Today is international women's day. We use this day to celebrate the achievements of women from across the world. So for today's blog, we thought a great topic to cover would be women's role in gaming. This has changed significantly over the last decade (mainly due to mobile technology). Women are gaming more than ever, but are they taking on decision-making roles within the gaming industry?
Social structures have impacted women as a gender group for much of history. Women have often had to fight to break down barriers to enable them to gain access to the same opportunities as men.
In the world of gaming, mobile connectivity is slowly but surely changing driving change in accessibility and changing the industry from one that is male-dominated to one that is making moves to eventually become equal.
According to the Global Online Gaming Market 2020-2026 report, the online gaming industry is witnessing significant growth and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% between 2020 and 2026.
The profile of gamers has evolved since gaming first emerged. The gender gap has begun to shrink and more women now class themselves as ‘gamers’. According to the Think With Google APAC Play like a Girl Report, the number of women gamers is increasing at a faster rate than male gamers.
Today gaming can be more than a hobby and we are seeing the rise of female gaming influencers and eSports players.
eSports is recognised as a legitimate career option and while it is currently a male-dominated space, it is beginning to open up for women gamers as well.
It's not only in playing games that women are starting to help shape the future of gaming but also through creating them.
A challenge that has occurred with many products, not only games, is that when a specific demographic (be that a specific gender, age, race or sexuality) dominates the companies that are creating that product, they typically design products aimed at audiences like themselves. Or, they try to create products aimed at another audience (such as men building a product for women) believing they understand that audience, but often without consulting anyone from the group they are targeting.
These days gaming companies are evolving, perhaps a little slower than other industries, but it is slowly developing games for more diverse audiences.
Developers who are establishing new games that want to include women need to focus on why and how women play video games. According to a Google and Niko partners study, women accounted for nearly 41 percent of the gamers in the United States and Asia, women comprise 48 percent of the gaming population.
However, gender stereotypes are still prevalent in all types of games. If you look at the popular fantasy game Zelda, players were able to turn into wolves, but not into women. This inability for women to play characters that align with their gender can sometimes make them feel excluded.
Gaming as an industry is beginning to encourage more women developers to create games within their development studios- games that will bring in more female gamers into the fold.
A study last year of fourteen game developers showed that only 16 percent of the executive positions were held by women and only 24 percent of the workforce was female.
This lack of women in executive positions impacts the types of games that are developed. Correcting this dynamic will go a long way in bringing more women into the world of eSports.
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