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Want more women in games? Start with girls

Want more women in games? Start with girls

Fri 29 Mar 2013 3:51am GMT / 11:51pm EDT / 8:51pm PDT
PoliticsGDC 2013

GDC 2013: Robin Hunicke, Anna Kipnis, Kiki Wolfkill and more on encouraging gender equality during Women in Games panel

There's been a lot of talk about gender equality in the game industry of late, but at the Microsoft-sponsored Women in Gaming event in San Francisco today, the focus was on action. In a panel tackling the issue from a variety of angles, Double Fine senior programmer Anna Kipnis, Parsons New School for Design professor Colleen Macklin, Social Chocolate designer Jane McGonigal, 343 Industries executive producer Kiki Wolfkill, and Funomena designer Robin Hunicke answered a question from emcee Felicia Day about practical things women in games can do to change perceptions in the industry.

Hunicke went first, suggesting that women in development try to get in front of school-age kids, to present them with a game designer who doesn't look and talk like they might expect. She suggested offering to speak to local girl scouts, after-school groups, or church groups for a start.

"You can reach those kids and inspire them to be game designers in 10-15 years," Hunicke said. "That's something you can do locally at pretty much just the cost of an afternoon."

Macklin agreed, saying that the answer to making more women game developers is to start young. She said developers could help by talking to local boys and girls clubs about teaching game design, or working with teachers to start school programs. Part of the problem is that women grow up never considering a career in game development, something she hears frequently from women in Parsons graduate programs who hadn't picked up an interest in gaming until they arrived at the school. Macklin also suggested men in game development could turn down invitations to appear for industry shows like GDC unless women are also on their panels.

Some of the answers were focused on more immediate results. McGonigal said that when she prepares talks for conferences, she makes sure to mix up the pictures of gamers to present as many women players and men, and tries to cite research from men and women equally as well.

Kipnis talked about her experience inadvertently founding the Peter Molydeux GameJam, which started as an idle tweet and wound up an internationally organized weekend of game creation for hundreds of developers. Kipnis said in the past, she had generally tried to keep a low profile out of fear that she would be subjected to harassment at the hands of anonymous Internet commenters. However, the Molydeux GameJam taught her that the indie community was tremendously welcoming and inclusive. As a result, she suggested that perhaps the answer is to behave as if there isn't a problem with the way women are perceived in games, and in so doing, people may find the reality of the situation is better than they feared.

43 Comments

Jade Law
Senior concept artist

72 291 4.0
What I like about this is that she didnt just refer to girls as a gaming demographic and therefore one that can only be catered to with more female developers, she's simply informing young girls about a career option they may have not heard about previously.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
Popular Comment
I presume in such an age of PC that nobody ever asked the question, "do we NEED more wormen?"

I have nothing against women in development at all, and have worked with many - mostly good, some bad. But at no point in my 25 year career have I ever stated aloud, "Shit, if only we had more women." I've often thought we need more people and sometimes hired some. But never because of their gender. Not now, not ever.

Got a problem with "booth babes"? I do too tbh, I think they should be called "booth female humans" and leave everything else how it is. Maybe add a few "booth male humans" now that women are more generally into playing our creations.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
There is a Geek Barbie video game!!: http://www.gamesmiracle.com/Geek-Barbie-Dress-Up-3433

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

263 989 3.8
Popular Comment
Maybe add a few "booth male humans" now that women are more generally into playing our creations.
That's not really how it works... some of us are of the apparently radical opinion that pointlessly sexualised eyecandy doesn't really belong in an industry that wants to think of itself as mature.

Posted:A year ago

#4

David Radd
Senior Editor

359 78 0.2
This is a holistic thing about getting girls more interested in these sorts of professions early, rather than an insistence that companies immediately start hiring women. Considering that women are now in the solid majority of college graduates, it would benefit the industry for expanding in the future.

Posted:A year ago

#5

James Brightman
Editor in Chief

226 266 1.2
@ Jessica, completely agree. There's no need or justification to have people of either gender standing around a booth in scantily clad attire. It does nothing for the game and has nothing to do with making good games.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
" some of us are of the apparently radical opinion that pointlessly sexualised eyecandy doesn't really belong in an industry that wants to think of itself as mature"

Yep, some. Personally, I want as much sexual eye candy as possible. Nor do I want gaming to "grow up", as either a developer or a consumer.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

263 989 3.8
Popular Comment
Yep, some. Personally, I want as much sexual eye candy as possible. Nor do I want gaming to "grow up", as either a developer or a consumer.
#1reasonwhy

Posted:A year ago

#8

Howard Parry

23 13 0.6
Are you saying that sexual attraction isn't a "grown up" thing? It is the reason we are all here. We admire the female and male form, sexually, because it encourages us to procreate, to form the next generation. Nothing more grown up than that.

