It’s no secret that women gamers are drawn to different aspects of gaming then their male counterparts. The gaming industry is seen as a teenage boy clubhouse. While there has always been talk surrounding getting women more involved in this industry, finally a company is taking real action.
“Today, I am challenging everyone to take action to help level the playing field for women pursuing a career in video games,” said Torrie Dorrell senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing for Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE). “We can encourage diversity in development and make a difference, hopefully creating more opportunities for women.”
SOE is piloting, G.I.R.L. or Gamers In Real Life, a new initiative designed to encourage female students pursuing a career “in the creative and applied arts, with the ultimate goal of developing video games that are more interesting for women to play,” stated in a SOE press release.
There are a number of statistics and write-ups concerning this topic, but it is pretty clear that in the game development industry and within the gamer population “girl gamers” are a small albeit growing population.
G.I.R.L. is a scholarship program given to students of undergraduate studies relating to game development. Female students compete by submitting original artwork or essays to be judged by a panel. This scholarship has been in the seedling stages for quite a while and I think this is a fantastic outreach opportunity.
Let’s be real honest here and make some general, bordering on stereotypical statements, guys are very goal oriented. Girls that I know who play games tend to enjoy games that are either more cerebral or social based. Games like Rock Band, World of Warcraft or The Sims fit in this type of category and casual gaming is still dominated by women.
In a growing multibillion dollar industry, where nearly 75% of paying casual gamers are women demonstrating they play and are willing to purchase games for themselves, the potential revenue created by having women design games with the woman in mind, are too good for developers and publishers to pass-up.
What are your thoughts? Think I’m wildly off base and the gaming industry won’t change? Let me know in the comments.
[G.I.R.L. / Via SOE Press Release]