How Women Are Changing the Video Game Industry’s Landscape
The stigma against video games was so prevalent that people looked down on whoever enjoyed playing them, especially parents toward their kids. However, times have changed, and gaming has evolved to the point where various competitions are being held with prices going up to several million dollars. Of course, video game development has also evolved, and more women are now working in the industry than before.
Women in the video game industry are still a minority, but their numbers are growing. In the past, women were often discouraged from working in the video game industry because of the perception that it was male-dominated. However, women have been making significant contributions to the video game industry for many years, and their numbers are slowly increasing. Few people know about this, so we'll discuss the details further in this article.
Male Dominance in the Video Game Industry
Many stereotypes surround the video game industry, and one of the most common is that it is male-dominated. While this is not entirely true, it's not completely false either. Video games are typically associated with nerd and geek culture, and while a significant number of women participate in this subculture, public perception and media still emphasizes the male dominated aspects.
Beyond that, the video game industry does have a bit of a male-dominated history. The first video game, Pong, was created by a man, and the first video game console, the Atari 2600, was also created by a man. The first popular video game character, Pac-Man, was also a man. In the early days of the video game industry, it was primarily men making video games for other men.
The Growing Number of Women in the Video Game Industry
The face of the video game industry is changing, however, as more and more women are becoming involved in making video games. In recent years, there have been several high-profile women in the video game industry, such as Amy Hennig, the creative director behind the popular Uncharted video game series, and Jade Raymond, the producer behind the famous Assassin's Creed video game series.
In the Japanese video game industry, Nintendo's Aya Kyogoku has done work on the Animal Crossing franchise, the Four Swords Adventures, the Twilight Princess entries in the Legend of Zelda franchise, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - the latest entry in the Smash franchise.
Of course, there are also female talents who voice video game characters. Prominent examples include:
Laura Bailey - The English voice of Chun Li in several entries of the Street Fighter franchise and Mary Jane Watson in Insomniac's Spider-Man (2018).
Ashly Burch - Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn (2017) and Viper in Valorant (2020).
Jennifer Hale - a prolific voice actress who has worked for various video game franchises, such as Mass Effect, the Metroid Prime trilogy, and Soulcalibur.
The Gamergate Controversy
In August 2014, a controversy known as GamerGate occurred. This movement was started in reaction to indie game developer Zoe Quinn releasing a game called Depression Quest. This game was created to raise awareness about mental illness. The game was not particularly popular but did receive some positive reviews. The controversy began when her ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni wrote a blog post accusing her of cheating on him with Nathan Grayson, a journalist for the gaming website Kotaku. Gjoni claimed that Grayson had given Quinn a positive review for Depression Quest to gain sexual favors, an accusation later proven false.
Despite this, the GamerGate movement became a way for male gamers to attack and harass Quinn and other women in the gaming industry. The movement was also used to attack what they saw as political correctness and "social justice warriors" ruining video games. The movement ultimately fizzled out, but not before causing much damage.
GamerGate is a pivotal moment in video game history because it presents how toxic and misogynistic the gaming community could be. It also showed that a lot of work needs to be done regarding diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry.
The Future of Women in Video Games
There is no doubt that women have made great strides in the video game industry. However, there is still a long way to go. The industry is still very male-dominated, and women are often treated as second-class citizens. Women are also underrepresented in leadership positions.
However, many organizations are working to promote diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry. These organizations are working to create a more inclusive environment for everyone. One such organization is Women in Games International (WIGI), which promotes gender diversity in the video game industry. They offer resources, networking opportunities, and scholarships for women in games, allowing them to jumpstart a career in the industry.
It's safe to say that the video game industry has come a long way in recent years in terms of promoting gender diversity and inclusion for women. However, there is still a long way to go because there's still a considerable amount of stigma in the industry. Hopefully, the time will come when women can participate in the industry on an equal footing with men.
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