To deny that in the name of maturity is actually counterproductive to our humanity.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
Good luck with that Howard. The few (but sadly still too many) times I've seen harcore feminists, I've come away each time with the impression that they think everyone else should be an amorphous grey blob for whom sex isn't even a thing. In other words, humanity deniers.

Despite having grown up kids, a mortgage (still) and running a small business, I'm still a childish idiot who likes to piss about from time to time, thinks that tits on a game character can never be too big, or a trouser bulge too fat for that matter. I've occasionally even drawn an overly large dick on the whiteboard. Here's the thing, I am not ashamed of any of this. Too much thinking goin on here, especially for an industry that's meant to be about fun. hashtag blowme

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 29th March 2013 9:32pm

Posted:A year ago

#10

David Serrano
Freelancer

299 270 0.9
@Jessica Hyland

Exactly.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
There's a difference between sexual attraction and eye-candy, even if it's just situational-context. For one thing, there's an implied consent in sexual-attraction situations (that is, both people are willing), where-as eye-candy is, well... Just eye-candy: Women standing around who are there to be leered at (whether they like and enjoy being leered at is besides the point). One situation is grown-up and natural, the other is juvenile and makes members of the other gender feel uncomfortable. That last point alone should be all people need to go "Okay, let's not have eye-candy." Why would any industry accept making one group of people feel uncomfortable if it could be avoided?

Posted:A year ago

#12

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
Moville. I want the eye candy. And I don't want you and Jessica making my decisions for me, thanks.

But more than this, I want the majority to win. I'm sure this used to happen. I hate the idea of journalists and games bloggers, so please jack that shit in as you're offending me by your presence. No seriously, if I could get 10 people to say that, would you change your job?

I often speak to the booth babes and have never yet come away thinking anything other than these women are bright and bubbly, love the idea of a bit of exhibitionism and are well happy to be there. Most are usually students, not the drug addicted prostitutes force into this that I'm sure the other side would love to be true. If you do extract a confession from them, they'll tell you the downside is having to smile all the time and be on your feet all day. The same thing every one of the exhibitors is thinking.

The only people not happy with the status quo are a tiny minority of people who doubtless don't smile anywhere near enough.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 29th March 2013 9:49pm

Posted:A year ago

#13

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
And I don't want you and Jessica making my decisions for me, thanks.
Right. And I'm sure that girls who are interested in getting into gaming (either playing or developing) totally want you making the decision for them that their gender is there to be gawked and leered at. I ask again: Why would any industry accept making one group of people feel uncomfortable if it could be avoided? Booth-babes make (some) women feel uncomfortable.
Most are usually students, not the drug addicted prostitutes force into this that I'm sure the other side would love to be true.
Please don't start putting words into other people's mouths. I don't think any of the booth-babe types are "drug addicted prostitutes", so don't start reframing the argument based around that.
I often speak to the booth babes and have never yet come away thinking anything other than these women are bright and bubbly, love the idea of a bit of exhibitionism and are well happy to be there.
Shockingly, they're paid to be like that. They may actually enjoy being there as well, but they're paid to smile and parade around.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
I'm not making decisions for them. They can either play my games or they can not. If I want to exclude them, welcome them or target them is up to me. How they respond to that is up to them. That's it really.

I've never actually employed any booth babes or hunks. Although if I could have when I last exhibited my own title (a bafte nominated war game), I would've found a woman with massive breasts and gave her a "suck my turret" t-shirt to wear. Because it's a war game and the male audience would look at the t-shirt, giggle at the joke and remember the game. That's it really.

(some) women feel uncomfortable seeing scantily clad women? Fine, I'll grant you that. I hate students wandering around just trying to play free stuff when I could be showing off my games to journos which is why I went. Where's the hashtag for that, ban them all I say. Burn em.

