People love games. When we were little we grew up with all the rad games on the Play Station, then the Play Station 2, then 3, then 4. And the Xbox, Wii, Nintendo, PC games, sooooo many games. And of course, you can expect someone to find a flaw in a great thing (someone sees a flaw in everything). And of course it matters.
Let’s look at gender stereotypes in games and gaming. Many depict gaming as a stereotypical male hobby, where a girl that publicly states she likes gaming to get attention “from the boiz”and are considered a minority in gaming. Despite this, it turns out half of gamers are female (Jayanth, 2014) Looking at games in the real world, such as soccer, soccer is a sport made up of 50% male and female and is the most popular female sport in the U.S. (Mev-Lam, 2015)
Getting on with the 21st century we would expect to see more progressive gaming development. One example is FIFA’s step towards creating a balance of genders by introducing a FIFA female national team (Lev-Ram, 2015) And as the article asks, why did this take so long? Ultimately, no one had released nearly more females are playing than males and that it didn’t make sense anymore to not have a female team.
Whilst we think this is a step forward, there is still the step waiting to be taken of equal pay of women in sports. Women are only paid about 25% of what men are paid on professional sports (Women’s Sport Foundation, 2016)
Back to video games, there is the big issue: gamergate. Whilst there is a step forward in women’s appearance in the FIFA games, there is still small tip-toe steps backwards if you check the comments of the Womens FIFA Trailer (EA Sports FIFA, 2015). There are people commenting on factors comparing unrelated to this gender introduction, there are definitely the backwards commenters having their say. Yes, you can find the classic “get back in the kitchen” comments.
On the topic of gamergate, who you would want to hear feedback from is obviously (but maybe not obvious?) is the game publishers! Fortune attempts to interview several game publishers for comments on gamergate, and guess how many of the 7 game publishers they contacts agreed to comment? Just one. Spokewoman for Ubisoft, the publisher of games including Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs commented:
“We echo the recent comment made by the ESA: Harassment, bullying and threats are wrong and have to stop. There should be no place in the video game community for personal attacks of any kind.” (Mangalindan, 2014)
Although it may make the other game publishers appear “in the wrong” in PR terms for not commenting, they are definitely not alone on this. A number of industrial analysts that Fortune contacted also refused comment. One commented with anonymity,
“Nobody who takes a position gains anything from doing so,” said one analyst, who demanded anonymity. “It’s a story about a lot of people (mostly men) behaving badly, and I prefer not to contribute to the never-ending drama.” (Mangalindan, 2014)
This amongst many many more games and situations and such, there are several steps forward and backward in gaming, but let’s hope we are getting more steps forward.
EA Sports FIFA 2015, “FIFA 16 Trailer- Women’s National Teams are IN THE GAME“, YouTube, accessed 4-5-16, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siVeBCaYeko
Jayanth, M 2014, “52% of gamers are women- but the industry doesn’t know it “, Guardian, accessed 4-5-16, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/52-percent-people-playing-games-women-industry-doesnt-know
Mangalindan, JP 2014, “Video game publishers mostly silent on gamergate” Fortune, accessed 4-5-16, http://fortune.com/2014/10/25/video-game-publishers-mostly-silent-on-gamergate/
Mev-Lam, M 2015, “EA’s CEO talks about finally adding women’s team to FIFA video game “, Fortune, accessed 4-5-16, http://fortune.com/2015/07/08/womens-soccer-fifa-video-game/
Women’s Sport Foundation 2016, “Pay Inequality in Athletics”, accessed 4-5-16, https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/en/home/research/articles-and-reports/equity-issues/pay-inequity