This Just In: Women Exist In The Gaming Industry

Tom Chick at Fidgit justifiably lambasts a clueless blog posting.

Women are being “left on sidelines” in the “video game revolution”, according to the LA Times… But the real question is – assuming it is, indeed a Bad Thing – what can be done about it? And the answer to this, I fear, is not much.

He then goes on to explain that the problem basically is that Math Is Hard. Which is an excuse like any other – there are female engineers, just as much as female producers, female designers, and female artists. There are fewer of them than their male counterparts, but they exist, in every discipline, and an aggressive hiring policy that values diversity can succeed. (Mythic deserves a lot of kudos here, by the way – it was one of the most gender-inclusive workplaces I’ve ever encountered in the industry.)

The real problem, of course, not to put too fine a point on it, is that there just aren’t that many women willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit. Perhaps that should be addressed before the whole math-is-hard-yo thing.

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51 Responses to This Just In: Women Exist In The Gaming Industry

  1. Matt Mihaly says:

    There aren’t just fewer female engineers, Scott. There are FAR fewer. You make it sound as if maybe it’s a 60-40 thing instead of like a 95-5 thing.

    –matt

  2. It’s not always 95-5… I’ve seen it closer to 75-25. And that is in large part more the traditional “Math is Hard!” discouragement of women to pursue programming in general. But, of course, engineering isn’t the only discipline in game development.

  3. Kyoji says:

    I think initial interest has something to do with it as well. You probably aren’t going to pursue a career making something you don’t really care about in the first place. Given there are far fewer women gamers than men, I think it would make sense there would be an even lesser number of women developers than men.

  4. I agree Scott, Mythic was an awesome place ratio-wise for female game devs, and in my time there (granted, four years ago now) it felt like 60-40. Were it not for that studio, I’d definitely not be where I am now as a designer.

  5. Merkwurdigliebe says:

    I know nothing about the ratio in the game-PRODUCING industry, but I wish I could find that CCP page that listed the percentage of female subscribers in EVE Online at less than 1%. I should have bookmarked it.

    Anyway, I’m not going to make the horrible joke that some of those industry women weren’t born that way.

  6. Vetarnias says:

    Hmm, that all reminds me of a series that ran a few months ago: “A Day in the Life of an Agency Intern”, which was covering the internship of the winner of a women-only contest (see http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/292/feature/2359/A-Day-in-the-Life-of-An-Agency-Intern-Part-One.html ; the comments there are often even more interesting, some people claiming she was chosen because of her looks).

    It’s always seemed to me that the reason why women don’t enter the gaming industry is because of how the gaming industry sells itself. You did mention the Assassin’s Creed thing, but just take a look at the average gaming advertising. EQ’s Firiona Vie might be an old example but it’s still very much valid as to what is deemed to sell.

    With such advertising, just try claiming that most people working in gaming aren’t introverted skin-loving fuckwads who get boners out of pixels when it’s what they think of people who buy their products.

  7. IainC says:

    Kyoji :
    I think initial interest has something to do with it as well. You probably aren’t going to pursue a career making something you don’t really care about in the first place. Given there are far fewer women gamers than men, I think it would make sense there would be an even lesser number of women developers than men.

    I think this perception needs to be put to bed to be honest. There are certainly more male gamers than female gamers but I don’t think the difference is as great as people tend to assume it is.

    Gaming isn’t just AAA PC titles and console games either, in casual gaming I’d be prepared to bet that females are either on parity with or outnumber male gamers. If you roll those numbers in with what we traditionally include in the subset of ‘gamers’ then the statement that ‘there are few female gamers’ begins to sound a little hollow.

  8. Bonedead says:

    Not in the online gaming industry. Everyone on the internet knows that.

  9. tannenburg says:

    This whole mess is a constant source of frustration for my wife. She’s been gaming (tabletop RPG, MMORPG, PC, Console, etc. etc.) since she was 10…and even more involved in finding the “next new game” for us than I am. Yet she keeps coming across false profundities that “girls don’t game and therefore we don’t have to make games that girls like, nyah nyah.” It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Make game ads look like promotions for strip clubs and women won’t buy. Make games where women are confined to the role of prostitute, nun, or victim, and women won’t buy. Dismiss any broad-market gaming product (like the Wii and most of its games) as “wimpy”, “girly”, or insufficiently hardcore and women won’t buy.