Paid to smile and stand around? Bastards, I had to do that and DIDN'T get paid for it.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Richard Yaxley
Design / Music / QA

12 9 0.8
I've gotta be honest, I like the way you are Paul, straight to the fucking point and if someone disagrees they can go fuck themselves.

Why bother with these petty arguments though? I mean your first comment is right on the money to be fair. These women who've never thought of being a video game developer really need to have it fucking spelled out for them don't they?

Perhaps there's actually a reason why they never thought of it? Perhaps they aren't actually fucking interested enough in video games in the first place so why would they bother?

I thought the PC brigade and their agenda mech had run out of steam but it seems to be rearing it's ugly head once more telling us how bad we all are and how things ought to be. Personally I prefer to think for myself, make up my own mind and block out the general consensus' bullshit.

#noherdmentality

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Richard Yaxley on 30th March 2013 1:22am

Posted:A year ago

#16

Jade Law
Senior concept artist

72 291 4.0
Paul, i like the cut of your jib : P

Posted:A year ago

#17

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
Perhaps there's actually a reason why they never thought of it? Perhaps they aren't actually fucking interested enough in video games in the first place so why would they bother?
Indeed. Why on Earth aren't they at home baking and having babies? After all, they've never thought of being a scientist or a lecturer, so they can't be that bothered about it. Tsk. Wimmin.

*shakes head* It's not about getting more women in to the industry per-se, it's about making the industry a welcoming place for them. People keep on missing this. And for them, 2 things:

1) If this were about race instead of gender, would people still be so against it?
2) Read this and think about how the attitudes of people create a mentality that allows such things to survive: http://meagan-marie.tumblr.com/post/46396481491/what-would-you-do-if-you-werent-afraid

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 30th March 2013 8:18am

Posted:A year ago

#18

Nick Parker
Consultant

280 144 0.5
There are many industries where each sex seems to be in a minority, that's the way of the world. The reasons are many and certainly not always down to sexism. It's tough for women to climb the ladder in politics and despite the efforts of numerous governments to attract higher numbers, women remain in a minority. In haute cuisine, there are many more successful male chefs than female (which is ironic for those bigots who believe the woman's place is in the kitchen). Now you may say it takes a certain kind of woman to be successful in politics or haute cuisine - what kind? A very thick skinned kind or a highly ambitious kind or something else?.....or perhaps maybe, like in games, women are not drawn to that profession; they're just not interested. Just as men may not be generally interested in female dominated industries. That lack of interest could be driven by the fear of the glass ceiling which is prevalent in certain industries but there are plenty of senior female managers in development.

For some types of gaming experience, women make up a high share of the community, for others a very low share. It's purely down to what interests people. Sorry to personalise this but I have headed up teams at both Nintendo and Sony that had an equal amount of women and men and I found that men were more interested in some jobs (programmers) and women more interested in others (designers) but we never chose to employ one sex for one job.

As for booth babes, don't get me started...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 30th March 2013 11:08am

Posted:A year ago

#19

Paul Sinnett
Programmer

7 7 1.0
I'm currently volunteering with Code Club. It's a voluntary after school programming club for children aged 9 to 11 where we make video games and interactive stories. The mix of boys and girls is about 50/50. I also teach programming at a university and there the ratio of girls to boys is nearer 1 in 10. Whatever is causing girls to lose interest in games, and particularly programming, must be happening between those age groups; and it's learned behaviour.

I pity those game developers that are so easily manipulated by such trivial sexual marketing techniques. You'd think a group so into games would know when they're being played.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
>> 1) If this were about race instead of gender, would people still be so against it?

Absolutely. Racism is Racism. So called positive racism is as bad as the negative sort imo. Probably worse actually, as it gives people, that weren't racist originally, something to point at and shout "unfair."

You should treat people equally, including ignoring them equally if they choose to take offence at your otherwise perfectly fine and legal behaviour.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Richard Yaxley
Design / Music / QA

12 9 0.8
@Morville O'Driscoll
Indeed. Why on Earth aren't they at home baking and having babies? After all, they've never thought of being a scientist or a lecturer, so they can't be that bothered about it. Tsk. Wimmin.
Are you having a laugh? Where did I say that women belong in the kitchen etc? So do you actually think about your responses or do you just press LT for path A or RT for path B? You just judged me as some kind of male chauvinist because my opinion differs from yours!

I have nothing against women doing whatever they want, if she does the same job as a bloke she should get equal pay.

