Women Working in the Industry
Like other technology sectors, the games industry is dominated by men. However, women are making inroads that have resulted in more consistent conversations about the challenges women face in the workplace and how to improve gendered diversity in the industry, overall. This section compiles articles dealing with game development as it pertains to the relative inclusion or exclusion of female industry workers.
Microsoft GDC Party Controversy
At the 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft came under fire for hiring female dancers dressed in school girl outfits to dance on platforms at a party they hosted. Many female attendees took to Twitter to express their frustration and feelings of alienation and exclusion as a result of the stunt. Commentators also pointed out that this form of entertainment is quite hypocritical coming from a company that hosts a "women in gaming" luncheon every year.
- Joseph Keller on Windows Central: Mar 18, 2016: Microsoft draws fire over dancers at Xbox GDC party [Updated]
- T.C. Sottek on The Verge: Mar 18, 2016: Microsoft's GDC party extends tradition of sexism in the gaming industry
Anu Passary on Tech Times: Mar 19, 2016: Microsoft apologizes for Xbox GDC party With dancers in skimpy outfits
Kickstarter: Women in Tech The Book - Based out of Seattle, Washington, Tara Wheeler Van Vlack started a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise $28,800. The money will go towards publishing a book that "alternates teaching career skills with inspiring autobiographies from amazing women in tech." The campaign will run from January to the end of February, and as of February 4th, it has reached over half its goal. The book is an anthology from a variety of writers, all of whom are women working in the tech industry now. Rachel Weber on GamesIndustry.biz summarizes the Kickstarter.
- Mike Snider on USA Today: Aug 18, 2015: Why women leave game development and how to change things: Q&A
- Susan Kelleker on The Seattle Times: Aug 13, 2015: 'This has got to change': Women game developers fight sexism in the industry
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: May 28, 2015: Former competitive Smash Bros player talks about fighting sexism in eSports
- Christopher Livingston on PCGamer: Mar. 5, 2015: GDC Panel: Women in esports are "walking through a minefield"
- Mike Rose on Gamasutra: Oct. 20, 2014: Did 80s computer marketing push women out of video games?
- Brianna Wu on The Mary Sue: Apr. 24, 2014: Why GitHub's unconvincing investigation harms women in games development
- Jenn Frank on Gamasutra: Mar. 27, 2014: The Rolodex
- Elizabeth Sampat on Gamasutra: Mar. 24, 2014: Women don't want to work in games (and other myths)
- Deirdra Kiai on Deirdra Kiai Productions: Mar. 22, 2014: Making games is easy. Belonging is hard. #1ReasonToBe
- Maddy Myers on Paste: Mar. 13, 2014: Hyper mode: How to be visibly femme in the games industry
- Christian McCrea on his blog: June 21, 2013: 8.7% is proof of a problem
- Jen Whitson on Technoculture, Art and Games: May 30,2013: Gamasutra, glass ceilings, beer and feminism
- Andy Chalk on The Escapist: Mar. 28.2013: Brenda Romero resigns IGDA post over GDC party
- Regina Buenaobra on Acid for Blood: Aug. 25, 2007: PAX Panel: Girls, games, and the growing role of women in the game industry
- Regina Buenaobra on The Border House: Mar. 24, 2010: Ada Lovelace Day: Women in the games industry
- Erik Leijon on Cult Montreal: Nov. 28, 2012: Pixelles: Calling all (game-designing) ladies
- "AnonymousFan8675309" on The Hawkeye Initiative: May 4, 2013: Special Guest Edition: The Hawkeye Initiative IRL!
