“Do women play games?” What a draconian thought, right? Women have always participated in video games since the industry’s inception. The percentage of female participants may not be as high as men, but they’ve always formed a considerable section of the gaming fraternity. With the rise of smartphones, more and more female consumers are pouring in. Women are not only playing mere casual games but also “hardcore” games such as Call of Duty, World of WarCraft, DOTA and Counter Strike, among others
Here’s an interesting question: Why do people think that the majority of women are not interested in playing social or mobile games? Maybe the lack of games with female protagonists is a reason. More often than not, the female characters in video games are showcased as damsels in distress or reinforce old stereotypes that no woman relates to. With time, we’ve furthered ourselves with technology and advanced methods of creating video games. And yet, the way female characters are designed remains quite outdated. Most female characters are stereotyped in the worst possible way, with heavy makeup, typically sculpted bodies with provocative clothes and high heels.
The tide is turning, though. Games these days are targeted towards mass audiences rather than gender-defined audiences or any other section, for that matter. Award-winning game Journey’s protagonist is a faceless character without a specific gender, culture or country. Also games like Transistor or Child Of Light are taken forward by female protagonists who move away from the usual stereotypes. They’re fresh and creatively conceptualised characters who actually fit the storyline of the game. Such games lean towards being more of a “heroine’s journey” than just female versions of a male specific/fantasy orientated game. This kind of fresh outlook on games, be it from any genre, works by targeting not only women but gamers of other age groups and races as well.
Women are not only consumers in the video game industry but also creators of these games. Though the percentage is not very high at the moment, it’s slowly increasing. Besides joining as Game Artists, the number of female Game Designers and Programmers is gradually growing. People such as Kellee Santiago – Game Designer, Producer and Founder of ‘ThatGameCompany’, makers of the beautifully crafted, multi-award winning game Journey – can only be expected to pull in more female talent into the industry. As more such like-minded women enter the industry, Gaming is set to grow by leaps and bounds by being all-inclusive.