Lionhead Dev: Half of Developers Will Be Women in 10 Years

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Lionhead Dev: Half of Developers Will Be Women in 10 Years

Lionhead creative director Gary Carr thinks that gender needs to be represented equally in game development.

The game industry isn't the best example when it comes to gender equality. For instance, despite the fact that 45 percent of gamers are women, only four percent of the programmers actually making the games can say the same. When you get down to it, it's a pretty abysmal picture, but also one that some believe destined to change.

Gary Carr, creative director for Lionhead Studios, for instance, foresees the industry ten years from now being a balanced place when it comes to gender. He bases this prediction on his own experience with recent staffing. "We're noticing now that we're at last getting the diversity we want when you're coming up with a creative team," he said. This growing diversity is something that he hopes will help the industry grow to be more balanced. "I don't just want guys making games for guys. I want guys and girls making games for guys and girls. You have to reflect that in your workforce, and it's starting to happen. I think that five to ten years from now, it'll be pretty much 50-50."

Even if the game industry is experiencing a growing presence of women among developers, there's still an arguably long way to go. That said, Carr thinks recent strides toward accessibility in gaming have helped pave the way for a more diverse crowd. "Girls are drawn to the market perhaps more than in our day, where it was either a console or the Amiga or something like that, a PC." Whether or not that will be enough to close the gender gap in just ten years however, is something we'll have to wait and see.

Source: OXM

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Is this really all that surprising? More girls/women playing games means more girls/women wanting to work on them. It's more or less inevitable, especially now that gaming is also slowly losing it's stigma of being something only anti-social teenagers do.

It's not something that will happen overnight, but nobody should be surprised that it's going to happen at some point or another.

And then we'll see whether the industry changes for the better or not. My bet is that there'll be more workers who are far more concerned with keeping their job, than "fighting" for gender supremacy. Sorry, I meant equality ;)

I don't think half is anything we'll see in ten years, but twenty sounds plausible.
As long as that's the natural development and not quotas.

Legion:
Is this really all that surprising? More girls/women playing games means more girls/women wanting to work on them. It's more or less inevitable, especially now that gaming is also slowly losing it's stigma of being something only anti-social teenagers do.

It's not something that will happen overnight, but nobody should be surprised that it's going to happen at some point or another.

Agreed, its good to see the social stigma falling away and more women entering the industry. I just hope they don't start forcing it, hire people based on their skills and what they offer regardless of gender etc.

Smilomaniac:

I don't think half is anything we'll see in ten years, but twenty sounds plausible.
As long as that's the natural development and not quotas.

yep that works for me, as long as they're talented game makers and not there to prove how diverse a company is. if a company is truely diverse, it probably wouldn't need to boast how many of Group X it has

Well gender equality is good but I'd hope far more for all the people in the industry to be able to do a good job instead of demographic filling, which is how I feel Gary Carr is acting with this news. But then I'm cynical and honestly don't care what sex/race/religion a person is as long as they can do the job.

45% of gamers are women is a complete misnomer when considering what a "gamer" is.

Is gaming a "hobby" or is it an "occasional act of recreation"?

My 64 year old mother plays bejeweled on occasion to pass the time between adds on her shows. So she plays maybe 30 minutes a week. Is she a "gamer"?

How many directors are female? How many music producers are female?

I'm not saying that the idea of a potential 50-50 split in the profession is a good thing, but I defiantly can not see it happening within 10 years... or even 30.

10 years is a wee bit optimistic imo.There simply isn't the numbers doing the necessary courses atm.My brother did a software development course at college and of the 100 or so in his class only 3 were female.Anyone I've ever spoken to who has done a tech based course has always said that's it's been 90%+ males.While I have no doubt this will change as more women pursue tech based degrees it's probably going to take a bit longer than 10 years before we see a 50-50 split

StewShearer:
despite the fact that 45 percent of gamers are women, only four percent of the programmers actually making the games can say the same.

Comparing the gender split of all gamers (as oversimplified as it may be) to a small subsection of the industry is hardly fair. I would say it's downright manipulative.
Observe
In spite of the fact that 55 percent of gamers are men, less than 0.1% of booth babes are male.

OT: Being a bit optimistic with the time scales there aren't we Mr. Carr? 10 years?
If he's right then there are going to be a lot of industries with a lot to answer for.

*sigh* Yet another failure to 'get it' ...