- Anthony Accinelli on Strength Gamer: Aug. 22, 2013: How #SaintsRowIV is the answer to #Sexism in gaming
- Edwin Evans-Thirlwell on TotalXbox: Sept. 2, 2013: 50% of developers will be women "five to ten years from now", says Lionhead boss
- Kris Graft on Gamasutra: Nov. 12, 2013: Ouya invests in 'feminist puzzle platformer' from new studio MK Ultra
- Leigh Alexander on Gamasutra: Jan. 23, 2014: Taking on the challenges of being a mom in game development
- Pascal Clarysse on Gamasutra: Oct. 1, 2014: Interview: Angry Birds Stella Lead on gender balance
- Chip Shot on Intel: Oct 4, 2014: Chip Shot: Intel Issues Statement on Gamasutra Advertising
- Brian Crecente on Polygon: Jan 20, 2015: Intel initiative leads to big goal: Doubling of women in game development by 2025
- James Brightman on GamesIndustry.biz: Feb. 11, 2015: Women in games: everyone needs a hero
- Laralyn McWilliams on Gamasutra: Feb. 11, 2015: Diversity drives success
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: Feb. 13, 2015: Brenda Romero on cashing in, selling out, and staying true to yourself while making games (interview)
- IGDA on IGDA foundation: Feb 28, 2015: Intel and the IGDA Foundation [story on diversity initiative]
- Ben Kuchera on Polygon: Mar. 2, 2015: Ignorance is no excuse: GDC puts its code of conduct front and center during show
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: Mar. 4, 2015: Zoe Quinn and other female game developers speak out against harassment
- Danielle Riendeau on Polygon: Mar. 5, 2015: How to hire more women in the game industry
- Rachel Weber on GamesIndustry.biz: Mar. 5, 2015: Daybreak adds second scholarship to GIRL competition
- From GamePolitics.com: Mar. 5, 2015: Intel promises to help foster more diversity in the video games industry
- Danielle Riendeau on Polygon: Mar. 5, 2015: Offworld relaunches as a new site for diverse game writing
- Simon Parkin on Gamasutra: Mar. 6, 2015: Women share their #1ReasonToBe in games, in a powerful GDC panel
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: Mar. 7, 2015: Has the game industry turned the corner on women and diversity?
- Brian Baglow on GamesIndustry.biz: Mar. 12, 2015: A progressive stance
- Sam Maggs on The Mary Sue: Mar. 17, 2015: The Mary Sue Interview: Neopets' CEO on their first mobile game and getting girls into gaming
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: Mar. 18, 2015: Nintendo celebrates women's history month with female game heroes
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: Mar. 20, 2015: The women of Telltale Games represent for women's history month
- Evan Narcisse on Kotaku: Mar. 27, 2015: Chainmail Bikini anthology has women gamers telling their own stories
- Eddie Makuch on GameSpot: Apr. 7, 2015: Women in Game Development exhibit headed to California museum
- PBS Game/Show: Apr. 2015: How I became a video game feminist (video)
- Mariella Moon on Engadget: Apr. 26, 2015: Interactive exhibit honors women in game development
- Dan Van Winkle on The Mary Sue: Apr. 28, 2015: Wrestling star/Game enthusiast A.J. Brooks sets up scholarship for Girls Make Games camp
- Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat: May 1, 2015: Cookie Jam maker SGN hires female exec to run its S.F. office
- Gavin Greene on VentureBeat: May 6, 2015: Gamergate's positive effect: We're not talking about diversity
- Jeff Grubb on VentureBeat: May 7, 2015: Only 2 of the top 200 highest-grossing e-sports starts are women
- Charline Jao on The Mary Sue: June 8, 2015: Laralyn Williams on why it's important for game developers to let staff diversity shine
- Jessica Lachenal on The Mary Sue: June 23, 2015: Brianna Wu talks about the changing state of the games industry at InspireFest 2015.
- Damon van der Linde on The Financial Post: Nov 20, 2015: Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig weigh in on sexism, diversity in the video game industry
- Keza MacDonald on The Guardian: Jan 24, 2018: The video games industry isn’t yet ready for its #MeToo moment
Emma Fissenden ran a series profiling women working within the industry in 2015 called Game Changer on The Mary Sue. A sampling of those profiles can be found below.
