How Are Women Faring in the Video Game Industry?
Over the last decade, women’s empowerment has grown significantly in many areas of society. Issues such as gender equality in the workplace, for example, have led to numerous exposés about how women fare in their career, regardless of their chosen profession. An overwhelming observation is that even in the 21st century, women are still discriminated against. And in many industries that are traditionally male-dominated, there is very little representation and acknowledgment for female talent.
The entertainment and gaming industry is no exception. Most game development companies today employ mostly men. And when it comes to the frontline, professional eSports players are largely male as well. But these companies are missing out on a highly untapped market. According to a study by the Entertainment Software Association, 48% of videogame players in the US are female players.
Do online games segregate audiences based on gender?
The statistics would prove otherwise, but the consensus is that some games are marketed primarily to men while others are more inclusive of women players. In the case of SkyCity online and other similar casino sites, however, these differences are quite subtle and oftentimes negligible. Perhaps because in the case of online casinos, the intent is to appeal to the general public.
Another issue with videogames is the over-sexualization of women. Although players today do not mind this as it has become a part of gaming culture, there is still a great opportunity for change.
Female players becoming more visible in eSports
Indeed, gaming culture has not always been female-friendly. But it is interesting to see the growing participation of women in eSports. Innovations such as Virtual Reality and game streaming sites have made video gaming more accessible to all. In 2017, Google reported that over 65% of those who watched gaming videos on YouTube were female.
But despite this overwhelming response from the female audience, it is surprising that only 5% of professional eSports gamers are women. Two challenges consistently remain as a roadblock for increased female participation as pro gamers:
- Harassment. Gaming sites like Twitch provide an excellent opportunity for players to showcase their talent and earn money too. Unfortunately, being on-screen makes you vulnerable to all kinds of untoward behavior from spectators and fellow players.
- Toxic gaming culture. Although the demographic is slowly changing, a majority of male gamers still uphold the traditional culture where females are mostly excluded. This phenomenon happens in some games, like Halo for example. If the gaming industry wants to attract more female pro players, this culture needs to change.
Changing the gaming industry to be more female-friendly is no small feat. But the changes we do see now are refreshing and appreciated. Yes, there is a significant opportunity for change and perhaps we will see more in the years to come.
For now, it means a lot to celebrate the small victories women have achieved in this industry, especially since gaming is a major part of entertainment today and will be in the future. As the industry evolves, there is a positive outlook on the role of women both in the frontline as pro gamers and in the background as game developers.