The Gaming Industry Needs to Stop Ignoring Women

More women are playing video games than ever, and that number is only expected to grow.

The Gaming Industry Needs to Stop Ignoring Women
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Women gamers are overlooked, and this is a big problem. Most video game experiences are catered to men. From scantily-clad video game characters to the high-level executives who own and run the gaming companies, historically women have been left out of the conversation.
This is not only wrong but absolutely nonsensical. More women are playing video games than ever, and that number is only expected to grow.
In a study by myself and Arise that surveyed 1,000 people across the US and Canada, 77.8% of women reported that they play video games. In fact, 25% of women play video games for six to ten hours a week. Can you imagine what these numbers would look like if women were better represented and their needs as a customer were understood?
The problem doesn’t stop at lack of representation though. A survey by Fandom states that 76% of female gamers hide their identities to avoid sexual harassment or discrimination while playing. Why are we not treating our female gamers better, a demographic that accounts for over 45% of the gaming population as a whole?
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Here are some of the current problems the industry faces. Making changes here will dramatically impact the experience of everyone for the better, and I believe will also increase profits significantly.
Women are not in high-level positions in the gaming industry
If women are not in spaces where decisions are made, how can they be represented in a way that is thoughtful and inclusive? Gaming companies need to have women in the decision making process, when it comes to game design, execution, sales, marketing and the overall narrative being created.
Game characters are not designed with women in mind
Another reason why companies are failing to include women in the industry is because they are not being kept in mind during the design process. This may be unintentional, but it does impact the game and how women feel playing the game. Women characters are often hyper-sexualized, which has no doubt led to the overall harassment women gamers feel as a whole. How can they be respected when they are being portrayed mainly as an object of desire? This can isolate women gamers and create an environment that is unhealthy.
Chat rooms are failing to monitor bullying and harassment
Video game chat rooms can quickly become a negative environment, and not just for women. Bullying and harassment are very real problems in the gaming industry, but especially when a woman's voice is detected. Gaming companies need to prioritize making chat rooms a positive, harassment-free place for everyone.
Gaming companies have come a long way at being more inclusive, however, there’s still a long way to go. It is in gaming companies’ best interest to prioritize making their games interesting and fun for everyone, including women, who are making up 41.5% of video gamers in the United States and over 45% globally.
Let’s start making gaming the fun interactive experience it was meant to be, not a place of bullying and harassment. The more feminine voices we include in these conversations, the better. What would you like to see be done differently? What about the gaming experience frustrates you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Written by

Jonathan Shroyer
Jonathan Shroyer

Chief CX Officer at Arise Gaming