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Editorial Entertainment Games

More Girls Need Industry Jobs 65

Posted by Zonk
from the more-sisters-than-brothers dept.
The Guardian has an editorial up discussing the need for more women in the games industry. From the article: "The development team of the Sims Online game, for example, was 40% female, while 60% of its players are female. The contemporary life-simulation setting has attracted a non-traditional (ie female) audience in a way no other game has, says the Elspa report. Jessica Lewis, producer of The Sims Online, has said: 'I think simply because more women are involved in the designs and development, a different kind of contribution happens. Diversity ... is a good thing when making a mainstream game.'"
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More Girls Need Industry Jobs

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:23PM (#12896112) Journal
    In my science and math courses in college, there was only one woman for every twenty guys there. My guess is that a larger percentage of guys like video games than girls, and this translates into more guys in the industry.
    • ...Which is why they want more women - so that they might be better at getting females more interested in playing them. Of course, there will be debates as to what types of games are played by each sex, but the point is, it is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Hopefully, there will be more women involved, though; I should like to think that some day, the thought that anyone would even consider something like sex to be a barrier to such jobs would not occur.

      And at my school at least, even though they ha
      • The thing is, every tech industry wants more women.

        First of all, women are nicer to be around. Generally speaking, they tend to look and smell better.

        Secondly, if you don't have any women on your staff, it creates the appearance that you have something against hiring women.

        Thirdly, any woman who choses a career in what has been traditionally a relativley male-dominated industry is likely to be fairly passionate about the work.

        In spite of all those very good reasons for hiring more women, most places do
    • But just because there aren't women there, doesn't mean there is a good reason for them to be there (other than their own interest in the subject).

      In my Psychology classes, there about one man for every twenty girls. Sure, a few guys enjoy psychology, but it seems that women are much more into it. And that's ok. I don't see any reason to start a whole "hey, let's get more men into psychology (or history, or literature, etc)" campaign, just like any other class that is dominated by men.

      - shazow
      • Too right.

        I support 100% the aim of equal opportunities. But the key word is *opportunities*. If you seriously don't want to do something, then a selling campaign isn't going to persuade you. And we do have to face it that a majority of men are good at spatial-mathematical work and prefer that, and a majority of women are good at caring work and prefer that. Only on average though - there are large minorities who don't fit the stereotype, and for them the equality of opportunities has to allow them to
    • by koi88 (640490) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:51AM (#12898307)

      The development team of the Sims Online game, for example, was 40% female, while 60% of its players are female.

      I fail to see the logic in this statement.
      80% of all actors in the porn industry are female, while 90% of its users are male.
      Still I don't demand more males in the porn industry.
  • I understand there's an imbalance, but how is this a need?
    • I think maybe it should be restated "The Industry needs more girls".
      • Mars needs women? :)

        Seriously, unless they can point at incidents where females are being unfairly passed over I really don't get the point of these articles lately. It seems to be in fashion to pooh-pooh the gaming industry. 'There aren't enough games that appeal to females!' is another good one.

        The ratio being in favour of one side is rarely reason enough alone to tell everyone to stand on the other side of the boat.

        Show some concrete demographics. Make a case for actual money to be made beyond 'hey th
    • Simple logic :)

      If there are 50% female gamers, there should be 50% female developers.

      Similarly, about 50% of the gamers have an IQ of less then 100, therefore about 50% of developers should have an IQ of less then 100.
  • 40% to 60% sounds pretty exceptional to me considering that the industry is aimed towards males overall. Also, how does this compare to the ratio in other areas of business? Not counting the lower level positions, I would imagine that most businesses would be even worse off.
    • Actually there is a second reality to this. Maxis the great company it used to be was bought out by EA. In an effort to cut cost, as EA does best to keep the expensive lawyers count high, it hired alot of women in the Sims division.

      Women are great employees, but the unfortunate fact is... women traditionally are lower salaried than men. Which also allows EA to cut more HR expenses. Sims is the one game women don't mind working on.

      Basically don't think of EA as wanting to hire more women! Think of it
  • Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cybereal (621599) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:35PM (#12896203) Homepage
    I'm all for female influence in games, assuming said females are just as creatively genius as their male counterparts. However, I find it ludicrous to say that women like The SIMS because women helped make it. I know 3 very different girls who all like the game. My observations point to them enjoying the fact that the game is braindead easy, obvious, and akin to playing house as a little kid. Would you claim that those aspects of the game exist because women helped design it?

    Pffft.

    • Perhaps what is needed is simply a workforce diverse enough to include people who don't generally play games. Ironically, this has been a basic requirement for years. To make games, you must love them. Why else would you work for below industry standard wages, at above average hours? Hell, the hours itself are family unfriendly, and that alone induces a sort of imbalance on the workforce behind the design of games.
    • Re:Nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

      by philiptan (669463)
      What's "obvious" now that the game is actually on the market wasn't "obvious" when the game was being designed. The proportion of women on the design team of the original The Sims was also pretty high. If you compare The Sims to other games Maxis had at the time, The Sims is a considerably more accessible design. It could easily have been designed as a zoomed-in SimCity 3000, but it's not; it's a dramatically different game. You're not building a house, you're playing with creatures. I'm not claiming it's b
    • _The_ worst games ever produced are the ones where the designers obviously aren't in the target demographic. That's been a major problem in the industry for more than a decade: a bunch of lemmings decide to clone Game X because it sold well last year, but manage to miss every single element that made Game X a success. Why? Because they don't actually have a clue _what_ those players liked.

      E.g., speaking of The Sims, I know of at least 3 games which tried to include elements of it, just because it sold, yet
    • However, I find it ludicrous to say that women like The SIMS because women helped make it.

      Didn't you know? Will Wright is actually a woman in disguise.

      Rob
  • Sims Online seems like an extreme example... how many female FPS players are there (or RTS players, etc..) ... examine the different genres for female gaming enthusiasts...

    Saying "Oh yeah, take SIMS ONLINE for example" is like saying "Oh yeah, take BARBIE for example" when it comes to female playership. ... honestly, females in game development would be great and all, but you have to admit, except in cases like Sims Online or other games which cater more toward females... the client base for most games wil
    • From observation... I'd make estimates (conservative, IMHO) that there is a 4 male to 1 female ratio as far as video games go... ... and IN that ratio... the female gamers prefer games like Sims Online (or MMORPGs, I've seen a few women there as well) ... and not so much the FPS, RTS, etc.. genres... (and even in MMORPGs, as far as I have experienced, the players tended to be predominantely male) ...
      • You've left out puzzle games which brings that ratio from 4 to 1 to much closer to parity.
        • Do you honestly think there are enough females who play puzzle games (or more specifically... BUY them to play) ... to make a 4 to 1 ratio equal? That's madness, MADNESS I SAY!

          Face it, puzzle games are not big video game business. They do contribute, but not nearly as much revenue as other genres...

          Doesn't take an extra eye to see that one...
    • Re:Uhm (Score:3, Funny)

      by Babbster (107076)
      I would think using The Sims Online as an example would be a bad idea because it raises this question: Was the unusually high number of women involved in the development of The Sims Online a contributing factor to it becoming a large "bust"?
    • "Sims Online seems like an extreme example... how many female FPS players are there (or RTS players, etc..) ... examine the different genres for female gaming enthusiasts..."

      In Quake 2 they had over 30% females among the people who registered the game. I.e., about 1 in 3 players of that FPS. I think that's not quite the answer you already had in mind, right?

      "except in [...] games which cater more toward females... the client base for most games will be predominanetly men".

      In other words, if you make game
  • A few points... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:59PM (#12896362)

    1. More girls don't need industry jobs. The industry needs more "girls" to fill existing jobs.

    2. Girls? No, women. You don't see articles stating most of the industry's jobs are filled with boys.

    While I have nothing against the term "girls" (my wife occasionally goes out for "girls' night out"), the workplace is not a good place for that term. It's either a reflection of a condescending attitude or leads to one.

    The bottom line: avoid referring to female professionals as girls. Unfortunately, many females feel the term "woman" makes them sound old, so to be safe, use the term "chick".

    Ok, I had to throw in a joke, but I meant the rest.
    • I once refered to a girl/ woman in one of my college courses as a "chick" (well, she wasn't in my class- she was an anonymous person refered to in a book), and the teacher then lead a 30 minute disscussion on whether or not that was appropriate. :-)
    • Why aren't there any articles about how "we need more blacks in the videogame industry"? I'm sure that the number of black people in the industry is less than 50% of the total. Clearly, we need to rectify this injustice.

      Seriously.. I mean... come on. Enough with this whiney stories already. Am I supposed to believe that the only thing holding us back from better videogames is a lack of women developing them? Christ, most girls I know don't even PLAY videogames unless you count chatting on AIM and flashing
    • Chick is a synonym of bird. Bird is an old word that means baby, and was not a derogatory term for a female. If anything, Bird may seem more derogatory than chick in today's world.

      Bride, certainly not a derogatory term (or do feminists now think so... gee I like how feminists proclaim they represent all women... how bad is that? anyway..) and bride is actually the same word as bird.

      So there.

      Personally all the holes in my job take no offense to my address to them, they are too afraid of a good he-bitch-ma
  • The development team of the Sims Online game, for example, was 40% female, while 60% of its players are female.

    What do the two have to do with each other? Why should the percentage of females creating a product be equal the percentage of females using it? The vast majority of people in the construction industry are men, but half of the people who walk into buildings are women. Do buildings need be to built by women in order for women to relate to them?

    • I dont think it was meant as a production number....but more along the lines of design. But whatever, its all stereotypes....doom is for boys, barbie is for girls...all poop.
  • Industry Jobs need More Girls.
  • Industry bias? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Forkenhoppen (16574) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:49PM (#12896688)
    So my question is, why is 40% the largest number of women to work on a game in history? And why is that attributed to The Sims Online? Didn't most of that team end up on Sims 2 afterwards?

    Perhaps the lesson we should learn is that most women are smart enough not to get into an industry known for its long crunch times and poor working conditions. Or at the very least, after putting in tons of effort and finally pushing out a lukewarm title, which seems to be the average experience for people in this industry, they were smart enough to look for a job elsewhere?

    Or is this an industry-wide problem that needs to be fixed? Is the industry's reliance on long crunch times and inflexibility when it comes to letting people spend time with their kids a built-in bias against women? Should people be taking industry members to court for discrimination?

    (I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, so if I'm not talking sense, someone please enlighten me. It's hard to be PC around this topic.)
    • TSO was probably mentioned because it's a lot easier to get demographics on the player base for TSO than Sims 2. (That is, Maxis probably knows how many TSO players are/were women, but not necessarily how many Sims 2 players are.)

      As for why women don't get into games programming, I personally think the problem isn't specifically with the setup in games programming, computer science, or the sciences in general. Rather, there are societal differences from early childhood between boys and girls that pressur
  • I [icims.com] hear [icims.com] Activision [icims.com] is [icims.com] hiring [icims.com]....

    Of course, I applied to them [icims.com] for two years, and they [icims.com] never called [icims.com] me until the day I started [icims.com] the job I got cause they wouldn't hire me. What the hell [icims.com]...

  • We computer geeks like to think that we are enlightened, that there is no systematic bias against women in computer science. We are wrong. What's worse is that we cannot admit that we are wrong. Suddenly, we become unscientific in our analysis of the situation, using in our personal anecdotal evidence to serve as proof against the claim. We think "I never did anything to prevent a women from pursuing a career in computer science." My brothers, we are wrong. Here is a summary of the evidence for this claim:

  • I guess 40% is not diverse enough. Is 45% more diverse than 40%? Does higher percentage = more diverse? Is 60% more diverse than 50%? Is 100% girls the most diverse? I guess that wouldn't make sense. So, maybe 50% = most diverse percentage? WTF am I talking about? Maybe diversity has nothing to do with this.
    • I'd say 45% would be perfect for the best diversity... 45% men, 45% women, 10% other where other constitutes cross-gender, no-gender, homosexual, self-sexual, bestial, and alien sexuality categories.

      But then again, I'm not exactly what you'd call a 'proponent' of diversity... at least not for diversity's sake.
  • Why is this a problem? Why are we whinging about this difference? Even if women are being unfairly passed over (which I do not believe to be the case and if it were the case, would be a problem in need of addressing), what is being suggested here violates the very tenets of feminism (which, I can only imagine, is the motive of at least some). The fact that a comparison between the ratio of male to female developers and teh ratio of male to female consumers is being made indicates that people believe men an
  • by Shihar (153932) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:26AM (#12898236)
    Why do few women makes games? Because far fewer women play serious video games (Bejeweled doesn't count is serious, so put thus statistics away). I would bet that any woman with average skill can land herself a job making video games significantly faster then any man could, simply because she is a woman. The industry is already biased to trying to balance out the ratios. The problem is simply that the supply of woman who want to make games is so low to meet up with the demand.