    Then, of course, whine a lot in the gaming press about how women won’t buy your products and don’t understand the purity of your vision – and give up on appealing to “Dem wimmen whose don’t like da video games.”

    The bald fact is that a recent survey of buying habits read that women make over 55-60% of the small electronics and entertainment purchasing decisions in a given household, and if game companies don’t break out of their current “our demo is males 16-25” mindset they aren’t going to capture those profits.

  10. geldonyetich says:

    Having just been ousted from a petty customer service position largely due to reasons I suspect were related to petty matriarchy (over 90% of the reps were women) I find myself currently unsympathetic to their plight. I read this and wonder if my Y-Chromosome means I need to earn an engineering degree if I don’t want to go shopping for a cardboard box home.

    But, yes, any kind of gender inequivalence in any industry is technically bad, at least so long as we accept the likely scenario that chromosomes have little to do with professional expertise. It’ll probably be solved sometime around the point where the majority of humankind (at least that I’ve the bad fortune to come in contact with) finds habits other than being a self-centered dips.

  11. DrewC says:

    A quick count of people in line of sight gives me 15% female, 85% male. I think that’s probably pretty representative for my company as a whole.

    Nobody starts out making games for the money or the perks, people make games because they’re passionate about games. While there is a large (and growing) audience of women who play games, that audience is mostly adult, and mostly playing a more casual type of game. They’re don’t create the pool of recent college grad, starry eyed idealists that usually feeds the game industry meat grinder.

  12. Sanya says:

    This may come as a shock to everyone who slept through Psych 101, but people hire people who look like them.

    That is a generalization, so everyone may now reach around and pat themselves on the back for saying “not ME!!!”

    But the fact is that generally, white men are most comfortable hiring white men, unless they have specific and personal experience with someone who is not a white man. That is true for every other race/gender combo, but it is less pronounced, because less empowered groups have had no choice but to become accustomed to working with other race/gender pairings.

    You may now substitute “mentor,” “encourage,” “inspire,” “train,” and “educate” for the word “hire.”

    You don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to agree on what the solution is, but step one is facing the truth about this little bit of human nature.

    Because anyone who has stepped out of their comfort zone is more willing to do so in the future. And even though there might not be many female engineers at this time, there could certainly be a hell of a lot more female producers, lead designers, and team leads.

    Actually, step one is really believing that other perspectives will sell more product. And the industry as a whole isn’t there yet.

  13. Vetarnias says:

    @tannenburg
    Even in the case of a woman protagonist, there has to be a difference between a genuine female role model and an eye-candy “babe” that exists solely for the titillation of the male demographic.

    Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t seem to have yet recovered from the Lara Croft syndrome.

    You don’t have to look very far to see that the electronics industry is male-dominated. How else could you explain those ubiquitous “booth babes” at conventions, whose photos prominently figure on just about every damn article from every damn blogger to visit those shows?

    Gaming is pretty much the end of the nerd line these days. Just look at MMO properties being developed. Star Wars. Star Trek. Tolkien-style fantasy. DC and Marvel. All elements that hold a prominent place in nerd culture. For more proof of that, just look at all those gaming webcomics out there — Penny Arcade, Ctrl+Alt+Del, VG Cats, etc. They make for endless discussion of the place of women in gaming. (There’s even a parody of such strips called Powerup Comics that delightfully sends up all the staples of gaming webcomics.)

    After all, didn’t the big jump-the-shark moment for Ctrl+Alt+Del (and no, I’m not making this up) involve the main character having a miscarriage? Wasn’t it the only possible solution to the storyline because her man-child gamer of a boyfriend would have made a selfish and incompetent father?

    With all those things in context, women can’t really be blamed for staying away from the gaming industry.

  14. JuJutsu says:

    “The real problem, of course, not to put too fine a point on it, is that there just aren’t that many women willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit.”

    Just out of curiousity, why are so many men willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit?

  15. Fixer says:

    Because there are multiple layers of bullshit, and men typically only encounter the first. Many women encounter standard industry bullshit and then sexist bullshit on top of that.

  16. As a consequence, it’s not surprising that there are more males in game programming jobs than women. And it’s also not such an easy thing to change artificially without nudging people who either don’t particularly want to be programmers or who aren’t particularly suited to being programmers into the job.

    What a moronic statement. Are we also under-represented in African Americans because Math is Hard.