I never thought about being a lecturer or scientist either because from an early age I was interested in art and followed that route. If you're intelligent enough you'll find your own path and if that's video games then so be it.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
@ Richard

No, and no offense was meant. But when your preceding paragraph is
Why bother with these petty arguments though? I mean your first comment is right on the money to be fair. These women who've never thought of being a video game developer really need to have it fucking spelled out for them don't they?
Then you come across as chauvinistic, and boarish. If that's not you, then I do sincerely apologise, but you should really re-read that post of your's and see how you put yourself forward.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Martin Hollis
Hardcore Feminist

4 12 3.0
Popular Comment
Paul Johnson, your openness and forthrightness does you credit.

The same can not be said for your views, your assertions and your attitude. Here I see the now-familiar mix of ignorance, absent empathy, and a posturing selfishness which is actually narrow-minded and self-harming in the long term.

Your question was "Do we need more women?". It is a statement in the guise of a question. You say "I have nothing against women in development at all" but this is actually contradictory to the tone and the substance of your words. Your remarks together "hardcore feminists" and "tits on a game character can never be too big", "hashtag blowme" make your actual opinion clear. Your position can be summarized as: women can get lost.

It can also be summarized in one word.

Arguing against the ignorance, also displayed by other commenters above, you could take my word for it that many women in the industry have found themselves insulted, unwelcomed and held back by the assumptions and prejudices and occasionally extremely nasty attitudes of their colleagues. Or you could listen to the one woman in this thread who has direct experience. Or you could ask a woman with direct experience. I'm certain Robin Hunicke and Anna Kipnis would be happy to share stories in the interest of educating any person who has an open mind. I do not know Kiki Wolfkill but likely the same is true of her. I'm sure any woman who has worked widely in the industry and who has the confidence to tell a doubter the truth will be able to open eyes to the degree possible. Or you could check out the #1reasonwhy stream on twitter. https://twitter.com/search?q=%231reasonwhy&src=typd It comes to my mind after your earlier remark about hardcore feminists that you might feel comfortable dismissing the many hundreds of comments on twitter as those of hardcore feminists. If you can only comfortably accept the opinion of men you can watch predominantly male applause after the "1 Reason Why" panel at GDC this week https://vine.co/v/bjJ3175jtX1

Against the lack of empathy you are displaying it is harder to argue, as a person (apparently) lacking a core skill cannot be empowered suddenly by virtue of an internet comment. I can tell you my story in brief, which is that I was once a young programmer and quite uninterested in matters of equal rights in the games industry workplace. Not actively antagonistic but uninterested. Now that I have a family, including sons and a daughter it is easy for me to understand the inherent problems of a workplace and a general culture which is antagonistic to one sex. Half of my grandchildren will be girls and then women. What is the logic of hobbling them with the prejudices of the 18th Century? I would like the women to be able to choose a profession based on their wishes and talents. I would not want the question of their life's work to be decided by a loud minority of bullies and obnoxious attitudes. Logic is no replacement for empathy, but it might serve.



Every time a warm welcome is extended to men and a frosty silence or worse is served to women another brick is laid in a wall which excludes a set of people. Walls do not benefit creative industries, rather they choke them.



Through this chain of reasoning I come to my conclusion: A warm welcome should be extended to all, and yes we do need women.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,013 1.3
@Martin. I fully respect your right to take exception to my views and disagree with them, as well as your right to interpret them and project as you see fit. I won't be defending myself against your charges as I don't have to.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Robin Clarke
Producer

300 684 2.3
Thank you Martin for bringing some sense to this.

"These women who've never thought of being a video game developer really need to have it fucking spelled out for them don't they?"

Yes they do.

When I was at school and university, the idea that working in video games was something that you could actually aspire to do, if you weren't a maths genius with rich parents and the right connections, was never seriously entertained until I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work at a small studio.

Now imagine how much higher the barriers must be for girls, where the expectation to be immersed in the games culture and to choose science and engineering subjects is still not at parity with boys (although steadily improving).

The fact that we've had such an explosion in ideas and subject matter in indie games (as the technical knowledge required to use the tools has dropped) in the past five years should tip people off that we've not been encouraging anything like a broad enough range of people to get involved in development.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Richard Yaxley
Design / Music / QA

12 9 0.8
I think you interpretation of Paul's comments are misconstrued or perhaps mine are?

