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Sweden looking to label games that promote gender equality

Trade body Dataspelsbranschen awarded 272,000 kronor to explore ways of showing support for diversity in games

In October, a lengthy list of Sweden's top game developers came together to sign a declaration against sexism and abuse in the wake of ongoing harassment, some of which had been fueled by extreme Gamergate supporters. Now the Swedish game industry trade organization Dataspelsbranschen may take equality one step further by actually assigning labels to games that do promote equality with their content. It's almost like the reverse of a Mature content warning sticker, positively labeling games that reflect diversity.

According to Swedish publication The Local, Dataspelsbranschen was awarded 272,000 kronor (almost $37,000) by the Swedish government to investigate ways of promoting games that do stress equality. The project's manager Anton Albiin (pictured) said that they haven't decided yet if games would definitely get a label, or if companies that produced games promoting equality would simply be given a certificate they could use in their marketing for a title.

"I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area," he said.

Albiin added that he doesn't want the push for equality to detract from developers' creativity, but he also would like to see the industry push beyond certain tropes. "Of course games can be about fantasy but they can be so much more than this. They can also be a form of cultural expression - reflecting society or the society we are hoping for. Games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things," he noted.

Only 16 percent of Sweden's workforce in the games industry is female. That's something that developers like Paradox, Mojang, Dice, Rovio, Starbreeze and others are hoping to change.

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James Brightman

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James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.

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