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


 
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Matthew Wilsonbut yes the AAA space needs to take more risks.06/30/2015 - 9:44pm
Matthew Wilson@EZK we need more female leads for sure, but if the game isnt good to start with it, or does not matter.06/30/2015 - 9:41pm
E. Zachary KnightMatt, But if we don't include more women leads in games, the chances of them leading a good game drops considerably. That is a big problem. The games industry is already risk adverse and you seem to be suggesting that it stay that way.06/30/2015 - 9:36pm
MattsworknameWhining about games not haaving enought females, thats foolish, cause if the games are good, then the lead will be well known as a result.see alex vance, she wasn't even the playable lead, but she's so well known cause half life 2 was such an amazing game06/30/2015 - 9:04pm
MattsworknameOn the subject of gaming. Im of the opinion that, its fine if there are more FEMALE leads, but if the game itself isn't good? then your doing a disservice by having a female lead cause they wont get any recognition or attention.06/30/2015 - 9:01pm
Mattsworknameandrew, im not as hyped, without the origional cast, I feel it just won't have the same impact . I'll still give ti a shot, but my expectations are low for it. Its a shame we lost ramis.06/30/2015 - 8:57pm
PHX Corphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIojPUPGhjY IWALVG:GameStop Goes RETRO? Let's Check It Out!06/30/2015 - 8:26pm
Andrew Eisen(Ghostbusters is my favorite movie, if anyone was wondering why I'm so unusually excited for this project.)06/30/2015 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenI am so completely over-the-moon with excitement for the new Ghostbusters movie! It's going to absolutely destroy me if it sucks. Long wait. Fingers crossed!06/30/2015 - 7:00pm
Goth_SkunkAdditionally, the entry really doesn't have much of a point to it. It's just a long, rambling rant akin to what an angsty high-school student would write on their facebook page.06/30/2015 - 6:51pm
MonteAnd most of those viewpoints just so happen to revolve around women and topics that feminists cover, and not actual gaming journalism.06/30/2015 - 6:51pm
Goth_Skunk@DocMelonhead: First off, thanks for using an archive. Second, I would argue that Miss Alexander doesn't know the right women. Given the members of her echo-chamber, I don't find that surprising in the least.06/30/2015 - 6:50pm
Goth_Skunk@Monte: GamerGate does not focus attention on feminists; it focuses its attention on viewpoints it happens to disagree with. The fact that most of those opinions happen to come from radical feminists is a coincidence.06/30/2015 - 6:31pm
Andrew EisenBut hey, we all make bad videos from time to time. I'm certainly not going to hold that single one against her.06/30/2015 - 6:31pm
Andrew EisenAh, okay. I probably don't read their blogs or follow them on Twitter so I've never heard anything they've had to say. The only thing I know about Sommers is the video we reported on a while back and I certainly wouldn't classify that as scholarly!06/30/2015 - 6:30pm
Goth_SkunkAlso, "junior campus feminist" is a young (late teens to late 20's, hence "junior") college student radical activist (see Emma Sulkowicz as an example). This, as opposed to a more mature, scholarly feminist like Sommers.06/30/2015 - 6:24pm
Andrew EisenNo, because "feminisim" isn't a group. There are feminist groups with leaders though.06/30/2015 - 6:23pm
Goth_SkunkDoes Feminism have a leader?06/30/2015 - 6:19pm
Andrew EisenWell, maybe the SPJ Airplay discussion will be just what everyone needed and we'll all live happily ever after!06/30/2015 - 6:16pm
MonteFrankly, for those in it for jounalism, the best thnig they can do is forget GG and find a new Tag. By using GG theybring with themselves all of the baggage that comes with it, and thus no one listens to them. They voices would go farthar without trolls06/30/2015 - 6:12pm
 

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