I didn't see his question of "do we need more women?" as a dig at the female of the species but more of a reaction towards those people who seem to act like they know what's best for everyone and pretend to be very liberal and tolerant until someone challenges them. At that point the real left wing Nazi comes to the forefront of the affair, leaving the liberal attitude at the door.

I've read some of the comments made via the #1reasonwhy and I have to say some of their experiences sound like a real bastard. There was one example where a guy said out loud "I'm not employing anymore women, they're trouble" now depending on the situation that could be just a joke said off the cuff, but if he didn't have that kind of joking relationship with the women in the office then what he said was totally out of line and if I was involved I'd have reprimanded him. Written warning, whatever it takes.

I'm afraid sexual stereotypes and male/female roles will die hard. After all, we are only animals and whilst male and female should be seen as equal it's unfortunately not quite as simple as that! If it was men and women competing together in the 100m sprint at the Olympics. I know that's a thin example but those difference are there and they have a bearing on many things, especially subconsciously!

We should be treated equally but we must remember that we are also different. I feel somewhere along the way we've lost sight of that.

It's a very delicate subject, I don't have the answers but debate and awareness helps. I just get angry when someone attempts to enforce their views on me and becomes abusive when I say no. Especially when they're claiming the moral high ground by saying they are open minded and tolerant etc.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Yaxley on 30th March 2013 5:31pm

Posted:A year ago

#27

Richard Yaxley
Design / Music / QA

12 9 0.8
Robin, so what you are saying essentially is women aren't intelligent enough to work out these kind of things on their own?

I'm 33, come from a working class family living off fuck all and I left school with 3 C grade GCSE's. No one told me I could be prime minister or aspire to be something better in life.

I learnt more about the world in 2 years of employment than the whole of my school life. I then went to uni as a mature student and left with a 2:1. because I had the hunger to get somewhere better.

People don't need their hand held, they need a metaphorical kick up the arse!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Richard Yaxley on 30th March 2013 5:46pm

Posted:A year ago

#28
You can't metaphorically kick someone up the arse into a place that makes them wholly (and often proudly) unwelcome.

Posted:A year ago

#29

David Serrano
Freelancer

299 270 0.9
@Martin Hollis

Well said.

But "do we need more women?" wasn't even a rational or logical question when you look at the data. 47 percent of the gaming audience is female, 48 percent of the most frequent purchasers of games are female, and women 18 or older now represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30%) than boys age 17 or younger (18%). If these trends continue at the same rate as the past few years, female players will represent the majority of the gaming audience by 2016 or 2017.

Which means the market is rapidly approaching the point where female players will at a minimum, represent half of the audience while the game development community is still predominately male (80 percent or more.) And as Chris Bateman and Richard Boon pointed out in their book 21st Century Game Design: "Up until now [2005], games have been able to rely on Thinking-preference approaches because the majority of the audience has been male and the majority of male players are biased towards Thinking (60%) [player type]" They went on to advise: "incorporating design elements that reflect the needs of Feeling-preference players [predominately female] seems to be a sound strategy for appealing to a wider audience." Advice which the male dominated development and business communities of course... completely ignored.

So the reality is the industry needed a huge influx of female designers, creative directors, writers, producers, etc... 5 to 10 years ago. The lack of diversity now makes the development community unsuited and ill-equipped to serve the needs of the existing audiences, let alone the types of audiences which will exist 5 to 10 years from now.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 30th March 2013 6:28pm

Posted:A year ago

#30

Jade Law
Senior concept artist

72 291 4.0
Popular Comment
I've never thought that the argument that because there is more female gamers so we need more female developers to cater to them is a solid one.
Do male writers only appeal to male audiences? Do male singers only appeal to male audiences?

The answer is no, honestly I hate all this shoehorning that suggest current female developers even want to cater to the female audience and the games they statistically prefer playing. Not all of us want to, and many of us like working on what suits us without even considering gender.
There is no reality that games needs a huge influx of women, we're clearly catering to girls already and will continue to do so regardless of who develops what.

I want equality and certainly within the UK we already have it, the simple fact is not many women are interested in the jobs within the games industry and theres many reasons for it. Women tend to avoid high pressure jobs, I know many women who are very talented artists but prefer the flexibility of working freelance than in a studio. Not because of the pressure of working with men but because it suits their working hours and theres no crunch. There are diffrences in what men and women want from a career, its as simple as that, its not just the games industry that sees this pattern.
Obviously there are always exceptions which is why we have a handful of talented female developers already.

