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More Girls Need Industry Jobs

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the more-sisters-than-brothers dept.

Editorial 65

The Guardian has an editorial up discussing the need for more women in the games industry. From the article: "The development team of the Sims Online game, for example, was 40% female, while 60% of its players are female. The contemporary life-simulation setting has attracted a non-traditional (ie female) audience in a way no other game has, says the Elspa report. Jessica Lewis, producer of The Sims Online, has said: 'I think simply because more women are involved in the designs and development, a different kind of contribution happens. Diversity ... is a good thing when making a mainstream game.'"

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Games industry isn't the only place for women. (3, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896112)

In my science and math courses in college, there was only one woman for every twenty guys there. My guess is that a larger percentage of guys like video games than girls, and this translates into more guys in the industry.

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (1)

brilinux (255400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896402)

...Which is why they want more women - so that they might be better at getting females more interested in playing them. Of course, there will be debates as to what types of games are played by each sex, but the point is, it is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Hopefully, there will be more women involved, though; I should like to think that some day, the thought that anyone would even consider something like sex to be a barrier to such jobs would not occur.

And at my school at least, even though they have a saying "if you are a girl, the odds are good, but the goods are odd", it still seems that there is a good number of women in the computer science school and studying the sciences and engineering in general. Which is a good thing.

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12902673)

The thing is, every tech industry wants more women.

First of all, women are nicer to be around. Generally speaking, they tend to look and smell better.

Secondly, if you don't have any women on your staff, it creates the appearance that you have something against hiring women.

Thirdly, any woman who choses a career in what has been traditionally a relativley male-dominated industry is likely to be fairly passionate about the work.

In spite of all those very good reasons for hiring more women, most places don't. You know why? Because there aren't enough qualified women interested in tech jobs out there.

Parents: Encourage your daughters to become tech geeks. If they are at all competent, they'll probably get job offers in response to almost every interview they go to.

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (1)

Shazow (263582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897152)

But just because there aren't women there, doesn't mean there is a good reason for them to be there (other than their own interest in the subject).

In my Psychology classes, there about one man for every twenty girls. Sure, a few guys enjoy psychology, but it seems that women are much more into it. And that's ok. I don't see any reason to start a whole "hey, let's get more men into psychology (or history, or literature, etc)" campaign, just like any other class that is dominated by men.

- shazow

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (1)

Grab (126025) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898749)

Too right.

I support 100% the aim of equal opportunities. But the key word is *opportunities*. If you seriously don't want to do something, then a selling campaign isn't going to persuade you. And we do have to face it that a majority of men are good at spatial-mathematical work and prefer that, and a majority of women are good at caring work and prefer that. Only on average though - there are large minorities who don't fit the stereotype, and for them the equality of opportunities has to allow them to do what they want. But to try and cajole/force/bribe people to do something they don't really enjoy and aren't good at, simply to get an even 50-50 split of male-female - that's plain stupid.

So if you want to do a selling job on engineering for women, that's fine by me, *if and only if* you also do a similar selling job on being a house-husband, or your example of psychology, or physiotherapy (my wife just had physio at our local hospital, and looking at the class photos on the wall, there wasn't a single man in the year photos for the last 10 years). No-one does this.

And then people wonder why boys' school grades and careers are going down the toilet. Well, duh! the girls have had positive role models and career paths pushed down their necks until they practically feel obliged to go and do it, whereas all the boys get is, "Girls can do this, that and the other, and succeed wonderfully. Boys? Oh, just do whatever."

The weird thing is that engineering, sciences, maths, etc are seen as "sexist" bcos there are more men than women doing them. But actually meet them and you find they're the least sexist, most ready to judge on merit people that you'll find. Equality of opportunity is here and now in industry everywhere, but no-one seems to have realised yet.

The day people really *understand* the words "equal opportunities" and don't try to go on the positive-discrimination jag, I will be one happy individual.

Grab.

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (3, Funny)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898307)


The development team of the Sims Online game, for example, was 40% female, while 60% of its players are female.

I fail to see the logic in this statement.
80% of all actors in the porn industry are female, while 90% of its users are male.
Still I don't demand more males in the porn industry.

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12936814)

Ah, but the fastest growing consumer market in the porn industry is women. If you want to grow this market, shouldn't you have women in decisive roles behind the camera so to speak?

In the same way, one of the fasted growing segments of the game market is also women. Don't you want more women in creative roles to generate ideas that appeals to their gender?

Re:Games industry isn't the only place for women. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12898938)

My guess is that a larger percentage of guys like video games than girls

"boys" or "gals". Part of the problem is people like you who use terms like "guys [...] girls", or "men [...] girls".