    Sanya has the right causes of this problem – this is a terribly immature industry, first and foremost.

  17. Vaxhacker says:

    JuJutsu :
    Just out of curiousity, why are so many men willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit?

    For the ability to show up to work in jeans and a t-shirt?

  18. wowpanda says:

    JuJutsu :
    “The real problem, of course, not to put too fine a point on it, is that there just aren’t that many women willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit.”
    Just out of curiousity, why are so many men willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit?

    Right on Jujutsu. I am pretty sure there is a difference between man and woman, even though there will always be exceptions. When I was young I hate/afraid clothing stores, every time I am in there I feel I am suffocating, even now I feel bored. But my wife loves clothing stores. I can play with computer games/doing programming all day long, she can’t, and she hates me for that.

  19. dartwick says:

    Isnt a big part of it that people tend towards fields that interest them.

    And more young men seem to be excited about gaming than young women.

  20. tannenburg says:

    Well…just as an aside, I know a lot of women who are interested in gaming – my mother and my mother-in-law play online games like Bejeweled and many of my wife’s non-gaming friends like Wii games. As long as the gaming market is closely defined as “hardcore” games such as WWII sims, FPS, or MMORPGs, the market is by definition going to be self-limiting. I think more women would be in the industry as customers or creators if the choices weren’t restricted to Barbie Adventures and Army of Two.

  21. pharniel says:

    as someone else pointed out, there’s general industry bullshit, then there’s sexist bullshit from your boss, mysogynistic loathing from your co-workers and customers on TOP of the h8 on from other women/minorities of your success in a field that they may not have been able to join but wanted to.

    one of the Very Important people in my adolescant development was a Female Gamer and would go on, at length, to correct any burgoning crap like that that I was developing, but due to her speeches I’m more aware of what’s going on.

    To start with, it’s not just guys who like booth babes..

  22. Daniel says:

    I clicked through some of the links in the OP and came away genuinely shocked. There seems to be this accepted assumption that male on male sex discrimination is not sex discrimination despite a clear Supreme Court ruling to the contrary. Sex discrimination happens whenever one person treats another person differently on the basis of sex. Now, some forms of sex discrimination are more publicly acceptable (such as marriage) than other forms are but that doesn’t make it any less sex discrimination. The epitome of this was when The Governator called the state legislature “girlie men”.

    Men are far less likely to complain about sex discrimination by other males than women are. Part of this is cultural but part of it is also the fact that many men don’t understand the law or their rights. I have never worked in the gaming field but unless it is magically insulated from the rest of society, there is a huge amount of sex discrimination happening against males. It often passes under the name “boys being boys” or “competitive spirit” but it remains as much sex discrimination as the old boy network.

  23. Athryn says:

    For anyone who doesn’t think women play games, let me direct you to one of the busiest Wow blogs on the internet: http://community.livejournal.com/wow_ladies/

    There are a lot of us out there, and we are making up more and more of the population. Back when I played UO, I was one of the only females I knew who played it. Over time, as I went from MMO to MMO, I saw more and more women. My current guild in Wow is run by a woman, and has a high percentage of women in it. The idea that we don’t play games and don’t understand games is worn out bullshit.

    I would have to agree with Walt and Sanya and others, the main reason you don’t see more women in gaming is because of the immature attitudes of the boys who run most of the companies.

  24. Kyoji says:

    IainC :
    I think this perception needs to be put to bed to be honest. There are certainly more male gamers than female gamers but I don’t think the difference is as great as people tend to assume it is.
    Gaming isn’t just AAA PC titles and console games either, in casual gaming I’d be prepared to bet that females are either on parity with or outnumber male gamers. If you roll those numbers in with what we traditionally include in the subset of ‘gamers’ then the statement that ‘there are few female gamers’ begins to sound a little hollow.

    I suppose it comes down to can you regard casual players as ‘gamers’. Personally, I do not. A gamer is someone who is pretty “serious” about their hobby, not someone who plays Bejeweled in passing on lunch breaks. I agree there are many women who play games, but there is most certainly a distinction between playing games and being a gamer.

  25. War is peace. says:

    Culture is science.
    Science is society.
    Society is game.

    Game is good. And good FOR you.

    We are the world.
    And what the world needs now
    is love sweet love.

    Right on.
    Peace out.

  26. Iconic says:

    “I agree there are many women who play games, but there is most certainly a distinction between playing games and being a gamer.”

