For some, the journey into the games industry takes years of persistence and career building in another field before networking and passion lands them that job in gaming. This month, we’re featuring the stories of Xbox employees that started their careers in Retail and explore how they transitioned into their current roles in Xbox. Last time, we met Albert Dankwa III, a Content Program Manager for Xbox Support. Today, we’re happy to share the journey of Chris Douglas, a Business Program Manager for Xbox Game Studios (XGS) Game Camp.
Chris grew up playing video games with his family, and from a young age was intrigued by how they worked. He remembers playing his first video game and thinking, “I don’t understand what’s happening. When I move these arrows or press this button, the character on screen moves and jumps, but how? What is going on between the controller and the system and the screen to make all these things happen? That started my journey and got me excited about technology and gaming.”
When he began talking to advisors and teachers about his plans after high school, Chris remembers being told “there’s no money in technology and video games, you won’t be able to do that.” As he got closer to graduation, Chris told his parents that he wanted to be part of the gaming industry, whether that was in development or marketing or some other capacity. He remembers them telling him “I don’t believe that is something for you. We don’t see a lot of people of color, especially black men, with these jobs.” Chris knows his parents weren’t trying to kill his dreams but rather wanted to protect him from failure. Growing up in a black household, Chris says “you don’t have the ability to fail. You don’t have the same privileges as other people and you only get one shot.” Now that he has learned more about the importance of having a growth mindset, Chris understands the benefits and opportunities that come from learning from your failures. Still, he acknowledges that the experiences of other black people often match his parents’ expectations.
After graduating high school, Chris began attending Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, the only historically Black, Catholic university in the United States. Still, many of the computer science professors were white men. Chris continued to meet adversity, but with the recent launch of Xbox from his dream employer Microsoft, he was determined to continue his pursuit of a career in gaming. Shortly after, Chris’ personal life took a turn when his mom found out she had breast cancer. Chris realized he could not work two jobs, support his family, and attend school.
After a series of warehouse and retail jobs, Chris became a store manager at GameStop, where he was promoted several times. While he enjoyed learning about new gaming features, in particular the Xbox 360, Chris realized that brick and mortar stores were not the future of retail. He left GameStop for AT&T, and after 5 years there had…