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Toronto initiative targets female game developers

Metanet co-founder to host two free incubators for aspiring female developers

A new Toronto-based initiative will host two free incubators for female developers over the next few months.

The Difference Engine Intitaive is led by Mare Sheppard, co-founder of Metanet Software, the studio behind the popular N series. The incubators will comprise six weekly sessions designed to teach participants about game production tools and techniques in an informal environment.

"We really feel like there aren't enough viewpoints being shown or extrapolated on in games," Sheppard told the Torontoist blog. "More artists and more diverse ways of seeing games would be a benefit to the games industry in general."

Sheppard takes issue with the fact that "niche market" games about cooking, fashion design and puzzles represent the sum total of the industry's output targeted at women.

"It's insulting that that's all we can be expected to like as women," says Sheppard, "It's kind of silly, considering games should really be appropriate for everyone."

"I don't understand how people can categorize any group's interest in such a specific way but then never allow for anything outside of that. There's so much surprise that women like first-person shooters or men like cooking games. It's absurd."

The Difference Engine will not be limited to promoting female game developers. Future incubators will focus on other under-repesented groups.

"What about age? What about race? What about all these other groups that you don't see in game development? More diversity means better games, a better environment for game developers and game designers, and ultimately leads to the viewpoints of more people being represented in games and more games being made for different kinds of people."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.