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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

European Commission presents comprehensive approach for the modernisation of the World Trade Organisation

Bram in Colombia

The Commission sees ‘moderate recovery’ but prospects deteriorate

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

AIESEC Vlog

The Next Web 2014, the biggest European conference on Internet so far and the Absence of Brussels from Amsterdam

The challenges of mental health among the Syrian medical students

European tourism remains a strong growth factor

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

Google case: A turning point in competition rules enforcement

The Sichuan Province of China presents its cultural treasure to the EU

YOUTH RIGHTS AT RISK FROM RISE OF EXTREME-RIGHT AND POPULISTS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

The EU spent €158 billion on vague, open-ended rural projects

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Trump’s trade war splits the EU; Germany upset with Juncker’s “we can be stupid too”

#Travelgoals: why Instagram is key to understanding millennial tourism

More than just a phone: mobile’s impact on sustainable development

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Alexandre in Czech Republic

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

Prevention is key to ‘breaking the cycle of HIV transmission’, UN chief tells General Assembly

UN rights chief calls for international inquiry into Kashmir violations

Tax reforms accelerating with push to lower corporate tax rates

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

2014 budget: The EU may prove unable to agree on own resources

Who may profit from the rise of the extreme right in the West?

NATO summit, Brussels, 11-12/07/2018

Galileo and EGNOS programmes back in orbit powered with €70 billion

The G7 adopted dangerous views about Ukraine and Greece

Businesses succeed internationally

UN agency warns conditions around Yemen’s key port city of Hudaydah still ‘very bad’, as staff rush to deliver aid

Russia – US in Syria: Selling Afrin to Turkey but facing off ruthlessly for Ghouta

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – MENA in Dubai, in Association with The European Sting

India’s agro-food sector has made strong progress, but a new policy approach is needed to meet future challenges, says new report by OECD and ICRIER

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

Journey of my life

ECB: Reaching the limits of its mandate to revive the Eurozone economy

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

European Youth Forum warns of a Peter Pan generation as a result of financial crisis and response to it

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

Trump enrages the Europeans and isolates the US in G7

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

Torture is unacceptable and unjustified ‘at all times’ underscore top UN officials

EU Budget: InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe

Senior UN children’s advocate says they ‘should never be targeted by violence’

A new global financial crisis develops fast; who denies it?

The great challenge of the 21st century is learning to consume less. This is how we can do it

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