Previously, I wrote a small piece about women in video games. Not only do I think that women, in their struggles, have a lot of interesting, compelling, and important stories to tell, but they are a hugely underserved market. There is a pretty pervasive bit of conventional “wisdom” that women as a group don’t play very many video games, and/or that they are not a profitable market to target. I think this is not just wrong, but wrong-headed. Let’s take a look at a few numbers.
It turns out that in every single one of the key markets for western game developers, women outnumber men. This includes pretty much all of Europe, Japan, Australia, all of North America, and four of the largest economies in South America including the top two (Brasil and Argentina). Think about this. By excluding women from games and gaming culture, either by action or by inaction, we are in fact excluding most of everyone who could potentially be a fan. This is not only indefensible from a social equality standpoint, it is also economically untenable. With all the cutbacks and layoffs at the biggest studios, a perpetually waning print media, and the always-hard life of the average indie developer, it seems like a no-brainer to court female gamers.
My upcoming game, code named “null sector”, features women’s issues in a historical context. Time has shown women as a group capable of anything anyone else can do, but the struggle to get there makes great drama.
A recent article on Jezebel shows the kinds of roadblocks women routinely ran into. Things aren’t perfect now, but there’s definitely been progress.
In “history was hella sexist, year 1962,” NASA’s Director of Public Information responded to a woman inquiring about becoming an astronaut that they had “no existing program concerning woman astronauts nor do we contemplate any such plan.” Ouch.
The real kicker here is that just one year later, Russia sent a female Cosmonaut into orbit. America squandered the opportunity to have a very significant first, in an era when the US and USSR were competing for firsts. That we look at documents like this and marvel at how backward its stance is gives one some comfort in the present, and hope for the future.
Meeting up with some fellow San Diego indies tomorrow. Time to crunch and see if I can get the most minimal playable prototype up and running before then!
Cross-platform rendering is solidly defined across 5 different operating systems. Now I’m working on matrix transforms and vertex wrangling. Looking good so far!