It's been 14 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

Well, fuck you Slashdot. Also, sentences usually end with a period/full stop, or some other form of punctuation.

Why is this a need? (1)

ooPo (29908) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896161)

I understand there's an imbalance, but how is this a need?

Re:Why is this a need? (1)

negative3 (836451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896746)

I think maybe it should be restated "The Industry needs more girls".

Re:Why is this a need? (1)

ooPo (29908) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897103)

Mars needs women? :)

Seriously, unless they can point at incidents where females are being unfairly passed over I really don't get the point of these articles lately. It seems to be in fashion to pooh-pooh the gaming industry. 'There aren't enough games that appeal to females!' is another good one.

The ratio being in favour of one side is rarely reason enough alone to tell everyone to stand on the other side of the boat.

Show some concrete demographics. Make a case for actual money to be made beyond 'hey there's a lot of them!' and the industry will attempt to appeal to them. Money speaks. Show it to them.

Writing another whiney blog entry won't cut it, I'm afraid.

Re:Why is this a need? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898281)

Simple logic :)

If there are 50% female gamers, there should be 50% female developers.

Similarly, about 50% of the gamers have an IQ of less then 100, therefore about 50% of developers should have an IQ of less then 100.

Re:Why is this a need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12898573)

errr.... 50% of what industry? sorry, but the 50% girl stat is counting the ENTIRE industry. Lets face it, when people around these parts say "Game industry" they mean the guys who make Doom3, Super Mario, etc...

40% sounds pretty good to me... (1)

JExtine (691267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896180)

40% to 60% sounds pretty exceptional to me considering that the industry is aimed towards males overall. Also, how does this compare to the ratio in other areas of business? Not counting the lower level positions, I would imagine that most businesses would be even worse off.

Re:40% sounds pretty good to me... (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897505)

Actually there is a second reality to this. Maxis the great company it used to be was bought out by EA. In an effort to cut cost, as EA does best to keep the expensive lawyers count high, it hired alot of women in the Sims division.

Women are great employees, but the unfortunate fact is... women traditionally are lower salaried than men. Which also allows EA to cut more HR expenses. Sims is the one game women don't mind working on.

Basically don't think of EA as wanting to hire more women! Think of it as EA's best opportunity to cut cost. I have contacts from the former non-evil EA days. I am just the messenger here.

Nonsense (3, Insightful)

cybereal (621599) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896203)

I'm all for female influence in games, assuming said females are just as creatively genius as their male counterparts. However, I find it ludicrous to say that women like The SIMS because women helped make it. I know 3 very different girls who all like the game. My observations point to them enjoying the fact that the game is braindead easy, obvious, and akin to playing house as a little kid. Would you claim that those aspects of the game exist because women helped design it?

Pffft.

Re:Nonsense (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896231)

Perhaps what is needed is simply a workforce diverse enough to include people who don't generally play games. Ironically, this has been a basic requirement for years. To make games, you must love them. Why else would you work for below industry standard wages, at above average hours? Hell, the hours itself are family unfriendly, and that alone induces a sort of imbalance on the workforce behind the design of games.

Re:Nonsense (2, Insightful)

philiptan (669463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896468)

What's "obvious" now that the game is actually on the market wasn't "obvious" when the game was being designed. The proportion of women on the design team of the original The Sims was also pretty high. If you compare The Sims to other games Maxis had at the time, The Sims is a considerably more accessible design. It could easily have been designed as a zoomed-in SimCity 3000, but it's not; it's a dramatically different game. You're not building a house, you're playing with creatures. I'm not claiming it's better or worse, just different.

What about the aesthetics of the game? From the Simglish to the animation to the goofy furniture descriptions to the kind of music (admittedly not that different from SimCity, but still different). Can one reasonably expect that a game with a 40% female development team will look and sound like a game with a 95% male development team?

The fact that you know "3 different girls" who play the game is an example of why you'd like to have a large female component in your design team. Developers always tend to design a game they'd like to play themselves. It's possible to do it otherwise, but it takes a lot of discipline and rigor. The more women you have in your team, the more women you may be able to get to buy your game.

No one's claiming that less competent developers should be joining the industry. However, one does not necessarily need to evaluate competency on creativity. Different roles in a big dev house require different skills...managing, systematic analysis, communication, etc. A strength in any of the above, combined with a little respect for the medium itself, can be a real asset to any game developer...male or female.

Being in the target demographic (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898367)

_The_ worst games ever produced are the ones where the designers obviously aren't in the target demographic. That's been a major problem in the industry for more than a decade: a bunch of lemmings decide to clone Game X because it sold well last year, but manage to miss every single element that made Game X a success. Why? Because they don't actually have a clue _what_ those players liked.

