Women in video games: ‘Accept it, or don’t buy the game’

Video Games Women 2018

Two young men and two young women playing video games together. ( Concordia University Texas, 2017)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rosamond Hutt, Formative Content

Battlefield V hasn’t been released yet, but the trailer for the hotly anticipated World War II first-person shooter game stirred up anger recently among a minority of fans, who vented online using the hashtag #NotMyBattlefield.

What caused the backlash? The game’s reveal trailer featured a woman fighting on the frontline, which some fans complained sacrificed authenticity for political correctness (though women did have combat roles in World War II).

Despite the furore, the game’s publisher Electronic Arts (EA) and developer DICE stood by their decision to include female characters.

“Today gaming is gender-diverse, like it hasn’t been before,” EA’s chief creative officer, Patrick Soderlund said, adding that fans who are unhappy about this have “two choices: either accept it, or don’t buy the game”.

Responding to disgruntled Battlefield fans, Oskar Gabrielson, DICE’s vice president and general manager, tweeted: “First, let me be clear about one thing. Player choice and female playable characters are here to stay.”

No longer a man’s world

This is just the latest challenge to the perception that video games, particularly those in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre like Call of Duty, Halo and Battlefield, are only for boys and men.

In fact, far from being a rarity in a male-dominated realm, female players make up nearly half of the gaming audience.

According to the Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) 2018 survey, 45% of US gamers are women. And contrary to what many might think, ESA’s research shows that adult women represent a much larger share (31%) of the US game-playing audience than teenage boys (17%).

Last year, research from Barclays predicted that women will account for almost a third of the projected £3.5 billion ($4.6 billion) annual spend in the UK on video games.

Diversity problem

However, despite their numbers, women gamers remain underrepresented, not just in terms of the female characters they can play but behind the scenes in game development – a trend that is also pervasive in the broader tech industry.

A handful of companies and organizations have created forums and networks to tackle the problem, including Facebook and Global Gaming Women.

In February, Facebook launched its Women in Gaming Initiative, which aims to boost diversity and encourage more women into leadership positions in the field.

In a video to promote the initiative, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says: “Gaming doesn’t fully reflect the audiences it serves in the stories it tells. Women make up only 23% of the gaming workforce and women of colour are even less represented.”

Online harassment lingers

Women are increasingly becoming part of online gaming communities where gamers watch each other play in real time, sometimes attracting large audiences.

Sexual harassment is commonplace in these online communities, and while women can shrug off much of the name-calling and abuse hurled at them, they find sexual harassment harder to ignore, according to research from the Ohio State University.

A survey of 293 women who played video games online found that even after the game was over, the women said they continued to think about the sexist comments, rape jokes and threats.

“Most women players understand trash talking and having their playing skill insulted, even if they don’t like it,” said Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and professor of communication at the Ohio State University.

“But what disturbs them is being targeted simply for being a woman. They don’t easily forget those comments and continue to think about them when they’re done playing.”

Now, a team of “elite female gamers”, who called themselves the Bully Hunters, are offering to help victims of sexual harassment in the multiplayer video game CS:GO by beating offenders “through the sheer force of their unmatched skill”.

But although women have become increasingly visible – and successful – in video gaming, levelling the playing field in such a masculine domain is likely to require more than just impressive playing skills.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Adjust UN force in Abyei to current realities, peacekeeping chief urges Security Council

Commission launches debate on a gradual transition to more efficient and democratic decision-making in EU tax policy

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Deutsche Bank slammed by the US-based trio of IMF, Fed and Moody’s

‘Score a goal’ for humanity, says Mohammed, celebrating winning link between sport and development

PM May fosters chauvinism, declares trade war on Europe

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, who gets it and who pays the bill?

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

‘Everyone must be on board’ for peace in Central African Republic: UN’s Lacroix

‘Health is a right, not a privilege’ says WHO chief on World Health Day

In Marrakech, UN chief urges world leaders to ‘breathe life’ into historic global migration pact

Is your business model fit for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

5 leadership lessons I learned from doing my own ‘undercover boss’

European Business Summit 2014: The role of youth entrepreneurship education in EU’s Strategy for Competitiveness

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

On Youth Education: “Just a normal day in the life of a medical student”

EU Parliament: A catastrophic crisis management by European leaders

The deforestation risks lurking in the banking sector

EU and India re-open talks over strategic partnership while prepare for a Free Trade Agreement

EU Visa Policy: Commission welcomes agreement to strengthen EU visa rules

The race for Driverless vehicles: where is the industry heading?

Trump’s trade wars: Aiming at long term gains for America

EU Emissions Trading System does not hurt firms’ profitability

What happens when the Eurogroup decides to help Greece

UN affirms ‘historic’ global compact to support world’s refugees

‘No steps taken’ so far to end Israel’s illegal settlement activity on Palestinian land – UN envoy

Can the US-Iran rapprochement change the world?

Office workers in these economies clock up the most extra hours

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

3 lessons from India in creating equal access to vaccines

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

The DNA of the future retail CEO

General Assembly officially adopts roadmap for migrants to improve safety, ease suffering

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

5 charts that explain big challenges facing Italy’s new government

Spending on health increase faster than rest of global economy, UN health agency says

Greece: The new government of Alexis Tsipras shows its colors

MEPs to vote on overhaul of road transport rules in July

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

Commission and ECB prepare new financial mega-tool in support of SMEs

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

A Sting Exclusive: “Sustainable development goals: what role for business?” Commissioner Mimica asks live from European Business Summit 2015

MWC 2016 LIVE: BlackBerry acquires Encription, talks Microsoft and health

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: UNESCO ready to help after Notre Dame fire, and updates on Libya, Nicaragua, and the Cyclone Idai response

Congolese expelled from Angola returning to ‘desperate situation’: UN refugee agency

Better housing means better health and well-being, stress new WHO guidelines

Planet’s Health is Our Health and the Reverse is True

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

EU sets ambitious targets for the Warsaw climate conference

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Виктор Твердынин says:

    Battlefield scandal about historical accuracy in historical setting. No one was unhappy about female charachter in multiplayer games with sci-fi or post apocalipsis setting. It talk only about WW2. And any one who do not undestend it idiot or lier. And I don’t know what worst.

  2. Bullyhunters? You mean the ones that proven to be a scam? The ones that everyone cut any relationship with them after the sad espectacle they gave? Check your sources for god sake. (as easy as google bullyhunters scandal)

    Btw, There have been female characters for years with no problem for anyone, in the same way that there have been players. But hey, you can continue with the same chant. This is what happens when “journalists” start talking about something they neither understand nor like.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s