No, no no... what is not needed is a bloody balance of genders, this implies hiring genders to fill in spots and is offensive to all involved as it implies that gender and not skill were the reasons for being posted in that spot.
Same as with racial placements where previously discriminated races are shoehorned into teams to fill up the proper acceptable quota of races.

What is truly needed is a fair and equal judgement of skills and abilities without pre-conditions based on genders... it doesn't make a difference if you have 8 men and 2 women on your team as long as each of those team members earned their place through skills and abilities and not gender, it could be 8 women and 2 men as long as gender wasn't used as a condition.

Why is this so hard to grasp ?

10 years is highly optimistic. Hollywood is almost 100 years old and the number of acclaimed female directors is still hovering around...dunno, 1%? 0.1%? I actually don't know any. But that hasn't stopped plenty of movies with strong female leads/side characters.

Not sure what's this new obsession of wanting more gender diversity in the workplace purely for it's own sake, many industries are doing just fine while being utterly dominated by a single gender. It's a matter of personal interest and career preference (or lack of) which is ALLOWED to differ between genders, it's not a rights/equality issue.

Software engineering/computing has been male-dominated since it's very beginning, and while we are seeing a lot more women getting into it than ever before, there is still a long time to go (I would put it in the region of 50+ years) before we see anywhere near 50/50 ratios. More importantly, fussing over said ratios is just stupid.

StewShearer:
The game industry isn't the best example when it comes to gender equality.

At this point does "gender equality" refer to a matter of equal rights/discrimination, or an attempt to ring alarm bells about different genders choosing to do different shit?

StewShearer:
The game industry isn't the best example when it comes to gender equality. For instance, despite the fact that 45 percent of gamers are women,

I thought the gaming community had come to an agreement that we would stop bringing up that stupid blanket ESA statistic that is of no use to anyone. That report went out it's way to avoid specifying what constitutes a "gamer" (baby with cellphone? 10 year WoW addict?) and avoid breaking that statistic down into demographics/categories/genres for some extremely obvious reasons. You know, important details that could be of some actual use to developers/publishers (except that they already have those statistics and ESA is irrelevant :P).

Does it really matter what percentage of programmers are women?

Don't programmers have next to no creative input? Needing a 50% gender split for designers, writers, artists and the like I can understand, but I don't really see what difference it'd make to have more female programmers.

Gender does not need to represented equally in any industry. What any industry needs is competent workers, regardless of gender. No company should be hiring based on qualities such as gender to fulfill a quota when they can hire people who know what they're doing (not to say there aren't women who wouldn't know what they're doing, but competence is more important than public image).

And besides, why would anyone want to work in the video game industry, man or woman? I've seen plenty of former game industry workers saying it's just not worth trying to get into.

image

I've said this before: On my college's computing course, how many people are girls? Not a single one! And that's out of about 60 people.

On the I.T. course the representation seems a bit fairer. It's probably about 5-10%.

I'm afraid that there are some subjects which just interest one gender more than the other, and things like programming are one of them.

Also, I'm sure that the players of games like Fable are not 45% women, so that statistic is completely useless in this situation.

StewShearer:

The game industry isn't the best example when it comes to gender equality. For instance, despite the fact that 45 percent of gamers are women, only four percent of the programmers actually making the games can say the same. When you get down to it, it's a pretty abysmal picture, but also one that some believe destined to change.

Well duh. The majority of engineers are still male, and compsci peeps and programmers are basically engineers.

How's the composition going in the creative team? The writers and artists and so on?

Although 45% of gamers are female, what games are they actually playing?

Are they young girls on facebook games? Are they housewives on bejeweled?

Are they students playing Civ?

Are these even the kind of games where having women on staff will make any difference to the game?

Stats like this are at best uninformative, and at worst misleadingly simplistic.

Good. And men should want this change as well because it might, emphasis on might, change the industry for the better as far as working conditions are concerned. I'm sure a lot of just out of college "men-folk" put up with shitty overtime hours and unrealistic deadlines just for the chance to work at their low-level programming job at some monolith that has no qualms about treating you like slave labor but most women I know including myself won't put up with that shit.

Tongue in cheek post aside, the reason why there aren't more women programmers in IT (or the games industry) is NOT because women lack the skills or the interest. I know plenty of women who can program and are pretty vested in geek culture, I work with a few, but we are not going to waste our time in an industry with a lower quality of life and little advancement potential when we can get paid and treated better going into other fields. Simple as that. Why would I work for EA for low pay and crap hours when I can work for a bio-tech company (which is my field) or go into business or non-profit work and make more money with more flexible hours?