My point is just because girls like to play games doesn't mean they will ever have an interest in games development. You need to separate the idea that consumers and developers require a cross over. Theres plenty of developers who dont even play games but excel in their fields.

Women already in development need to focus on contributing the best they can and proving that we are equal, talented and committed. Not just shout off about how there needs to be more of us because some numbers don't stack up.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jade Law on 31st March 2013 7:56am

Posted:A year ago

#31

Tudor Nita
C++ Multiplayer Programmer

23 26 1.1
As any other, content and balanced individual, I tend to stay away from these online arguments which do nothing to advance the industry. I've worked with every gender possible ( more so than the 2 readily available ones ) in a number of companies and I believe things are not as some would make it seem. I would argue Jade is the voice of the silent majority in this matter and has summed it up perfectly in both of these threads.

As an extra tidbit I would like to point out that if "47 percent of the gaming audience is female" then surely, the industry, to the consumer, is exactly where it should be, with an equal demographic split. No ? Or does the "vote with your wallet" rule suddenly not apply anymore ?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 31st March 2013 11:08am

Posted:A year ago

#32

David Serrano
Freelancer

299 270 0.9
@Tudor Nita

"As an extra tidbit I would like to point out that if "47 percent of the gaming audience is female" then surely, the industry, to the consumer, is exactly where it should be, with an equal demographic split. No ?"

If you think the industry is developing games that are highly appealing to the majority of consumers in the existing audiences, and you also think the industry will experience growth in the coming years by simply developing more of the same... then you probably think the industry is exactly where it should be.

As someone who has enjoyed 6 out of the 140 games I've played over the past six years... from my perspective most of the game industry is light years away from where it should be. And my gameplay preferences are more closely aligned with female players than with male players. If I didn't have a professional interest in player and audience profiling, I would have left the market in 2010. And according to Jason Rohrer, I wouldn't have been alone. He said in 2011: "It's gotten so bad that outside of my friends in the industry, nobody that I know plays video games anymore. The medium is losing its best, most thoughtful players." So this is a very real problem the development community will be forced to deal with sooner rather than later.

And as an extra tidbit I would like to point out speaking with your wallet should apply. The problem is the industry frequently chooses not to listen. Especially when the message is sent by female players in the core market. The Sims 3 has sold approximately 10 million copies, the series has sold 150 million copies and 65 to 70 percent of the players are female. Dark Souls sold 1.6 million copies and 99.9 percent of the players are male. Which game did the male dominated development community place on a pedestal and worship as the gold standard to be followed and emulated? Dark Souls, a game which its creative director openly admits he designed to be masochistic. So instead of developing new IP's to expand on the incredibly popular and accessible gameplay concepts of The Sims, core developers will instead base more games on a sexual fetish and will only appeal to 2 percent or less of the active worldwide console base. And if they earn a profit, they'll hang the mission accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier and start running victory laps. As they say, you can lead a horse to water...

Posted:A year ago

#33

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,520 1,314 0.9
@ David
core developers will instead base more games on a sexual fetish
Damn, I was seriously cheering you on up to this point. Masochistic in the sense of "a game that punishes the player for not paying attention" is not the same as masochistic in a "sexual fetish" sense. The full quote is:
Q: extreme difficulty? A:
Other than that, I entirely agree with your post.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 31st March 2013 8:07pm

Posted:A year ago

#34

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

214 535 2.5
You know, it's not the booth-babes or cos-play that bothers me - as each individual (women) have the right to dress up as they please - and in all honesty I enjoy seeing all types of young girls dressed up as their female heroines whenever I visit a CON.

What bothers me, what really ticks me off is sh!t like this and this. That sort of behaviour needs to stop and there must be zero tolerance for it with serious consequences for the perpetrators.
Just because some people work in the media doesn't give them the right to disguise what they're thinking into innapropriate questions/jokes for an "interview".

Posted:A year ago

#35

Nick McCrea
Gentleman

178 231 1.3
I think it's a mistake to conflate the issue of inappropriate or sexist attitudes within the industry, with the general lack of female representation within it. A few points worth making, I think.