    I know plenty of women gamers, but the games they play are more often social games. It’s not too hard to find women who love playing Wii Sports or Rock Band (or even Poker), but maybe not so many who are into the kill ’em all and don’t bother to count the bodies type of games.

    Look at what Nintendo is offering, look at the explosive growth they’re seeing, and realize that a LOT of what they’re doing is appealing to the female gamer. Not exclusively to the female gamer, but inclusively. That’s the near future of gaming: opening up markets that so far haven’t existed because not enough serious effort has been made to reach them.

  27. Wolfshead says:

    The premise of the L.A. Times article that there are not enough women in the video game industry is faulty and no doubt a product of gender politics taught by the feminist agenda of women’s studies departments who are desperately searching the known universe for all forms of discrimination and inequality in order to perpetuate their academic racket.

    Why do we need more women in the video game industry? There is no evidence to suggest systemic gender discrimination at all. Could it not be that women just don’t want to be programmers, designers and designers? That is an entirely plausible reason for this so-called “imbalance” (which itself is a loaded term). If some women wish not to be part of a high-tech sweatshop that is usually abusing it’s employees by forcing them to work 60-80 hours a week in perma “crunch” mode shouldn’t we respect their choice and even applaud their good sense?

    I’ve worked in the video game industry and I been side by side on many projects with extremely gifted and talented females in all disciplines. Believe me, they are *highly* sought after by recruiters and companies so they can make their staffing rosters appear more diverse and politically correct; many companies today in the USA go out of their way to try to achieve diversity. This industry is very new and full of the idealism so the red herring of the evil “old boys networdk” boogeyman that traditional feminists routinely use is totally false. The real issue is that there are relatively few women out there who are crazy enough to be a part of this industry.

    I think this whole issue is a tempest in a teapot. You will never make the gender politics crowd happy — ever.

  28. JuJutsu says:

    @Kyoji

    Use whatever distinctions you want. Others are equally free to ignore what you say if they think your distinctions aren’t useful. Given the topic of the thread, I think that gamers includes anyone that is a customer or likely customer for the gaming industry.

  29. JuJutsu says:

    Vaxhacker :

    JuJutsu :Just out of curiousity, why are so many men willing to put up with the game industry’s bullshit?

    For the ability to show up to work in jeans and a t-shirt?

    Ok, I can certainly understand that. It’s one of the main reasons I’m willing to put up with the bullshit in academia 😉

  30. Female Gamer says:

    So, what DOES define “gamer”?

    We say someone is a chess player whether they’re an international grandmaster or a fellow who plays in the library on Friday afternoons. We say someone is an artist whether his work hangs in top museums or just on his living room walls. So what exactly is a gamer? Wouldn’t that be someone who plays computer games, whether it’s Bejeweled or Shadowbane?

    Am I a gamer? Two X chromosomes here; for some of you, that might disqualify me straight away. Worse yet, I in fact play Bejeweled. Do I fail? Usually, I play it on the gryphon ride to Wintergarde Keep for Naxx raids, or when I’m waiting in the BG queue. Am I a gamer now? There are three videogame consoles in my living room and a dedicated gaming comp next to this one at my desk. How about now? I’ve been playing video games since I dropped my first quarter in that new “Asteroids” thing, and PvP since MTREK, a reference that Vaxhacker might catch. Does that make me a gamer? Where do you draw the line? Do I lose gamer points for playing Diner Dash? Can I get them back if I finally beat God of War? Is it safe to admit to playing DDR if I say I just do it because it’s cheaper than a gym membership? Does age matter? If I get my FreeCell-playing mother hooked on StarCraft, does she suddenly transform into a gamer, kind of like a zerg larva? (and if I do, she’ll probably kick my ass at SC; she’s scary that way) How hardcore is hardcore? Is playing WoW good enough, or do you have to play it on a PvP server? Are there class restrictions? My guild only has three mandatory raid nights a week; is our core too squishy?

