would include a discussion of the speaker’s area of expertise, a demo or walkthrough of some of their skills or their setup, and a Q&A portion.

For those who stick around, after the official workshop is a jam session where participants can play a game with the guest speaker, continue to work on whatever skill was covered with assistance from the guest speaker, break off into teams to work together, and more.
Poster Mockup.png
At the end of the MINDSET workshops, users will be consistently engaged and won’t forget what they learned during the summer camp. They will continue to build a strong network of resources and relationships while also building up their skills and honing in on their gaming goals.
 

01 | OVERVIEW

COMMUNITY COMPETITIONS

MINDSET’s monthly workshops are a great way to continue building skills while maintaining engagement. As the school year goes on, however, the workshops may feel repetitive and there may be a decline in participation.
TO REVITALIZE INTEREST, GAIN NEW PARTICIPANTS, AND BUILD EXCITEMENT, THE MINDSET PROGRAM WILL INCLUDE BIANNUAL COMMUNITY COMPETITIONS.
Laptop MockupL.png
Advertised across campus media, MINDSET competitions will be held biannually with one in the fall and one in the spring over a three-day weekend.

The fall competition will feature indie games, specifically those created by developers from marginalized communities, to generate hype and viewership for smaller creators, help support those communities, and introduce players to new and interesting games.

The spring competition will feature mainstream AAA titles, providing the perfect opportunity for partnerships.

With an XSET staff member assigned to each team to break the ice and provide guidance if necessary, teams will compete against each other for wacky and outlandish achievements and awards such as “Most Creative Solution”, “Most Deaths”, “Best Way to Break the Game”, “Fastest Timed Run”, etc.

Winners will get an exclusive trophy for that year and achievement, creating the perfect bragging point amongst their other friends and garnering more interest in the program. Other awards include gaming equipment, accessories, and merchandise, as well as scholarships sponsored by XSET and its partners.
The MINDSET competitions are a great community-building opportunity while also serving a practical purpose. They will start and end the school year with a bang and have MINDSET (and, therefore, XSET) at the forefront of the mind as summer begins again.
MindsetTitle.png
Want to know more about my process?
 

04 | REFLECTIONS

01 | OVERVIEW

THE HIGHS

01 | OVERVIEW

THE LOWS

As a casual gamer myself, I always find it exciting to work on projects having to do with the industry – especially when it involves bringing aspects of digital gaming to the real world. As a member of a marginalized community, I also found it extremely fulfilling to work on a project that would improve gaming culture. Finally, as a designer, it was a fun challenge to build off an existing brand and create something that was fresh and powerful while still maintaining the brand's core aesthetic and messaging.
As always, scope is a constant consideration. There are so many ways to address toxicity within gaming, but it’s not possible to solve all the problems there are in one fell swoop. Additionally, there was a careful balance we had to strike between what programs would work and what made sense for XSET, the brand, to do.

01 | OVERVIEW

THE FUTURE

MINDSET started off as a passion project but it has the potential to be so much more. While its current iteration could benefit from a communications plan and KPIs, in the long term there is an amazing opportunity for partnerships across different sections of the gaming industry. These partnerships could range from game developers, to esports companies, to streaming platforms, each providing support for marginalized communities within their own specialties.