E.g., speaking of The Sims, I know of at least 3 games which tried to include elements of it, just because it sold, yet managed to miss the whole point. They made something non-fun and "streamlined out" every single gameplay element that made it fun.

(And not even only games. If I look at the frameworks, libraries, tools, etc, I use at work, _the_ crappiest ones were the ones where marketting was at the wheel, instead of those who actually use it. _The_ way to make an utter crap web application framework, for example, is to have it designed by some marketroid who's never actually coded a web app. It'll have all the buzzwords that woo an idiot PHB, but none of the qualities that would actually make it useful to those who actually have to use it.)

Just taking a wild guess at someone else playing the game doesn't even start to cut it.

E.g., my father still refers to Chrono Cross as "that game where you whack rats with a frying pan". And more than once he's expressed opinions like that maybe I'm into RPGs because I somehow like whacking rats with a frying pan. (*sigh* Yes, dad, Lena had a most unfortunate choice of weapons in that game, but FFS it's not even a main character.) Or that it's those games where they just spew lots of pointless text and never get to the fighting part.

Want to bet what kind of an RPG he'd design, if you asked him to design one? Well, I can tell you that no actual RPG player would want to touch it with a 10 foot pole.

E.g., your own "My observations point to them enjoying the fact that the game is braindead easy, obvious, and akin to playing house as a little kid." Being a die-hard The Sims player myself... let's put it as diplomatically as I can: good grief, I hope noone asks you to design a The Sims clone. Ever. Because again, no offense, you illustrate just the point I was making: you're missing all the _real_ points.

That's the problem: the whole game industry itself is an example of what happens when you ask the _guys_ to design a game for _women_. They have no clue where to even start.

We're talking an industry which started with a clean 50-50 gender distribution among gamers, and ended up with "chicks don't play games." Why? Because the males can't even start to guess what the females like to play, and viceversa. Not being in the target demographic tends to have that effect.

The publishers did give males almost 3 decades to try to guess what makes a good games for women. They failed. Utterly. They actually _lost_ that market. Now someone's finally got a brain and figured out "ok, wth, let's give women a chance too. Maybe they know better what they'd like to play."

That's all.

Re:Nonsense (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 9 years ago | (#12902674)

However, I find it ludicrous to say that women like The SIMS because women helped make it.

Didn't you know? Will Wright is actually a woman in disguise.

Rob

Uhm (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896212)

Sims Online seems like an extreme example... how many female FPS players are there (or RTS players, etc..) ... examine the different genres for female gaming enthusiasts...

Saying "Oh yeah, take SIMS ONLINE for example" is like saying "Oh yeah, take BARBIE for example" when it comes to female playership. ... honestly, females in game development would be great and all, but you have to admit, except in cases like Sims Online or other games which cater more toward females... the client base for most games will be predominanetly men...

Re:Uhm (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896233)

From observation... I'd make estimates (conservative, IMHO) that there is a 4 male to 1 female ratio as far as video games go... ... and IN that ratio... the female gamers prefer games like Sims Online (or MMORPGs, I've seen a few women there as well) ... and not so much the FPS, RTS, etc.. genres... (and even in MMORPGs, as far as I have experienced, the players tended to be predominantely male) ...

Re:Uhm (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898048)

You've left out puzzle games which brings that ratio from 4 to 1 to much closer to parity.

Re:Uhm (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898070)

Do you honestly think there are enough females who play puzzle games (or more specifically... BUY them to play) ... to make a 4 to 1 ratio equal? That's madness, MADNESS I SAY!

Face it, puzzle games are not big video game business. They do contribute, but not nearly as much revenue as other genres...

Doesn't take an extra eye to see that one...

Re:Uhm (2, Funny)

Babbster (107076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898319)

I would think using The Sims Online as an example would be a bad idea because it raises this question: Was the unusually high number of women involved in the development of The Sims Online a contributing factor to it becoming a large "bust"?

Actually, that is the whole question (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898615)

"Sims Online seems like an extreme example... how many female FPS players are there (or RTS players, etc..) ... examine the different genres for female gaming enthusiasts..."

In Quake 2 they had over 30% females among the people who registered the game. I.e., about 1 in 3 players of that FPS. I think that's not quite the answer you already had in mind, right?

"except in [...] games which cater more toward females... the client base for most games will be predominanetly men".

In other words, if you make games for males, yes, mostly males will buy it. Perfectly logical, yes.

Thing is, that's the whole problem.

Consider this: back in the days of Pong, they had a clean 50-50 between male and female players. Also see blips on the radar like what I've mentioned above about Quake 2 registrations. So gaming being for men only, isn't as set in stone as you seem to assume. It certainly didn't start true.

