Women have always played a part in games, but over recent years there has been a prolific shift in the spotlight with more and more women taking on bigger roles and having more sway over changes in the industry.
It could be argued that Gamergate spurred this concept on, back in 2014, after harassment against a single woman in the industry encouraged other female gamers and those involved in gaming to stand up against sexism – those who created Gamergate tried to make it about corruption in the industry but that didn’t stick. Since then more and more women have become involved with gaming, whether it’s live streaming on Twitch, publishing blog posts or cosplaying characters.
Eve Beauregard is a good example of one such woman. Starting out as a model and cosplayer she has since made a name for herself in the gaming industry, working closely with game developers and putting her stamp on the latest releases. Eve is one of many women landing roles within gaming through hard work and good marketing but there are others out there, as numerous YouTubers – from the likes of Hey Chrissa to Yogscast’s Hannah – also find their voice in the industry.
The split between general male and female gamers is pretty much 50/50 (48% of women claim to be gamers compared to 50% of men) indicating that the sexism we hear about in the industry isn’t deterring women from getting involved. Not only is gaming a great form of entertainment, but according to the guys at wink bingo it’s great for your health too, which is probably why so many people enjoy spending the evening with a controller in their hand now and don’t see it as something childish.
When it comes to actually working in the industry behind the scenes making games there are still very few women but it is expected that the amount of female game developers is set to boom in the next 10 years. Women are working in gaming now and organizations such as Women in Games Jobs have been set up to encourage more and more females who love games to get involved.
The female characters in games themselves have shifted roles. We’re seeing less and less female tropes and more confident, powerful female characters dominating the games we play. Women are also having more of an influence over the characters too, as earlier this year a gamer complained to Blizzard about a character’s victory pose in Overwatch.
The character Tracer would stand with her back to the screen with a strong focus on her bum, as she looked over her shoulder. After the complaint, Blizzard retracted this victory pose option and said it understood that such an element in a game could make people uncomfortable and misrepresented. This demonstrates that women have more of a voice and that their presence in the industry is now considered important – we’ve moved on since Mortal Kombat’s Jade and her tiny string costume.
The role of women in gaming is constantly shifting and it’s definitely moving towards a more positive light. As sexism is tackled and female gamers move into the industry we should see a greater influence from women in the future and enjoy a more balanced gaming environment.