A Look inside the Current Climate of the Video Game Industry

A Look inside the Current Climate of the Video Game Industry

Vachon M.C. Pugh (Electronic Arts, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6142-4.ch004
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The issue of the lack of women in the video game industry has been a hot topic for quite some time. For the past twelve years, Game Developer Magazine has published their annual Game Developer Salary Survey, which not only lists the average salaries for each department; but also breaks down each department by gender. By examining the salary surveys for the past four years (2009-2012), an initial assessment can be made on the amount of women working in the game industry, and in what disciplines. The purpose of this chapter is to assess the current climate of the video game industry, and briefly discuss possible causes of the lack of women in this particular field.
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The topic of women in the game industry has been a hot topic for some time now. There have been several articles that have discussed this issue, and the opinion the game industry has on the lack of women in the industry. For example, in an interview by Tyler Dukes (2010), IBM Gaming and Interactive Manager Phaendra Boinodiris shared her opinion on the topic. When asked why she thought the industry didn’t market appropriately to women, she suggests it is due to the fact that so few women working in these companies, and that if there were more women employees, there would be a bigger shift in the marketing of video games towards a wider audience (Dukes, 2010). This supports the idea that one of the benefits of bringing more women into the industry could provide increased marketability for games. She also goes on to suggest that one reason women are so reluctant to pursue careers in the game industry is the stigma the industry has for being a boy’s club (Dukes, 2010), and that making the industry more inclusive could result in new types of games being developed that have never been seen before (Dukes, 2010).

In another article, Mary K. Pratt (2007) talks about how the computer game industry is looking to women for fresh insights. In it, Sheri Graner Ray, game designer and developer at Sirenia Consulting, states “If we want to have [game] titles that reach a diverse audience, our workforce has to reflect that diversity”, (Pratt, 2007, p.1). Again, this suggests that bringing more women into the industry could enable games to appeal to a wider audience. Even the creators of the massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Eve Online planned to hire on more people in order to bring more women into the workplace, since women only made up 16% of their staff (Pratt, 2007). Peter Gollan, CCP Games director of marketing for North America, agrees that bringing more women into the industry will be beneficial, stating “If you want to bring in content that’s more engaging to women, you have to bring in more women” (Pratt, 2007, p.2).

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