The effect you _are_ correctly noticing is caused by the fact the industry ever since has mostly been churning games made by men for men. And indeed, most of them didn't sell that great to women. Quite unsurprisingly, I would say.

"Saying "Oh yeah, take SIMS ONLINE for example" is like saying "Oh yeah, take BARBIE for example" when it comes to female playership."

And that's the whole problem. The publishers by now would _love_ to get some money from women too. But by now they don't even know how to start. _How_ would you make a Barbie game that actually appeals to young girls, for example? (Matel would love to know the answer to that.)

So far most games for girls have been abhominations that should have been taken out, shot, and burried at crossroads with a stake through the chest. That bad.

In all fairness, most software for kids is crap, because it's designed by people who've forgotten what it's like to be a kid, and bought by parets rather than kids. But games for girls (Barbie stuff included) are trully the bottom of the proverbial barrel, because most are designed by some 40 year old _male_ that has no clue what girls like. So they start with vague ideas like "uh, girls like dolls, don't they?" and it goes downhill from there.

The problem is that the industry has concentrated for more than two decades on on making games by immature boys for immature boys. They have no clue what to make for women. Even when accidentally end up with something that sold well to women (e.g., Quake 2), the guys are clueless _why_ it sold well and _what_ did those women see in it. And then just to prove that they didn't understand anything, or didn't even try, they make a sequel which loses all that female market share. (E.g., Quake 3.)

So at this point the "except in cases like Sims Online or other games which cater more toward females" part is clear to them too. That's exactly what they'd like to make more of. They just don't know how.

Women can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12896281)

code, they bleed all over the terminal

Re:Women can't (1)

thatJoshGuy (701935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897659)

i hear it attracts the mountain bears

A few points... (4, Insightful)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896362)


1. More girls don't need industry jobs. The industry needs more "girls" to fill existing jobs.

2. Girls? No, women. You don't see articles stating most of the industry's jobs are filled with boys.

While I have nothing against the term "girls" (my wife occasionally goes out for "girls' night out"), the workplace is not a good place for that term. It's either a reflection of a condescending attitude or leads to one.

The bottom line: avoid referring to female professionals as girls. Unfortunately, many females feel the term "woman" makes them sound old, so to be safe, use the term "chick".

Ok, I had to throw in a joke, but I meant the rest.

Re:A few points... (1)

llamaluvr (575102) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897042)

I once refered to a girl/ woman in one of my college courses as a "chick" (well, she wasn't in my class- she was an anonymous person refered to in a book), and the teacher then lead a 30 minute disscussion on whether or not that was appropriate. :-)

Re:A few points... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897492)

Why aren't there any articles about how "we need more blacks in the videogame industry"? I'm sure that the number of black people in the industry is less than 50% of the total. Clearly, we need to rectify this injustice.

Seriously.. I mean... come on. Enough with this whiney stories already. Am I supposed to believe that the only thing holding us back from better videogames is a lack of women developing them? Christ, most girls I know don't even PLAY videogames unless you count chatting on AIM and flashing your boobs on your webcam.

Re:A few points... (0, Troll)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898252)

Chick is a synonym of bird. Bird is an old word that means baby, and was not a derogatory term for a female. If anything, Bird may seem more derogatory than chick in today's world.

Bride, certainly not a derogatory term (or do feminists now think so... gee I like how feminists proclaim they represent all women... how bad is that? anyway..) and bride is actually the same word as bird.

So there.

Personally all the holes in my job take no offense to my address to them, they are too afraid of a good he-bitch-man-slapping. OMGLOLKTHXBI

Yeah well done the mod who did that (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12904939)

Etymology too much of a weak subject for you?

It was on topic, insightful an humorous!

I have a cult following, I can't walk down the street in south america!

look Sergio Mendez!

Season 4, its a killer.

Re:A few points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12903150)

Nothing says a job well done like a good, firm, open handed slap on the ass...

40%, 60%? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896472)

The development team of the Sims Online game, for example, was 40% female, while 60% of its players are female.

What do the two have to do with each other? Why should the percentage of females creating a product be equal the percentage of females using it? The vast majority of people in the construction industry are men, but half of the people who walk into buildings are women. Do buildings need be to built by women in order for women to relate to them?

Re:40%, 60%? (1)

Anti_zeitgeist (583666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896905)

I dont think it was meant as a production number....but more along the lines of design. But whatever, its all stereotypes....doom is for boys, barbie is for girls...all poop.

New and More Correct Headline (2, Informative)

kc32 (879357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896565)

Industry Jobs need More Girls.

Re:New and More Correct Headline (1)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897542)

You misspelled "womyn."

