Silicon Sisters: Women Are Rarely in Decision-Making-Roles

July 12, 2011 -

Silicon Sisters' co-founder Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch believes that the video game industry still has a long way to go when it comes to figuring out what women want from video games. Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz from the company's Vancouver studio, Gershkovitch said the higher proportion of female gamers on platforms like the Wii and Facebook is a good thing, but still feels that women are still being short-changed when it comes to gaming experiences that fully appeal to them.

"There are a lot of examples of successful games in the casual and social sphere that are connecting with women," she said. "We know the numbers: over 50 percent of casual players are women, and some people are saying that on Facebook it's closer to 70 percent so, clearly, they are connecting. But how deeply? And how much are they playing?"

"These games are superficially connecting, and they're connecting because they're smaller games that don't have a huge barrier to playing them. In that way there's some success, but in terms of real gameplay and real mechanics designed for women, I don't think we've solved that yet."

Gershkovitch went on to say that during her career working for other game studios, she was often one of only two or three women in a group of 40. Being in the minority means having less of an influence on the games that are made by these studios.

Gershkovitch's comments were echoed by Clint Hocking earlier this month in a recent column for Edge magazine, and Silicon Sisters' COO Kirsten Forbes said that they have been following that conversation with great interest.

"We're trying to build games with a female sensibility," Gershkovitch added. "It's not impossible that men can build games for women, of course, but most men that go into video games build games that they want to play - not as much games for their sisters."

"My point of view is that most of that has been done from a male perspective, and I think it's important to ask what those games might have looked like if there had been females in design decision-making roles. That's a really crucial missing piece. You have women on teams, but rarely in decision-making roles. That's the idea we wanted to play with: what would that look like?"

Gershkovitch admits that no one has really figured all of this out. She suggests that the "development process is iterative," so every new game is based  in part on the games that came before it.

"You look at the games that are being made and you made additions to that; you take a mechanic from this game or an idea from that game and add a different narrative. Everything is building on something else."

Gershkovitch is also concerned that the majority of games for women are too shallow to hold their interest for long, but says that the first studio to properly serve the audience will be reap the rewards.

"We developed something we call the Girl's Gaming Bible. We were able to identify particular things that mainly girls enjoy. There are a number of them, and some are checked off in social and casual realms... [but] there's a whole bunch that aren't, and I think the games that can include those things - that can create a much deeper connection to women and girls - will be hugely successful, whether smaller games or AAA games."

"There is real science behind the reasons why women are or aren't connecting with games. We're trying to understand it all and see what applies."

Source: GameIndustry.biz


 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
E. Zachary KnightOk. So I sent an email to 4J Studios. Let's see what they have to say about broken texture packs for Minecraft.04/01/2015 - 12:59pm
Papa MidnightHere's the announcement page. It now operates on Steamworks: http://steamcommunity.com/games/321040/announcements/detail/13319517079995034704/01/2015 - 12:45pm
Papa MidnightNews tip (Not an April Fool's Joke): Codemasters has published an update to DiRT 3 on Steam that removes Games for Windows Live. It is now called "Dirt 3 Complete Edition". Existing owners of DiRT 3 will see the title update in their library.04/01/2015 - 12:43pm
MaskedPixelanteI might be wrong, but aren't the console versions of Minecraft handled by a completely different studio?04/01/2015 - 11:52am
Papa MidnightMight want to keep an eye on this case. It's effects could be pretty wide reaching: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/03/if-you-believe-enough-can-you-invalidate-a-patent-supreme-court-to-decide/04/01/2015 - 11:52am
E. Zachary KnightMojang Support is trying to claim they have no responsibility for broken content on the PS3 version of Minecraft.04/01/2015 - 9:23am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.destructoid.com/kojima-productions-logo-removed-from-silent-hills-website-289814.phtml So... Japan doesn't usually do April Fool's, right?04/01/2015 - 7:51am
E. Zachary KnightXKCD is really fun this morning. http://xkcd.com/04/01/2015 - 7:37am
E. Zachary KnightI managed to wrangle a refund out of Sony for the broken texture pack. But for actual issues with texture packs, they referred me to Mojang. When I asked mojang about it, they referred me to Sony.04/01/2015 - 7:16am
Andrew EisenHuh?04/01/2015 - 2:42am
Matthew Wilson@AE I think the first dragon age did it the best. the person you played was treated differently based class,race, and gender. if the npc are going to act like 2015, you should just set the game in 2015 and add magic and dragons.04/01/2015 - 1:23am
E. Zachary KnightYeah, the PS3. My son paid for the Steampunk Texture Pack and it would not work at all. No matter what I did, it wouldn't allow us to save.03/31/2015 - 10:56pm
Sora-ChanConsole version?03/31/2015 - 10:40pm
E. Zachary KnightSo, Mojang has been selling a broken texture pack for Minecraft since at least Dec. 2014 and it hasn't been fixed yet.03/31/2015 - 10:30pm
Andrew EisenI think TT Games gets away with multiple LEGO games a year because they're all based on different franchises. If there were two or three LEGO Star Wars games every year, I think people would feel the same fatigue as they do with Assassin's Creed.03/31/2015 - 6:40pm
Andrew EisenIn other words, a hero is male because that's the default. A hero is female because of a gender-related reason. So, male heroes are for everyone. Female heroes are for women.03/31/2015 - 5:32pm
Andrew EisenHer point is that "When archetypal fantasy heroes in games are overwhelmingly portrayed as men, it reinforces the idea that... women should be able to empathize with male characters but that men needn’t be able to identify with women’s stories."03/31/2015 - 5:30pm
Andrew EisenDaniel - She doesn't say that in any of the TvW videos and I doubt she's said elsewhere that all games with male protagonists are male power fantasies. Anyway, you seem to be conflating two different ideas.03/31/2015 - 5:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/Yuriofwind/status/583028257890635776 Oh snap!03/31/2015 - 5:14pm
WymorenceFor me it just boils down to the fact that, even at a giant company, when a game comes out annually it just gives it a vibe of being rushed out the door. And god knows Unity sucked some major lemur with all its bugs...03/31/2015 - 4:22pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician