The subject of gender imbalance in gaming, especially in professional e-sports, and how to rectify it has been a matter of debate within gaming communities for quite some time. A recent article by GamesIndustry.biz’s Haydn Taylor highlights a paper published by Women in Games that puts the spotlight on the topic, providing suggestions for ways to increase gender diversity in e-sports.
Drafted by leaders of women-in-games groups from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy as part of a discussion titled “Increasing female interest and participation in esports careers” held at the inaugural Global Esports Forum organized in conjunction with Intel and e-sport organizer ESL, the paper summarizes the current obstacles inhibiting female participation in e-sports and lays out 12 recommendations for remedying the situation.
The post on WomenInGames.org quotes five-time Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world champion Steph “missharvey” Harvey as saying she believes that the main reason the number of women in e-sports is so low — estimated at about 5% — is that women in gaming are “automatically judged for being different,” citing her own experiences of “extremely graphic” harassment about her gender. Women In Games seeks to eradicate this kind of toxic behavior and promote gender diversity in gaming and e-sports.
Blizzard is doubling down on diversity and inclusion when it comes to its own hiring practices.
That’s according to a leaked internal memo from Blizzard President Mike Morhaime, which Kotaku excerpted in a report last night. Morhaime is apparently spearheading a “global diversity and inclusion initiative” intended to spur on the hiring of underrepresented people inside the company — specifically women, who make up only a fifth of employees, and other minority groups, who make up only 14%.
While Blizzard will not operate under strict hiring quotas, employees are being encouraged to seek out and recommend women and minorities who are traditionally overlooked in the male-dominated video games industry. Networking sessions, mentoring groups, diversity training, and gender summits are also on order, along with fostering a women-centered advisory council akin to the LGBTQ council that already exists.
It won’t surprise anyone who reads our WRUPs that a lot of my free time gaming has been mobile-based as of late, especially if it has local multiplayer. While I still prefer PC gaming for the most part, it’s hard for me to bring a mouse and keyboard with me to a convention and play while the line is moving. MMOs with local multiplayer are even harder. Recent conventions have made jumping into traditional MMOs harder, as has the summer heat that magnifies the heat I feel when playing on ol’ lappy (although that could just be a result of the airless storage space I call home!).
At any rate, I decided to bust out my Nintendo Switch a bit more, bringing it with me to try to recreate Nintendo’s questionable marketing ploy and so I can play in a room where open windows don’t pose a risk to my papers and electronics. My weapon of choice? ARMS.
Don’t think politics belong in games? Maybe your problem is a mangled understanding of what politics is. That’s the gist of a blog piece out yesterday from Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, whom many MMO players will likely remember from his long stint as World of Warcraft’s lead systems designer, though now he’s lead game designer over on League of Legends next door.
Street was responding to a gamer worried about his belief that “Liberal politics is forcing [its] way into games.” “I just want to enjoy a fun experience, or take part of someone’s artistic vision,” the player wrote, seeking validation for his worries.
Street agreed that he would be annoyed if League of Legends “tried to sneak in lessons on how taxes should be structured, or opinions on health care, or state versus federal power” as that would be too political. But the mere presence or acknowledgement of diversity? That’s not politics, he argues — that’s reality.
Inclusion has always been a big priority for Guild Wars 2, and that cause has taken another step forward as of yesterday’s patch. A character named Sya is in the game now, and if you talk to her briefly, she reveals that you met her before in the Bloodtide Coast, but she was going by her birth name of Symon at the time. After the attack on Lion’s Arch, she realized that she both needed and wanted to transition.
Sya isn’t a major character and can be missed if you’re not paying attention, but her presence in the game is a deliberate and welcome nod to transgender individuals. It also confirms that transitioning is definitely a thing that happens in Tyria, above and beyond the mechanical side of letting you purchase and use Full Makeover Kits.