Industry bias? (2, Interesting)

Forkenhoppen (16574) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896688)

So my question is, why is 40% the largest number of women to work on a game in history? And why is that attributed to The Sims Online? Didn't most of that team end up on Sims 2 afterwards?

Perhaps the lesson we should learn is that most women are smart enough not to get into an industry known for its long crunch times and poor working conditions. Or at the very least, after putting in tons of effort and finally pushing out a lukewarm title, which seems to be the average experience for people in this industry, they were smart enough to look for a job elsewhere?

Or is this an industry-wide problem that needs to be fixed? Is the industry's reliance on long crunch times and inflexibility when it comes to letting people spend time with their kids a built-in bias against women? Should people be taking industry members to court for discrimination?

(I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, so if I'm not talking sense, someone please enlighten me. It's hard to be PC around this topic.)

Re:Industry bias? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12896932)

TSO was probably mentioned because it's a lot easier to get demographics on the player base for TSO than Sims 2. (That is, Maxis probably knows how many TSO players are/were women, but not necessarily how many Sims 2 players are.)

As for why women don't get into games programming, I personally think the problem isn't specifically with the setup in games programming, computer science, or the sciences in general. Rather, there are societal differences from early childhood between boys and girls that pressure each to head in a different direction. These differences stem at least somewhat from genetic predispositions toward the more primitive aspects of life that have been put in place via evolutionary mechanisms. The result is that women tend toward medicine and the life sciences (nurturing professions), while men tend toward engineering (building professions).

The way our society strongly predisposes each gender in a particular direction from an early age (from the toys parents buy from their children to the sorts of advertising that children are blasted with on TV), it's difficult to say how reversible the trend is (that is, how much of it is due to aspects of the reproductive drive, and how much is just from the expectations put on children from the beginning, like whether the baby's room gets painted pink or blue).

Re:Industry bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12897474)

Exactly. Women tend to avoid jobs that are life-threatening, extremely stressful, require plenty of travel and flexibility and enormous dedication. At least, when this is needed throughout a career.

Most women want to be mothers. Mothers cannot just uproot themselves and move to a different city, state, coast or country to follow their dream or career. Most mothers can not just stay at work for a week straight, sleeping on cots between bursts of activity. They can't do these things, because they have a family to take care of. They have children to take care of.

I know this sounds sexist, but the numbers prove it. There's even a book out about it (Why Men Make More or something like that, by the guy who was the former head of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women). This is why men lead shorter lives. Of deaths on the job, 94% are male. Women climb the corporate ladder and make more money than a man... at first. But as her life changes and she focuses more on family and less on work, her needs change. Her abilities change. Her value to her employer changes. And then men eventually surpass her. Why is this? Is this because it's a sexist, evil, chauvenist industry? No - it's because men are expected to punch a clock their entire lives. For the most part, there is no 9 months off to have a kid, three years off to raise it and 15 more years to take care of its problems, attend school functions, doctor's visits, vacations, emergencies, babysitting and everything else.

The way to a better career and being more valuable and moving up in the world - REGARDLESS OF SEX - is simply to be flexible and hard working. Put in the hours you need to. Work as hard as you need to. Be willing to travel. Be willing to move to new places. If you can only work certain strict hours, can't put in extra time, can't ever work weekens, have to leave early all the time, have to ditch everyone for family emergencies, can't follow the work and opportunities wherever they may arrise and are locked into one geographic location - you can't expect to achieve as much as someone else who will. It's unfortunate, but that's life.

I'm sorry, but you are not going to be the top dog by working half days, taking lots of vacations and setting all sorts of restrictions on your boss and coworkers. It simply isn't.

Observation Vs. Idealism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12896736)

Marketing people are, if you'll forgive the term, complete whores. They care about the money and don't worry too much about how dirty what they have to do to get it will make them feel.

If they believed that Power Puff Girls was the way to make massive profits, they'd do it. They might suffer high programmer attrition at first but if they decided the costs were less than what they stood to gain, they'd absolutely do it.

This is the reason why we get dozens of generic FPSs and Madden games - they may not be the radical game that makes a fortune but they're sensible bets. The music industry, the movie industry, any large industry, is exactly the same: Even if a radical title makes ten times its costs - if it 19 out of 20 radical titles lose their money, it's a losing proposition overal.

In the past, the game industry tended to have a couple of guys who'd bash out code while eating ramen and, while they often lost money, they'd occasionally hit pay dirt and then end up in charge of wealthy companies that spent the next ten years failing to release the follow up to that Duke Nu*cough*.

Those companies were often run by nerds who had no knowledge of diversity, markets etc. Sometimes they guessed right, often they guessed wrong - but they tended to be guesses not targeted decisions based on research in to the market.