So in other words: We will be enforcing sexism by making sure that there's a 50:50 ratio whether they want to do or not? We call that totalitarianism.

While I think this is just another thing the house of unfulfilled ambitions built is wrong about (a 50/50 split doesn't exist in... any industry), there are a lot more women bosses in the tech industries these days. Hopefully this will filter down more in the years to come as little girls hear about the lady project managers making games.

Side note: you do not mess with the kind of woman that walks into a PM career in a male-dominated industry. I have seen people try.

Yuuki:
10 years is highly optimistic. Hollywood is almost 100 years old and the number of acclaimed female directors is still hovering around...dunno, 1%? 0.1%? I actually don't know any. But that hasn't stopped plenty of movies with strong female leads/side characters.

Not sure what's this new obsession of wanting more gender diversity in the workplace purely for it's own sake, many industries are doing just fine while being utterly dominated by a single gender. It's a matter of personal interest and career preference (or lack of) which is ALLOWED to differ between genders, it's not a rights/equality issue.

Software engineering/computing has been male-dominated since it's very beginning, and while we are seeing a lot more women getting into it than ever before, there is still a long time to go (I would put it in the region of 50+ years) before we see anywhere near 50/50 ratios. More importantly, fussing over said ratios is just stupid.

StewShearer:
The game industry isn't the best example when it comes to gender equality.

At this point does "gender equality" refer to a matter of equal rights/discrimination, or an attempt to ring alarm bells about different genders choosing to do different shit?

StewShearer:
The game industry isn't the best example when it comes to gender equality. For instance, despite the fact that 45 percent of gamers are women,

I thought the gaming community had come to an agreement that we would stop bringing up that stupid blanket ESA statistic that is of no use to anyone. That report went out it's way to avoid specifying what constitutes a "gamer" (baby with cellphone? 10 year WoW addict?) and avoid breaking that statistic down into demographics/categories/genres for some extremely obvious reasons. You know, important details that could be of some actual use to developers/publishers (except that they already have those statistics and ESA is irrelevant :P).

agreed, forcing gender placement in jobs is fucking horrible, you better hire who you think is best for the job, not based on what sexual parts they are currently rocking. Articles like these make me want to slap someone in the face when my company filled with the "best" available trump the shit out of their gender/racially diverse staff that were just tossed together for the sake of being diverse.

also, i do hate that damn statistic also, with the ease of downloading free games these days fucking anyone and everyone plays some sort of "vidya gameeee", it's a horseshit statistic to try and use in favor of gender placement in the workforce.

Why is this news? Or am i one of the many that just accept females play games and are fully capable to make games? They moan about equality, but gaming is what it is, only woman that love games will want to work in that area. Like only woman who love cars will want to work as a mechanic. You cant force woman to do those jobs if there heart isnt in it. I think having more woman making games is awesome because they can add their own thoughts into a character instead of having a male developer trying to think like a woman character.

End of the day, if a woman wants to get into game development then give them every help and freedom they need to get there and stop any guys that try and stop them from there dream.

The Plunk:
image

I've said this before: On my college's computing course, how many people are girls? Not a single one! And that's out of about 60 people.

On the I.T. course the representation seems a bit fairer. It's probably about 5-10%.

I'm afraid that there are some subjects which just interest one gender more than the other, and things like programming are one of them.

Yeah... As someone who is a software dev, I call BS. Things quickly begin to get much more equal when you start to work in the industry. Things aren't at 50-50 yet, but they sure as shit as much higher than 5-10% (I would say around 30).

OT: Would love if that was true, but I think 10 years is a bit optimistic. It will probably be closer to 15, at least. Still, things are getting better, so who knows?

