Monday, May 30, 2016

The Changing Demographics of the Game Industry

From the Houston Chronicle:

... The male-dominated video game industry is changing as more women develop games, play games and take jobs reviewing games. While the ongoing cyber harassment of female gamers known as "Gamergate" indicates a reluctance by some to accept the growing number of women in the industry, mainstream institutions are welcoming all to the console.

[Philadelphia's Moore College of Art & Design. animation and gaming arts program] will see its first class of game developers graduate next year. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created its Game Lab in 2012. New York University's Tisch School began offering a video game design degree last year.

"There's going to be a huge boom of women entering the industry in the next 10 years," said Stephen Wood, Moore's gaming arts professor, who took over the fledging program when he joined the faculty in 2014. "In the '80s and '90s, video games were seen as things boys do. But in the '90s and early 2000s, girls said, 'We're going to play, too.' Now those girls are going to college and studying video games. We're helping close that gender gap and being part of the solution."

"Much dialogue has occurred in the past couple of years around the topic, (with) a strong majority recognizing that greater diversity on development teams . creates a stronger foundation for the team to create games that may maximize their global appeal," said Kate Edwards, executive director of the association. ...

The video game industry, non-union though it may be, tracks the employment ratios of the animation business quite closely. As the employment of women in video games has gone from 11% (2009) to 21% (2016), so have women in animation risen to almost exactly the same percentage:

A week ago, we posted the most recent employment percentages of women working in the cartoon business. The figures went like this:

Out of a total of 3190 artists, writers, and technicians employed under a TAG contract, 658 are female, while 2,532 are male. This breaks down to

20.63% -- female employment

79.37% -- male employment

Eight days later, the numbers haven't changed much (except that women are 20.72% of the total now, with two more women employed and a half dozen men laid off.) ...

There's a reason for this, of course. Women make up a greater proportion of student positions at art schools and university animation programs across the country. Inside Cal Arts, women now represent more than half of the animation department's student body. Two decades ago, women were a small minority.

The times, they do change.


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