    It seems that the one universal definition of “gamer” comes down to “what I am.” For some, playing Hearts with a couple of online friends once a week will do it; for others, it doesn’t count unless you play EVE and Darkfall and can quote stats and formulas from memory. Why don’t we just settle on the obvious: Someone who plays computer games. They don’t have to be the games WE like (which, of course, are different for all of us anyway). Just playing games, any games, is sufficient. We can subdivide ourselves from there, RTS gamers and puzzle gamers, FPS gamers and MMO gamers, card gamers and 4x gamers, whatever categories we want. But if we play a game that requires a computer of some type, and someone makes money off it somehow, we’re someone of interest to the game industry. We’re their market. A dollar they make from selling us Bejeweled spends just like a dollar they make from selling us GTA4. And as much as we’d like to think of ourselves as the special elite, the cold, hard facts of business mean that if the companies find out they can make more profit selling Bejeweled to our mothers-in-law than they can selling GTA4 to us, then we’ll be the fringe and the “casual” gamers will be the industry’s darlings. Maybe they’ll be writing on their blogs about the $50,000 Bejeweled tournament, and expressing their disdain for those marginalized people who don’t play “real” games, just niche stuff like Halo Wars.

    A gamer is someone who plays games. That’s easy enough.

  31. EpicSquirt says:

    Wolfshead :
    If some women wish not to be part of a high-tech sweatshop that is usually abusing it’s employees by forcing them to work 60-80 hours a week in perma “crunch” mode shouldn’t we respect their choice and even applaud their good sense?

    That has to be a legend. When working 60-80 hours a week more or less permanently the output will be just crap, female or not. I don’t want to believe that men are actually stupid enough to go with this while women are not – it’s common knowledge that gross overtime will reduce the productivity and the quality of the product.

    On a side note: Math helps, but it is not a precondition (unless you’re programming a game engine).

  32. Kyoji says:

    I think by turning the term ‘gamer’ into an all-inclusive one is largely ignoring a very large and growing culture that exists, of well, gamers. I am by no means saying women cannot be a part of this culture, but for whatever reason (many of them have been discussed in this thread) there are just not as many women than men.

    Given the topic of the thread, I believe these distinctions are very important if you want to understand why things are the way they are. You have to identify the problem before you can begin to understand why its happening.

  33. Outlawedprod says:

    Nintendo is on the right path. North American game companies like EA can be successful but they gotta get the the female gamer.

    Does that statement sound sexist to you?

    Compare it to the statements in this article:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=1772368

    What about now?

  34. Lum, you know the premise of Chick’s argument is totally bogus. He still thinks “game industry” equals “hardcore 3D genre games for the 360/PS3/high-powered PCs”, when that’s actually just a small sliver of gaming, in terms of audience share. Women are way better represented in the casual/social game and virtual world sectors of gaming, roughly on par with the tech industry in general.

  35. A perfect example: off the top my head, I can think of three women who are CEOs of casual/social gaming-related companies: Anu Shukla of Offerpal, Amy Jo Kim of Shufflebrain, and Susan Wu of Ohai. I can’t think of a *single* female CEO in the old school gamer industry.

  36. Female Gamer says:

    Something important to remember: The “hardcore 3D genre games for the 360/PS3/high-powered PCs” market segment hasn’t existed all that long, historically speaking. The Magnavox Odyssey came out in 1973, the home Pong game in 1975, the Atari 2600 in 1977, and the Apple II, which opened up the world of game programming to everyone with an idea and a BASIC interpreter, also in 1977. Wolfenstein 3D, which was arguably the first FPS, came out in 1992. What were people playing in the 20 years between the Odyssey and Wolf3D? A lot of things, of course, but (especially in the early days) games which, today, we would call casual games. Out of the 36 years during which Joe Average could go buy some kind of video game, the “hardcore” market segment has existed for, at most, 17 of them. Less than half.

    It’s only been about the past 10 years that “gamer” has come to mean (at least to some) “someone who plays multi-player FPS, RTS, or MMO games intensively” and what we’re calling “casual” WAS the market for a very long time.

    We’re the newcomers, not them.

  37. Gx1080 says:

    The issue is that the videogame industry is still catered to their founders: male teenagers and 20-somethings. And “casual” is still seem as something that is not serious and that not produce big money. And companys that are directed to male teenagers and 20-somethings and make games for male teenagers and 20-somethings because those are the consumers that everybody watch it must be SO WELCOMING to the other side of the market.

    The male teenagers and 20-somethings have founded this industry and have been the most important costumers since the begining. And they are resistant to change, any change. Add to that all the sexism and misogyny created for the moronic concept that the male is superior and the fact that said concept is their only reference for the female market and co-workers and you got a description of most of the videogame industry and several others.

    And the “diversity” issue is just for companies who are scared of being sued for minimal stuff and lose a lot of money. Duh.