Fact: 90% of women gamers dont own a high end pc and wont buy an xbox1 or ps4
Lately this kind of article has been poping up everywhere with game journalist and female posters throwing around the 40% of gamers argument when the truth is that there are already a lot of games dedicated and designed for women.
Of course those games arent rpgs or shooters because almost non of them want to play that kind of game, they play the sims, mmos and cellphone games so it always makes my angry when someone says women are misrepresented in games when only a few of them complains or haves problems with it

I realize after posting this that i didnt make my point clear. Wath i was trying to say is that women integrating the videogame industrie wont be making games for women, they will be making games for themselves

ellieallegro:
Tongue in cheek post aside, the reason why there aren't more women programmers in IT (or the games industry) is NOT because women lack the skills or the interest. I know plenty of women who can program and are pretty vested in geek culture, I work with a few, but we are not going to waste our time in an industry with a lower quality of life and little advancement potential when we can get paid and treated better going into other fields. Simple as that. Why would I work for EA for low pay and crap hours when I can work for a bio-tech company (which is my field) or go into business or non-profit work and make more money with more flexible hours?

because you actually want to make great games ? \(_o)/

ie the pursuit of a vocation rather than a career.

dw that's not a criticism.

if you don't want to be taking part in a creative endeavour you probably shouldn't be there.

different strokes etc

I have no idea where so many people are getting the quotas thing form because it was not mentioned at all. Roughly equal numbers does not mean its artificially enforce half the people I would consider my friends are female and gamers. Around half the people with the passion and talent need to acutely make games that is true of as well. Now half the gamers I meat are not women, but a higher percentage of those I do actually care about the hobby rather than just partake. Also this is a estimate by a creative director so its fully possible he is right that most creative teams in the industry will be 50/50 in five ten years but not the industry as a whole.

dunno while I agree that forcing gender placement may not be the best idea in terms of game quality or whats the fairest thing to do on an individual level, but in terms of strategy's to even out demographic from a long term perspective it actually has merit, force more females placements in the industry, have more females designing games that they would enjoy, more females buy these products as they appeal directly to them, more females get interested in the gaming industry as a whole, more females look to work in said industry.

maybe it won't work, but hey it looks to me like a 1 step back 10 steps forward situation, and really it wouldn't be the worst thing for an industry that badly needs shaking up right now

"placements" ? wtf this isn't some charity shop looking for volunteers.

this is a multimillion pound entertainment industry.

no one is going to end up anywhere unless it's predominately based on prior merit.

real sexual equality is equality of opportunity not charity based on gender.

and "equality of opportunity" does not mean you succeed only that you get the chance to.

Nope.

That's like saying "guys and girls LOVE cell phones/weird gizmos/other electronics, so eventually there will be equal amounts of them building the things".

You know how many girls are in my electronics course? One. And she wants to transfer out.

I don't see it EVER happening, because our "anyone's accepted" and the fact that we even have a "we need more women" campaign has only seen fewer women enter our computer/electronics/electrical/etc programs.

The interest just. Isn't. There.

So, is he referring to jobs that are actually programming related, or just associated with game development? Because women applying for computer science degrees have actually gone down since the 80s, not increased. Let me repeat that: the amount of women in computer science has gone DOWN, not UP. In 1985 around 37.5% of U.S. computer science graduates were female, the number now? Floats around 11-14% depending on the year. The numbers dropped in the late-90s and have not recovered.

Sure, there's women, like men, who get into the tech industry without a degree, but statistically speaking the majority of women in the tech industry are drawn to other parts of it. And I don't blame them, considering they can often get better positions at, say, a social networking company then as a temporary programmer for EA that gets laid off after eight months. So I'm wondering where this magical supply of women with programming experience who love gaming so much they're willing to financially handicap themselves is. Seriously guys, I need a legitimate answer to the obvious workforce problem, not vague emotionalism about how great it will be once we have a perfect statistical breakdown.

I'll be honest, this comes off like nonsense that ignores basic statistical facts in favour of being politically correct. Very, very few fields (and bloody specific fields at that) are even close to an equal breakdown in terms of gender, and you really have to kid yourself if you think the statistics back up a 50/50 split ever occurring in the video games industry.

ASnogarD:

What is truly needed is a fair and equal judgement of skills and abilities without pre-conditions based on genders... it doesn't make a difference if you have 8 men and 2 women on your team as long as each of those team members earned their place through skills and abilities and not gender, it could be 8 women and 2 men as long as gender wasn't used as a condition.

Why is this so hard to grasp ?

Probably because there will always be some people, who, regardless of whether those people earned their position, will claim that your inherent sexism determined who you chose.

When i left Uni from doing Games Design there was i think 2 Girls out of about 100 of us and the Games programming course had the same. That was a couple of years ago now. So things arent that much different in the design areas compared to the programming.

I dunno maybe making games is still seen as too much of a stereotypical nerd thing from the outside world, even if actually playing the games has lost alot of that stereotype over the past few years.