- Nov 20, 2015: Game Changer: Ann Lemay divulges day to day life as BioWare Writer, building a diverse games industry, & finding your support unit
- July 21, 2015: Game Changer: Dishonored 2’s Cara Ellison on experimenting with narrative design, owning your talent & the importance of self-care
- Jun 3, 2015: Game Changer: Game maker & UX Designer Catt Small talks multifaceted skill-sets, interactive technology and diverse industries
- Apr 8, 2015: Game Changer: Talent & Production Coordinator Becky Dodd on working at Naughty Dog & having the courage to pursue your career
UN Cyber-Violence Report and Symposium
In September, the United Nations hosted a symposium on cyber-violence against women. Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, both of whom have been victims of online harassment related to their work in the video game industry and culture, spoke at the event. The UN also released a report titled, Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call that was widely criticized and ultimately pulled.
- Maddy Meyers on The Mary Sue: Sept 24, 2015: The United Nations released a report on cyber violence against women & girls
- Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC: Sept 30, 2015: UN report on cyberviolence highlights rampant online issue
- Video Game Voter Network: VGVN statement on U.N. Cyberviolence report
- Jaime Bravo on The Medium: Sept 7, 2015: Citation games by the United Nations’ #CyberViolence
- Sarah Jeong on Motherboard: Oct 1, 2015: 'I'm Disappointed': Zoe Quinn Speaks Out on UN Cyberviolence Report
- Ian Miles Cheong on Gameranx: Oct 5, 2015: Video Game Voters Network condemns UN report on cyberviolence
- Keezy Young on Pixelkin: Oct 7, 2015: ESA denounces U.N. report for misinformation about video games
- Sam Machkovech on ARS Technica: Oct 7, 2015: UN agency backtracks, expresses “regret” over cyberviolence report
- James Fudge on GamePolitics.com: Oct 7, 2015: UN pulls questionable report on ‘cyber violence against women’
- Brad Glasgow on Game Politics: Nov 10, 2015: UN hopes to have revised 'cyber-violence' report available by year's end
Racism and ageism
- Ethan Gilsdorf on Cognoscenti: June 6, 2013: In video game culture, it’s still ‘no girls allowed’
- Shonte Daniels on RH Reality Check: Jan. 20, 2015: Seeking racial justice in real life and in games
- Jessica Conditt on Engadget: January 16, 2015: Gaming while black: Casual racism to cautious optimism
- Alex Wawro on Gamasutra: Mar. 6, 2015: 'I'm still creative!' - Game industry vets rally against ageism
- Jeff Grubb on Venture Beat: Mar. 9, 2015: Black developers explain how free game engines, incentives will bring more black people into games
- Matthew Handrahan on GamesIndustry.biz: Mar. 12, 2015: Is ageism the only prejudice the industry isn't discussing?
- Heidi Kemps on Venture Beat: Oct 23, 2015: Diversity in the game industry: Unconscious bias keeps you from listening … and could hurt your business
- Charlie Hall on Polygon: June 11, 2015: Report: Suit filed against Bandai by employee alleges racism, retaliation
Gamasutra: Dec 29, 2015: Video: Game dev veterans speak out against game industry ageism
A Toronto-based tech startup has emerged that aims to introduce more diversity into the video game industry by teaching youth from an economically depressed area of Toronto to code.
- Gilbert Ngabo on Metro News: Aug 6, 2015: Welcome to Techsdale
- Ali Raza on Inside Toronto: Aug 29, 2015: Techsdale connects Rexdale youth with high-tech experiences at Humber College
The ADA (a Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology) published an issue that focused on Feminist Game Studies - the following articles from this journal cover a variety of ways in which women are viewed in gaming culture:
- Nina Huntemann: Introduction: Feminist Game Studies
- Adrienne Shaw: On Not Becoming Gamers: Moving Beyond the Constructed Audience
- Aubrey Anable: Casual Games, Time Management, and the Work of Affect
- John Vanderhoef: Casual Threats: The Feminization of Casual Video Games
- Kishonna Gray: Collective Organizing, Individual Resistance, or Asshole Griefers? An Ethnographic Analysis of Women of Color in XBox Live