  38. JuJutsu says:

    As sort of a follow-on to Gx1080 about the founders and who they design for…taken (for a second time) from Mike Rozak’s post in the thread on Raph Koster’s blog about making virtual worlds more social

    “And now too insult an awful lot of people with a hyperbolie: The biggest problems with MMOs is they are designed by achievers (and some killers) for achievers. Most MMO developers and players are so achiever-oriented that they cannot possibly comprehend why socialization and exploration would be important. As a result, players and (potential) developers who like socialization/exploration go elsewhere, turning MMOs into ghettos of achievers and killers.”

  39. Dave G. says:

    @Female Gamer

    I think it’s ridiculous to call someone who plays Bejewelled or Hearts for half an hour three times a week a ‘gamer’. Obviously there’s a distinction here and ignoring it is just silly. It’s like saying if you take photos of you and your friends every few months when you go out that you’re a ‘photographer’. No, no you aren’t.

    Anyway, during my undergrad CS course, the ratio of men to women would have been about 9:1. Perhaps it is something that most women just don’t enjoy doing. Why do we need to fix it? Do you think we will be better off if every single profession and every single area of study and leisure is exactly divided down the 50% line?

    This has nothing to do with ‘math is hard’. It’s more to do with ‘I don’t want to do math’. Nothing wrong with that choice.

    What is the point of having an ‘aggressive hiring policy’? Perhaps people should be hired on their skills and their merits, rather than on their sex? ‘Aggressive hiring policy’ sounds a lot like a PR-speak way of saying ‘we discriminate against males, but that’s okay, nobody cares when that happens’ to me.

    Furthermore, it’s not going to change the fact that most women just aren’t into engineering jobs. I’m sure most women aren’t into working on off-shore oil rigs either – should they be adopting ‘aggressive hiring policies’ too? For what purpose?

    Time for some projection…

    At the end of the day, people tend to stick together with what they identify as familiar, and it is not wrong or immature. A lot of guy gamers I knew grew up in high school as outcasts that females generally shunned. The guys responded by banding together and rejecting the world that rejected them. Who could blame them?

    Now, the world that rejected these guys expects them to just open their arms, let them back in and pretend like nothing happened, and the guys are immature if they don’t. Bollocks.

    If you want to really change male gamer attitudes towards females, you need to attack the problems that these males face in high school. And that problem starts with the way useless jocks are given special treatment and all the advantages, whereas the ‘computer nerds’ get bullied and are basically ignored by the school, and by women.

    This environment of ostracism solidifies their attitudes for years and years to come, and it is not as easy as saying ‘grow up’. It can be an extremely harrowing experience for some.

    In the mean time, if you’re a female and you want to be in the gaming industry, you need to be tough. Rightly or wrongly, there’s an awful lot of resentment stemming from childhood experiences here, especially with regards to females, and a pithy quote from the PR team and a wave of the hand are not going to make everything all right.

  40. Loredena says:

    Funny, when I got my CS degree 20 or so years ago, it was a pretty even split between men and women in my classes (at Duke). And my brother switched from programming to engineering when he realized he’d never be as good a programmer as either me or our mother. My sister got a dual major in computer science and math. And hey, being good at math, despite my enjoyment of playing games, I long ago realized that my hourly pay in ‘normal’ industries as a programmer or project manager were way better than the hourly pay would be in the gaming industry. And less sexism to boot, win!

    As to what makes a gamer — when I was a gamer 25 years ago, that meant Pong and Sierra’s Adventure, not shoot-em-up games. Gee, sounds pretty casual, doesn’t it? I’ve been playing MMOs for 10 years now, but I also play Civ, single player RPGs, and the occasional game of computer solitaire. I think I’m a gamer. I think my sister, who prefers casual games, is also gamer — she’s just not ‘hard core’.

  41. Tim Dean says:

    Just want to clarify a couple of points made by Scott. First off, I enjoy your blog and commentary, but resorting to ad hominem attacks – while par for the course in the blogsphere – don’t make your argument any stronger. Neither does misrepresenting the original post. It’s not arguing that ‘Math is Hard’ – look at cited research. Not does it suggest anywhere that there are no female game developers, programmers, engineers or gamers. In fact, it quotes that “women make up 20% of the games development workforce, but only 3% of programmers.” And the post concludes with: “We should provide every encouragement for anybody who wants a job and is capable of bringing valuable talent to it. And game development isn’t all about maths.” This is an important issue, and it should be debated. All I’m saying is biology should be considered along with all the manifold social and cultural issues.

