To: The Game Industry|
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: The Women Are Coming! The Women Are Coming!!
Date: Oct 2005
Having just returned from the Women in Games International conference in Seattle (9/10/05), I can report that we don't need any more conference topics on "What do women really want?". Instead of the industry asking -- women will be doing. WGIA's mission is to get more women into the job pipeline by promoting the inclusion and advancement of women in the global games industry.
The conference title was "Advancing Your Career in Game Development: The Women's Perspective" and that is exactly what they covered. Speakers advised on what skills were needed, gave tips on how to apply for the first job and how to survive the interview, and talked about the decisions that have to be made in the job/personal life situation. There were over 250 attendees out of about 450 who signed up for this free conference.
The time is right for some change in direction. Even Doug Lowenstein, in his state of the industry address at the 2005 E3 Expo spoke to this. "We need a cultural shift so that young girls and women feel that playing games is not a testosterone monopolized hobby reserved for their boyfriends and husbands." He went on to say, "We also need more games that are socially and politically relevant”.
A change is coming, and it's going to happen because more women will be getting into the game business. Social responsibility will be on the table at the concept level, so that games that pander to our worst behavior, like 187 Ride or Die, Blood Rayne and yes, GTA in spite of how enthralling it is, will be evaluated for their social cost. Women will bring their fantasies, ideas and sensibilities into creating new genres of games. They will recognize the appeal of romance to girls -- something that shojo manga has already capitalized on by securing the girl market. There will be more women protagonists -- dressed for battle instead of for Las Vegas, more women in sports -- even more games for children.
It is important to give credit to the people who made this program happen. The sponsors were Microsoft Game Studios, BusinessWire, DigiPen, IGDA, WomenGamers.com and Mary-Margaret.com.
The speakers provided a broad picture of the industry and included, artists, project managers, quality assurance managers, producers, instructors, game designers CEOs and vice presidents. Ellen Beeman, Laura Fryer, Shannon Loftis, and Kiki Wolfkill, all from Microsoft, Amy Bendotti (Monolith Productions), Maureen Farley (Real Networks), Gano Haine (LimeLife), Dana Hanna (freelance producer), Sheri Hargus (Her Interactive), Suzanne Kaufman (Sucker Punch), Rick Lambright and Sheri Graner Ray (Sony Online Entertainment), Stuart Moulder (Wild Tangent), Sandra Rumsey (Mobliss), and Jen Sward (DigiPen) all came to share their experience and give encouragement.
Another conference is planned for San Francisco. Check out http://www.womeningamesinternational.org/ for more information.