NeedsaBetterName22:
Snip. And I don't blame them, considering they can often get better positions at, say, a social networking company then as a temporary programmer for EA that gets laid off after eight months. So I'm wondering where this magical supply of women with programming experience who love gaming so much they're willing to financially handicap themselves is. Snip

Exactly my point. Thank you. Again, women aren't in IT or programming games because they lack the skills or interest. I work with a team that is 60/40 women that analyzes big data sets for the bio-tech industry. We all use R, SPSS and Stata on a daily basis (among other programs). Does anyone think that we couldn't use those cross-disciplinary skills to program games or work in IT? People concerned about a lack of women in IT (and the games industry) always ask the wrong questions. They should be asking... why aren't women in those industries now?

I'll tell you. It's because with few exceptions, (indie devs, owning your own company) most jobs in IT and the games industry suck. Yeah, I said it. They blow hard chunks: Low wages, lack of security, poor hours, lack of flexibility, crappy benefits... the list goes on and on (of course that changes if you are in demand or come in near the top). Frankly, I don't see why anyone works in the industry to be honest.

Sleekit:
because you actually want to make great games ? \(_o)/

Bwhahahaha. Thanks for the laugh, I needed one since I'm working this holiday (by choice). Yeah, I'm gonna sacrifice my time and financial security just so I can can look back at my hard life on my deathbed and say, "member that time I helped make a great game which received decent reviews and then everybody promptly forgot about it when the next GTA/Halo/Zelda came out..." Yeah, totally worth it!

I don't get why it's abysmal that only 4% of devs are women. Perhaps successful, college graduate women just have things they'd rather be doing? Such as taking over the Xbox division of microsoft. Or getting their own talk show.

Personally, i think the majority of American women aren't even interested in the career because its honestly not a good job. Long hours for relatively bad pay, harsh conditions and such. The only reason men go for it is because at heart all men are boys: We want to play while we work. So we overlook the harsh realities in favor of our rose tinted shades. And then we get cynical and jaded when reality fucks us over.

And, all the women aren't just OUT of jobs, you know? It's just a super competitive industry that, realistically speaking, isnt a very good job to begin with. Sure, video games are awesome, but if you're going gray before your time and hating life just for the sake of living the dream, most people would rather not give a fuck and go work a less stressful, more successful job that they can forget about when they go home.

I find the 45% of gamers are women statistic very hard to believe. I know two girls I might describe as such, one of whom is strictly a WoW player, and no other games (don't know if that counts).

I would like to know what the 45% proportion is of. All games? Casual games? Facebook/Smartphone/Browser games? MMOs? Online shooters? Single player AAA titles? I highly doubt that 45% of gamers who play Mass Effect, Far Cry 3, Crysis, Hitman, Deus Ex and games of this ilk, are women.

Still development houses could certainly use a massive oestrogen influx. It might well result in new genres or new approaches to existing genres that can better target female gamers without a negative change to the games male gamers enjoy.

But I don't think it's right either that 50% of developers will be women in the future, short of actively hiring them based on their gender. Fact is that the overwhelming majority of womeen do not pursue careers in engineering, programming, maths or science. Many do, but they are a tiny percentage of girls going to university. Most women pick humanities courses and fields like English Literature, Dance, Childcare, Education and some others being predominantly women.

The game design course I'm doing at college had like a taster week on earlier in the year, I went along with about 60 other people. There were only 2 girls. There may be more on the actual course but I'll have to wait to see.

KingsGambit:
I find the 45% of gamers are women statistic very hard to believe. I know two girls I might describe as such, one of whom is strictly a WoW player, and no other games (don't know if that counts).

I would like to know what the 45% proportion is of. All games? Casual games? Facebook/Smartphone/Browser games? MMOs? Online shooters? Single player AAA titles? I highly doubt that 45% of gamers who play Mass Effect, Far Cry 3, Crysis, Hitman, Deus Ex and games of this ilk, are women.

Still development houses could certainly use a massive oestrogen influx. It might well result in new genres or new approaches to existing genres that can better target female gamers without a negative change to the games male gamers enjoy.

It's a deliberately vague statistic as far as I can tell, I've never been able to find a proper definition or breakdown of it. I'd argue it's either a product of someone just being terrible at statistics, or actual misinformation to encourage Simpson's paradoxes.

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