  42. Anticorium says:

    If you want to really change male gamer attitudes towards females, you need to attack the problems that these males face in high school.

    How remarkably convenient for men that the best way to help women is to get men laid.

  43. Dave G. says:

    Anticorium :
    How remarkably convenient for men that the best way to help women is to get men laid.

    That’s actually not what I said at all. It’s not about ‘getting them laid’, it’s about creating an environment for them where they aren’t treated like pariahs, and where they don’t get pissed on every opportunity that they aren’t simply being ignored. Where they are accepted for who they are.

    Is it really so hard to understand that growing up in this environment leads to dysfunctional people who have built walls to protect themselves?

    How can you expect these guys to treat women as equals when they’ve never been afforded the same courtesy? Or is this just another area of life where these guys deserve to be kicked around until they comply with what other people demand of them?

    If you don’t target the root cause of these issues you will never get anywhere in terms of changing people’s real attitudes.

    There’s no easy answer, but simply pointing the finger at the guys and saying ‘BAD’ is about as useful as farting on an ants nest. The real world is a little more complicated than that.

  44. Anticorium says:

    How can you expect these guys to treat women as equals when they’ve never been afforded the same courtesy?

    Because they’re men, not boys, and they can grow up and wash out their sandy, sandy vaginas at the way that the hot chicks in high school ignored them. If it helps, they can contact those girls that they weren’t wanking off over during high school, and find out that the insufficiently-pretty girls were in fact sometimes lonely themselves, and would have been happy to hang out with the geek boys, if not more.

    I’m sorry that you didn’t get laid by supermodels from ages fifteen to eighteen, Dave. But that is not a problem with every woman out there. It is a problem, at best, with the girls who were aged fifteen to eighteen in your school at the time. It might even be a problem with you.

    simply pointing the finger at the guys and saying ‘BAD’

    How much more productive to point the finger at the girls. How much more productive indeed.

  45. Female Gamer says:

    @Dave G.

    I’m not sure whose post you read, but it certainly wasn’t mine. Nowhere, NOWHERE, did I say, hint, or suggest that “every single profession and every single area of study and leisure is exactly divided down the 50% line”, nor did I make any reference whatsoever to “an aggressive hiring policy.” If you want to address Lum’s comments, then don’t preface it with “@Female Gamer”. And, I should point out, Lum is most assuredly not female.

    As for your argument that grown men are justified in being … something I won’t say out of respect for our host … in their adult lives because the jocks got more attention than they did in high school, I have the expected two words: GROW UP. Anyone who makes business decisions based on who liked them in high school deserves the massive load of fail the market will send their way. Blaming other people is not a sign of maturity. “Waaaah! Look what you made me do!” didn’t work when you were six, and it’s not going to work now.

    What I’m seeing here is your position appears to be based on emotion, and you’re trying to muster up some kind of argument to justify those emotions. You just want justification for how you feel. If you want to argue from emotion instead of reason, you’re going to have to find someone else to argue with.

    Oh, and the definition of “photographer” is a person who uses a camera to take photographs. Any photographs. If you take pictures of you and your friends every few months, you ARE in fact a photographer. What other word would you propose to mean “person who takes photographs”? What’s the minimum number of photographs you think someone has to take per day, month, year, or whatever to be a photographer? And if they’re not a photographer, but they take pictures, what ARE they?

    That’s an excellent analogy you’ve provided, in fact. There are professional photographers making a full-time living at it, there are semi-pros who get paid for it, but not all the time, there are serious amateurs, there are more casual amateurs, there are people who take a few vacation snapshots or pictures of the grandkids … all levels, all interests, all varieties. They’re ALL photographers. The camera industry wants to sell to all of them, whatever they’re doing with the pictures they take, and makes products for them all.

    I pull out the camera maybe a couple of times a month. Am I a photographer?

    If not, do I have to give my blue ribbons back?

  46. Gx1080 says:

    And the cycle converge in the fact that being in the middle of the storm of hormones that was high school it was as much fun as putting the hand in the blender.

    And Dave.G i feel your pain, i truly do, but i tried to make an effort of seeing the other side, many of the “hot chicks” in high school were so desperate for keeping on the top of the food chain that they had sex with complete assoles who only looked at them as objects, just because said assoles also were in top of the food chain.

