While the number of women gamers is very high, and getting higher everyday, the number of women in the gaming industry is still incredibly low. According to the International Game Developers Association, women only make up 12% of the gaming industry (West). Many women are of the belief that they are being “gamed down to” because there is an overall lack of understanding about how women play games (West).
As I said in my post “(Not) Your Average Gamer”, women are attracted to the social aspects of games as well as the narrative aspects of games and are more likely to play games on their iPads or iPhones than men. Due to these types of facts, it is widely believed that they are the only types of games that women play and so the only games that should be directed towards women are games like “The Sims” or Farmville”. If people would stop believing this then there wouldn’t have to be such a big deal made about “women playing social games” because then they would actually have something else to play. Right now there are few things that women can seriously get excited about game-wise that aren’t social games, because the men that make them are so single-minded. The gaming market as a whole would probably grow more if more women got involved in the developing of games because this would enable companies to put out better product that appeals to a more widespread audience.
More than 60 percent of female students enrolled in game design programs at The Art Institutes said they believed male dominance in the industry is a deterrent to women pursuing a career in gaming, according to a survey commissioned by SOE (West). This is where we kind of get involved in a vicious cycle in my opinion. Men keep making games that are catered towards other men, and when women see this happening they begin to think that the game developing industry is too male-dominant for them to ever be able to make a name for themselves.
Sherry Floyd a game designer for Sony Online Entertainment says “I honestly don’t think it’s a gender issue, I think it’s a marketing issue” (West). While I hadn’t really thought about it this way it does make some sense, the motion picture industry has always been very male dominated but they know that women turn out in droves to the movie theaters whenever a good movie comes out so they make sure to market to them. Maybe after a few more years the same thing will be able to be said for the gaming industry.
West, Matt. “Wooing women gamers–and game creators” (2008)http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/02/28/women.gamers/index.html