Now though, with EA owning half the industry and other large publishers owning most of the rest, these people have very expensive marketing teams who spend a huge amount on researching the market and very carefully target their next moves to ensure profit even if it isn't quite so cool.

So, in the past, I'd accept the argument that the guys in charge may have simply been unrehabilitated nerds who were scared of girls and hence didn't hire them nor develop games for them.

Now though? These people don't care what they have to do for the money so long as they make it. If they'll do whatever makes money, why aren't they making these [allegedly] massively successful girl-gamer-friendly titles?

The conclusion's pretty obvious:

Because, at the end of the day, it's not something they consider profitable.

The 18-35 male demographic is a great target audience. They have a high income, low costs, and tend to spend a far greater percentage than women ever will on gaming. Women simply have other things already fighting for their dollars.

Making up numbers here: say you had 100,000 men and 100,000 women. The men, on average earn say $10,000 a year, the women, whether right or wrong, $9,500 a year. So far the money's about the same. The women spend their $0.95b a year on other things but, with heavy marketing could be swayed to spend 10% on gaming - $0.095b/year. The men currently spend 25% on gaming and, with heavy marketing could spend as high as 40% - $0.25b-$0.4b.

Look at those numbers. Even if you get every last available female dollar, it's a drop in the ocean at $0.1b vs the $0.25b-$0.4b guys will spend.

Certainly, there's $95m waiting for the people who pull off the occasional fluke - as happened with The Sims. Overall though, that market's just not worth going after at the expense of the 18-35 male market. Even if you can multiply your female share by a factor of five or ten, it doesn't compensate for losing as little as five or ten percent of your male market share.

So, while I'm all for idealism - I'm also enough of a realist to recognise that, were it as simple as hire more women, make more money, the marketing folks would be out whoring to that market long ago. That they are not implies the observations do not support the idealism.

Of course, the odd anomaly will always support the idealists' beliefs. But an occasional anomaly, while taken as scripture by those who want to believe, will likely still be ignored overall unless it continues to consistently prove true.

My wide is an avid gamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12896787)

My wide is an avid gamer, but she'd never admit it. She absolutely loathes my xbox.

She play Ultimate Yahtzee! on her computer quite often, a 9 year old game. It even says compatiable with windows 3.1 and windows 95 on the disk.

About a year ago she payed $20 to download some Wheel of Fortune game. She used to play a Jepordy game I bought her a few years back.

She plays "games" often, but her yearly market spending is next to nothing. Probably under $100 total over 10 years.

Women gamers do not count for the most part because they don't spend money. Yes ther are exceptions. But mostly it is free games like solitare or some online puzzles, or hey might buy one or two games they play for years.

More women in the industry? There are few women in the computer field, and few of those that are any good at it.

Re:My wide is an avid gamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12897378)

"broad" and "wide" mean the same thing when describing measurements, but they are not interchangeable when talking about women.

Well... (1)

Starsmore (788910) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897182)

I [icims.com] hear [icims.com] Activision [icims.com] is [icims.com] hiring [icims.com] ....

Of course, I applied to them [icims.com] for two years, and they [icims.com] never called [icims.com] me until the day I started [icims.com] the job I got cause they wouldn't hire me. What the hell [icims.com] ...

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12897273)

"If Common Sense were so common, it wouldn't be such a valued trait." - Me, 2005

Computer Geeks are Not Enlightened (0, Troll)

embobo (1520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897632)

We computer geeks like to think that we are enlightened, that there is no systematic bias against women in computer science. We are wrong. What's worse is that we cannot admit that we are wrong. Suddenly, we become unscientific in our analysis of the situation, using in our personal anecdotal evidence to serve as proof against the claim. We think "I never did anything to prevent a women from pursuing a career in computer science." My brothers, we are wrong. Here is a summary of the evidence for this claim: http://norfolk.cs.washington.edu/htbin-post/unrest ricted/colloq/details.cgi?id=312 [washington.edu]

Computer science isn't advancing as well as it could due to the fact that intelligent women who would otherwise contribute are being repelled due to male influence. It's humbling to admit that we aren't as enlightened as we think we are, but we need to. Only then can we learn with an open mind what we need to do--suppressing our pride and other misplaced feelings of righteousness and instead focusing on the data--to rectify the situation.

Re:Computer Geeks are Not Enlightened (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898066)

If I'm to agree that because I'm male I'm guilty of keeping women back, I want you to agree that because they're female they can't hack it in CS.

Re:Computer Geeks are Not Enlightened (1)

lovek323 (817403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898079)

You have a very valid point. Whether or not a person is guilty should not be decided by their sex, but by their actions. Not doing this is, by definition, descriminiation. Of course, saying that women can't hack it in CS suffers from the same problem.