    As to the why of it, I think it is just a cultural stigma. Further, I think it is a self imposed cultural stigma. My girlfriend is the biggest fucking geek on the face of the planet. We watched DS9 from session 1 to session 7 in order together. She genuinely enjoyed it and often times was the one that was pushing me to pop another one in so that we could see how it ends. This is a woman who knows all of the characters by name and their entire back stories. Put her in front of her friends and you have to twist her arm off to get her to admit she has even watched it, much less that she enjoyed it and knows the name of every character and who they slept with. The same happens with video games. With video games it is even worse. Unless the game is cute and fluffy, she won't touch it. Yet if she thinks no one is looking though, she will wander off and play Vampire: Bloodline (which is a horribly violent RPG).

    Guys have gotten over the entire geek stigma. Hell, these days being a geek for a guy is just down right cool. You can wear your math club T-shirt to a fancy club and no one will look down on you for it. Having your pockets bulging with gadgets and gizmos isn't going to make anyone think less of you. Women on the other hand have a long way to go, and my personal belief that what is holding them back isn't men. I don't think there are many guys out there who would be offended if their girl friend pressed them to play Grand Theft Auto or Halo with them.

    "Honey, we desperately NEED a new computer to be able to play Half-Life 3."

    "Honey... come play... when was the last time we spent some quality time we 0wn3d n00bs in World of Warcraft or went pwn1g by0tch3s in UT2004?"

    Well, uh, gee, don't twist my arm.

    The real issue is women dealing with other women. Women can just be fucking vicious to each other in ways that my tiny male brain just can't comprehend. If only someone could just explain to them that geek is sheik...
    • Fortunately some girls are starting to figure this out. And they promptly get snatched up by the first geek who can get their hands on her.

      And while I agree to a large degree that it IS the other girls who's peer pressure prevents them from getting in touch with their inner geek, a lot of them also don't want guys to know, because unless the girl is a total 100% geek girl who would have no interest in non-geeks, she still wants to be attractive to a wide variety of guys, and being a geek isn't usually the

  • "I think simply because more women are involved in the designs and development, a different kind of contribution happens. Diversity ... is a good thing when making a mainstream game.'"

    This is the same argument that set the course of women in politics back 20 years after Thatcher.
    The sims online was one of the most boring ,tedious games i have ever had the misfortune of playing.
    I love Sim-city and its sequels , but yeuch if women Designers produce games like the Sims then we need less of them.

    In all truth
  • We need you here. Think of the number of guys you'll get to meet!

    The odds are good, but I admit many of the goods are odd.
  • Could it be that women are more sensible than men and realise that somewhere that forces you to work 80 hour weeks, have no weekends off, work to near impossible deadlines and thinks that "crunch time" is part of normal working life is not quite the kind of industry they'd like to go into?

    Of course it could be that they're just not plainly interested - but then again, the games industry isn't exactly looking like the most appealing recruitment choice right now ...

  • Just because 60% of the user base of Sims was female, why does it matter that only 40% of the developers were female? If the developers as a whole were providing content that matched their users expectations and desires, then why should it matter what their gender ratio is? These are the kinds of studies and reports that just make the gender gap even wider. Males and females (note the lack of use of the word 'girl' here, since I don't feel it belongs in this article at all) both program, they both play, but
  • Meh... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Krater76 (810350)
    Is this really a problem? Some people on here think that we are 'keeping them down' and some think women 'just aren't hardcore gamers.' I don't agree with either.

    My wife and I dated in college. As computer savy as she is, and let's be honest, she can USE a computer not build one or install one, she has really no interest. As a software engineer she always expected me to know what's wrong with windows (frankly, no one knows what's wrong with windows - just reinstall). She now plays WoW but doesn't rea
  • I don't think it is at all fair to blame the industry. They present as an example the Sims Online development team. That team had 40% women, but women make up only about 20% of the potential candidates. In other words, the Sims Online team either found some way to attract twice as many female applicants as average or disproportionately favoured women during the interview. If we are going to blame them, we should blame them for not hiring an appropriate number of males.

    That said, I accept that our indus
  • Oh... er...sorry... is that *not* what we're talking about here?

  • attracted a non-traditional (ie female) audience in a way no other game has Actually, around 57% of Furcadia players are female. And our development team is about 50% female (imagine that). I need a PR agent to get us mentioned more when people do articles about this stuff.

    We have found that having those 57% there that are female has been fairly effective at getting those 43% that are male to want to come and to stay around!

  • Er, wasn't Sims Online a flop? It's probably not the best example to back up the author's point.

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