    The lucky ones losed their self respect. The unlucky losed their self respect and got pregnant, aka destroying almost completely their chances of a good job.

    And for final, i get over it when i figured out that all the battles for survival were going to be meaningless in the second i got my diplom. I was pissed for that but it passed.

  47. Gx1080 says:

    Oh and for the “Gamer” tag i suggest a read of the Greedy Goblin:

    http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2009/02/jobs-revenants-and-status.html

    It says something important and i quote:

    “The core of the problem is that you never were a “game development manager”. You were employed to do that job. When I clean my kitchen, I mop the floor, but it does not change me into a “floor moper”. When I’m playing WoW, I’m not transformed into a “player”, and doing my job does not make me a “development engineer”. I’m the very same guy moping the floor, playing the game, calculating the energetics of the new plant. These are things I do and not things I am.”

    Basically it said that if you play FPS and MMOS you arent different of the guy or girl that plays Bejewelled, Sudoku, etc. Playing games is something that you do not something that you are.

  48. Vetarnias says:

    Ah yes, the Greedy Goblin. Readers of this blog are familiar with him allright.

    But we’re really getting lost in semantics if we are getting to the point of saying “you play games but you are not a gamer”. By the Greedy Goblin’s criterion, nobody would be a gamer, whether it’s Bejeweled or twenty-hour Darkfall sittings; it really doesn’t help much.

    Whether we like it or not, the term “gamer” (unlike “video game player”) implies something in the way of actual dedication to playing video games. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to call anyone who ever fired up a Wii (or any other console) a “gamer”.

    Where is the demarcation line between a gamer and just a video game player? I have no idea, and beyond the fact that it’s gender-neutral, because the standard probably varies from person to person. In my case, “gamer” has an implied “hardcore” in it, so even I wouldn’t belong in that category. But I’m predicting that the demographic would be overwhelmingly male.

    I remember the results of what was called, with great taste, a “sausage poll” regarding Darkfall, which came to the conclusion that 98% of the game’s prospective players were male. I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to call hardcore gamers more sexist than others, but such figures would just confirm that women are a rarity in their type of gaming, and that the hardcore expect it that way. And frankly, it’s not on women that this reflects badly…

  49. Pickly says:

    I agree that the “it’s high school” is pure bull as well. The sort of crap I read in the magazine articles resembles, outside the computer games world, the same sort of stuff I read elsewhere (In politics, for example), where a writer will seem to get fixated on appearance (more often with females than males), and those people seem quite a bit less likely to have been on the lower end of the high school social totem pole.

    (By the way, neither me or my brother, for a small example, seemed to have had problems with the “jock” issues people talk about here, it may be the high schools we went to had developed different cultures than usual, or perhaps the supposedly typical U.S. high school culture is less common than thought, or there is some other explanation.)

    What I see in a lot of these arguments is the same sort of politiking that happens in, for example, actual politics, with many people feeling overly threatened by something, getting overly invested in a certain point of view, trying to associate with particular groups, etc. A lot of the same arguing strategies are used as well, such as people trying to define words to their supposed advantage, looking for information to specifically back up a point of view, etc.

    In terms of the original “Why are thereso few females playing Strategy, RPG, shooter, etc. type games”, I can’t actually say much, not having seenfemale social interaction up close very much, or having experienced possible issues within games. (There was one thing that happened in Guild Wars, and one in WoW, where someone thought I was female, one had someone being insulting, one being overly helpful, but other than that and personal experience is pretty much non-existent.

  50. Gx1080 says:

    The point is that putting clasifications on people that can do very different things is wrong. And the people that believes that are “harcore gamers” need to get off of their high horse. Because you arent better that the guy/girl that plays bejewelled and you arent more important to this industry and your opinion is NOT more important, its the same.

  51. Sjofn says:

    Dave G’s posts reminded me how the sob stories of being ignored in high school coming from dudes always conveniently leaves out how they totally ignored the nerdy girls because they were far too busy pining for the hot, popular, usually unnerdy girls. But you know, it’s OK for the nerd boys to ignore certain girls, but totally unforgivable for girls to ignore them. Who do they think they are, all acting like they’re not put on this earth to cater to all men everywhere?

    Forgive me if I and the other nerdy women out there are not exactly crying over the nerdy boy high school plight.

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