- I've worked in the games industry, and I've worked outside it. The games industry is in general, I think, more liberal in its values than average. Remarkably so, in fact, in comparison to the mainstream.

- This is very different from the gaming *audience*, which as we all know, can tend towards the greater internet dickwad demographic. Case in point, check the comments thread any time Jade Raymond is being interviewed. Makes me a sad panda, every time.

- I think it is fundamentally incorrect to regard the lack of women working in the industry as a consequence of sexist attitudes within it.

- When a given profession is seen as genuinely desirable to women, they go for it. See Medicine, Law etc. Medical schools in the UK are now majority female, and that is a profession that was far more initially hostile to women, and filled with difficult-to-assail hierarchies, than the games industry. We may or may not have a sexism problem. The sexism problem is, at best, only marginally related to female participation in the industry.

- The gender imbalance is baked in at an early age for all kinds of socially engineered reasons. I'll quote Tim P's comment from a Gamasutra blog, which I think nails it:.

"Having taught High School Computing for years, let me tell you that the fundamental concept of "fix the working environment and they will come" is totally misguided. The lack of females in game development is not due to them bailing from a toxic work environment, it's due to them never wanting a career in the industry in the first place. Tertiary graduation numbers clearly show that. Tertiary enrolment numbers clearly show that. Secondary subject selection numbers clearly show that. Curriculum changes make no statistically significant difference to outcomes (and haven't for over 40 years). The decision to "not want to build computer games" is made in the primary years (ages 5-12) and is heavily influenced by exposure to the "prevalent games of the time".

The only way to attract more women into the industry, is to capture the hearts and minds of young girls by producing the kinds of games they love and could imagine building themselves.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Nick McCrea on 1st April 2013 5:25pm

Posted:A year ago

#36

Lewis Brown
Snr Sourcer/Recruiter

195 54 0.3
From a grass roots level I can tel you the Girls aged 11-16 in the UK at least are really interested in the industry, but many are still unsure how welcome they are.

I attended an open day for the STEM week a couple of weeks back at a local school and put on an EA booth mainly to give advice and guidance on how to get in the industry and what courses to take. I was pleasently surprised by the male/female mix of approaches I got, it was about 60% male and 40% female and many were already playing with rasberry Pi's and looking at doing some low level coding at home.

It is absolutly right that we need to encourage and guide as many of the amazing talented girls into our industry. But they have so little info from us, we don't engage at an early enough level, they have very little support from the school systems on what courses to take and I can tell you know many other tech companies do engage at this much earlier age group.

This isn't about hiring a demographic for demographics sake its about hiring the best people for the job. Currently we are missing out on some very talented people who happen to be female and what ever fence you sit on regarding "Women in games" then thats a failure of the industry.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lewis Brown on 2nd April 2013 12:16am

Posted:A year ago

#37

Gareth Eckley
Commercial Analyst

88 67 0.8
Whilst I disagree with the reinforcement of gender based roles, they are a legacy we have inherited.

Consequently, most women I know are vastly more practically minded than men. So whilst the games industry offers more hours for less pay, it will act as a powerful disincentive to anyone except the borderline compulsive.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Emily Knox
Associate Designer

47 96 2.0
I'd like to second what Lewis has said, I recently went to a STEM careers day in Newcastle, I'd say we got a similar ratio of interest at the Eutechnyx stand we set up (this was an older group, mostly sixth formers).
From my experience, careers in games development are a real blind spot while you're still in school, this goes for boys, girls, and teachers. In my case there was no-one there with any knowledge of games careers and I had no idea where to start or what skills I needed, which areas I could look into, or if it was within my reach at all. When I wanted to study a games-related degree I couldn't search for these while at school as they blocked any searches using the word "game".

There were loads of people interested in games, like me, but weren't aware of the options there, and there were also teachers who wanted to acquire more knowledge about available careers that could span from subjects like maths. Anyone passionate about their work should do this if they get the chance, it's really fulfilling, and hopefully (and more importantly) beneficial to future game developers, irrespective of gender.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Gareth Eckley
Commercial Analyst

88 67 0.8
People were still going into games 10 years ago when there weren't ANY structured paths into the gaming industry.

Are you saying that now that those paths are more clearly delineated, it's easier for people to get into the industry? If so, I would have to agree. How this would specifically encourage women to join the industry, I'm not quite sure. Please could someone clarify?