Re:Computer Geeks are Not Enlightened (1)

embobo (1520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898429)

I agree that because they're female they can't hack it in CS. My
question is: why? My belief is that the reason is because we've made
it so they can't. So they don't, and thus humankind misses out on the
benefit they would provide.

Re:Computer Geeks are Not Enlightened (1)

ryarger (69279) | more than 9 years ago | (#12900328)

The OP did not say "Men are impeding the progress of women because they are men", he simply said "Men are impeding the progress of women" without ascribing a reason to that assertion.

Given that, your analogy is completely invalid.

What is the most diverse percentage? 40%? 45%? 50% (1)

jellybear (96058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897951)

I guess 40% is not diverse enough. Is 45% more diverse than 40%? Does higher percentage = more diverse? Is 60% more diverse than 50%? Is 100% girls the most diverse? I guess that wouldn't make sense. So, maybe 50% = most diverse percentage? WTF am I talking about? Maybe diversity has nothing to do with this.

Re:What is the most diverse percentage? 40%? 45%? (1)

jtpalinmajere (627101) | more than 9 years ago | (#12923137)

I'd say 45% would be perfect for the best diversity... 45% men, 45% women, 10% other where other constitutes cross-gender, no-gender, homosexual, self-sexual, bestial, and alien sexuality categories.

But then again, I'm not exactly what you'd call a 'proponent' of diversity... at least not for diversity's sake.

Why is this a problem? (1)

lovek323 (817403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12897991)

Why is this a problem? Why are we whinging about this difference? Even if women are being unfairly passed over (which I do not believe to be the case and if it were the case, would be a problem in need of addressing), what is being suggested here violates the very tenets of feminism (which, I can only imagine, is the motive of at least some). The fact that a comparison between the ratio of male to female developers and teh ratio of male to female consumers is being made indicates that people believe men and women have different things to offer and even more, that men cannot offer the same things as women. Feminism at its core is something I agree with and participate in. Feminism is defined by http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=feminism [reference.com] as 'Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.' Equality of the sexes cannot exist when society so firmly believes that men cannot offer what women can (or conversely, that women cannot offer what men can). I object to the viewpoint (whether consciously or subconsciously adopted) which has permeated our society that women are better than men, or at least that women are worth more and have more to our society than men (of course, a conscientious reader would ask me to justify this position, and I can, but it would take too long and not be worth it). Realistically, a twenty per-cent difference from developers to consumers is not something worth a fuss.

I Blame Culture (and Women!) (2, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898236)

Why do few women makes games? Because far fewer women play serious video games (Bejeweled doesn't count is serious, so put thus statistics away). I would bet that any woman with average skill can land herself a job making video games significantly faster then any man could, simply because she is a woman. The industry is already biased to trying to balance out the ratios. The problem is simply that the supply of woman who want to make games is so low to meet up with the demand.

As to the why of it, I think it is just a cultural stigma. Further, I think it is a self imposed cultural stigma. My girlfriend is the biggest fucking geek on the face of the planet. We watched DS9 from session 1 to session 7 in order together. She genuinely enjoyed it and often times was the one that was pushing me to pop another one in so that we could see how it ends. This is a woman who knows all of the characters by name and their entire back stories. Put her in front of her friends and you have to twist her arm off to get her to admit she has even watched it, much less that she enjoyed it and knows the name of every character and who they slept with. The same happens with video games. With video games it is even worse. Unless the game is cute and fluffy, she won't touch it. Yet if she thinks no one is looking though, she will wander off and play Vampire: Bloodline (which is a horribly violent RPG).

Guys have gotten over the entire geek stigma. Hell, these days being a geek for a guy is just down right cool. You can wear your math club T-shirt to a fancy club and no one will look down on you for it. Having your pockets bulging with gadgets and gizmos isn't going to make anyone think less of you. Women on the other hand have a long way to go, and my personal belief that what is holding them back isn't men. I don't think there are many guys out there who would be offended if their girl friend pressed them to play Grand Theft Auto or Halo with them.

"Honey, we desperately NEED a new computer to be able to play Half-Life 3."

"Honey... come play... when was the last time we spent some quality time we 0wn3d n00bs in World of Warcraft or went pwn1g by0tch3s in UT2004?"

Well, uh, gee, don't twist my arm.

The real issue is women dealing with other women. Women can just be fucking vicious to each other in ways that my tiny male brain just can't comprehend. If only someone could just explain to them that geek is sheik...

Re:I Blame Culture (and Women!) (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12912785)

Fortunately some girls are starting to figure this out. And they promptly get snatched up by the first geek who can get their hands on her.