Posted:A year ago

#40

Emily Knox
Associate Designer

47 96 2.0
I really have no idea if it's easier, but I think it's fair to say it's a very different matter getting into it today compared to the route you might have taken 10 years ago. I followed a degree pathway with a placement year, that gave me access to software, resources, lecturers with industry experience, networking opportunities, and so on. I talked to an experienced vet in games who didn't go to university, and got his first position designing games after writing pen and paper RPG's for his friends. I'm not sure how applicable the "friend of a friend" route is now (to be honest I could really do with someone who is more experienced and in a position of hiring staff to answer that properly!)

I feel as though we open the gates to all that information at university, and it would be great to offer it out earlier than that, in school, when more people are still deciding what they want to do. I'm not interested in specifically encouraging more great women into joining the industry, I'm interested in encouraging more great people. The earlier you make that interception, the sooner you have a chance to make a difference before someone is perhaps steered by negative forces, such as stereotypes or peer pressure. You could also look at this another way- there's a big dropout among first year students, if they're more clued up on the realities of game development prior to committing to a degree, that's valuable knowledge to have in their decision making process when choosing a subject to study in higher education, or deciding if indeed that is what they want to do. Making our career options more visible at an earlier age will do good, regardless of what anyone wants or cares for the general developer population.

Posted:A year ago

#41

Andrew Ihegbu
Studying Bsc Commercial Music

440 146 0.3
Name: Martin Hollis
Working Title: Hardcore Feminist

Says it all really. It's like a member of the BNP asking for race rights to be revised, you're job title makes your points at least a little biased. As someone who is an expert on the subject I am willing to listen though. Can you give any points that are properly substantiated? I mean lets look at your first two examples?

"The same can not be said for your views, your assertions and your attitude. Here I see the now-familiar mix of ignorance, absent empathy, and a posturing selfishness which is actually narrow-minded and self-harming in the long term."

Pure unsubstantiated opinion.

"Your question was "Do we need more women?". It is a statement in the guise of a question."

Yes, that's called a rhetorical question, most people don't have the privilege of a quick answer on a forum.

"You say "I have nothing against women in development at all" but this is actually contradictory to the tone and the substance of your words."

Evidence?
"Your remarks together "hardcore feminists" and "tits on a game character can never be too big", "hashtag blowme" make your actual opinion clear."

Actually, he was remarking on his childishness, he also said crotch bulges can never be too big but you chose to leave that one out. If I saw that in a game I would laugh. Question is, if nobody complains about big caricature sized hunky male characters yet there should be cup size restriction on females now is that fair?

The point was that he finds a lot of this stuff comical in the depth of it's anti-chauvinism. Like Duke Nukem is comical in the depths of it's chauvinism, like watching a metal patient trying to rob a car. We all have a inner child that laughs at things that are probably wrong to some degree, like when we used to laugh at swear words and farts as a kid. We need the resilience as human beings to take a small degree of that in the adult workplace. Also Hardcore Feminist is your Job Title not his, curious that you take offense to your job title.

"Your position can be summarized as: women can get lost."

My position can be summarized as Hardcore Feminists get lost. Oh, and hashtags while you're at it, sheep creating nonsense they are.

Here's my opinion.

http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/620-53-ces-2013-booth-babe-models.html

Have a look through that, and tell me that any of them look objectivized or whatever the word would be. Sure women feel uncomfortable when booth babes are around but the core reason which may be controversial in our coddling modern day lifestyle.... is envy. I know because when those guys in their six packs and tuxedo bows go out on hen nights etc. they have an awesome time and get paid for the privilege. Everyone likes to be admired, and the thought that anyone here is being oppressed is frankly nonsensical, let alone comparing it to slavery and racism. Has anyone asked a 'booth babe' if they don't like being looked at by people? Does anyone care to explain exactly what objectification is in the eyes of the female that feels oppressed by the presence of these booth babes, because Wikipedia's definition of objectification would suggest that it is a issue that the booth babes would have a problem with, not the onlookers.

I have explained my point of view, I await your response. If I have none, then either you have no rebuttal, or simply don't want to change my opinion, which would make your job title, hashtag fest etc a bit pointless. You could respond with an option 3, e.g call me names etc, but that would just reinforce my point that we're all a bit childish and need to stay that way. :)

Posted:A year ago

#42

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