And while I agree to a large degree that it IS the other girls who's peer pressure prevents them from getting in touch with their inner geek, a lot of them also don't want guys to know, because unless the girl is a total 100% geek girl who would have no interest in non-geeks, she still wants to be attractive to a wide variety of guys, and being a geek isn't usually the best way to do that.

Sims and woman game designers (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898894)

"I think simply because more women are involved in the designs and development, a different kind of contribution happens. Diversity ... is a good thing when making a mainstream game.'"

This is the same argument that set the course of women in politics back 20 years after Thatcher.
The sims online was one of the most boring ,tedious games i have ever had the misfortune of playing.
I love Sim-city and its sequels , but yeuch if women Designers produce games like the Sims then we need less of them.

In all truth though , Women are equally as skilled as men in most things(Though i doubt they make very good male strippers or professional sperm donors) , the reason there are not as many is for the simple fact that not as many women are interested in Games as men are , let alone the whole alpha geek realm of making them.

We would have a problem if women were discriminated against in the industry , but from the looks of it , it just appears that there are not as many applying for the positions

C'mon women! (1)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12898920)

We need you here. Think of the number of guys you'll get to meet!

The odds are good, but I admit many of the goods are odd.

well (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12899237)

Could it be that women are more sensible than men and realise that somewhere that forces you to work 80 hour weeks, have no weekends off, work to near impossible deadlines and thinks that "crunch time" is part of normal working life is not quite the kind of industry they'd like to go into?

Of course it could be that they're just not plainly interested - but then again, the games industry isn't exactly looking like the most appealing recruitment choice right now ...

Why the proportion? (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 9 years ago | (#12899310)

Just because 60% of the user base of Sims was female, why does it matter that only 40% of the developers were female? If the developers as a whole were providing content that matched their users expectations and desires, then why should it matter what their gender ratio is? These are the kinds of studies and reports that just make the gender gap even wider. Males and females (note the lack of use of the word 'girl' here, since I don't feel it belongs in this article at all) both program, they both play, but why do the gender proportions have to match up? Is it not physically possible for a male to contribute something useful to a game that is played by a female, and vice versa?

Meh... (2, Informative)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 9 years ago | (#12901431)

Is this really a problem? Some people on here think that we are 'keeping them down' and some think women 'just aren't hardcore gamers.' I don't agree with either.

My wife and I dated in college. As computer savy as she is, and let's be honest, she can USE a computer not build one or install one, she has really no interest. As a software engineer she always expected me to know what's wrong with windows (frankly, no one knows what's wrong with windows - just reinstall). She now plays WoW but doesn't really care about any other games but I guess I don't really either.

She majored in Interior Design/Decorating which had about a 95%+ female class. The few guys that were in there were gay (and when I say 'gay' I mean 'gay', there is no stereotyping here). In my CS department they were trying to reach out to get more women interested, but were they doing that in her department for men? No. They just accepted that it's just not something men are interested in doing as careers and moved on. Everyone can debate about whether or not it's societal or 'just the way it is' but the plain fact is when a department honestly tries for diversity and fails due to lack of interest then you just have to let it go.

I never repressed any minorities or women (women are NOT a minority) and I don't know anyone in my department that did. And when there were women in our classes they were treated exceptionally well by all of us CS nerds.

Go ahead, blame the industry (1)

yamla (136560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12901861)

I don't think it is at all fair to blame the industry. They present as an example the Sims Online development team. That team had 40% women, but women make up only about 20% of the potential candidates. In other words, the Sims Online team either found some way to attract twice as many female applicants as average or disproportionately favoured women during the interview. If we are going to blame them, we should blame them for not hiring an appropriate number of males.

That said, I accept that our industry has a significant problem attracting women into the field. In fact, we have a significant problem attracting anyone into the field at the moment, and we generally treat our employees like crap. But I fail to see why we should be blaming industry. If only twenty percent of the grads are women, isn't that either a societal problem or a problem with the education system?

Oh hell yeah... MORE FEMALES IN GAMES... (1)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#12904694)

Oh... er...sorry... is that *not* what we're talking about here?

They're not the ONLY one. (1)

Doctor Cat (676482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12910986)

attracted a non-traditional (ie female) audience in a way no other game has Actually, around 57% of Furcadia players are female. And our development team is about 50% female (imagine that). I need a PR agent to get us mentioned more when people do articles about this stuff.

We have found that having those 57% there that are female has been fairly effective at getting those 43% that are male to want to come and to stay around!

Not a Shining Star (1)

gazpacho (18802) | more than 9 years ago | (#12925609)

Er, wasn't Sims Online a flop? It's probably not the best example to back up the author's point.
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