The increasing development in technology brought about an era of a different form of entertainment in which people can enjoy online games. Since the development of the first video and online games, the gaming industry has gone through tremendous development. It is no doubt that game developers have created thousands of games for their clients to choose from. Similarly, the developments in different types of games have also lead to the increasing number of online and video gamers within the industry. This means that even women have joined the industry with the aim of not only playing the games but also finding work in the sectors. Studies have shown that most of these women are excellent gamers with skills and expertise to content with. In fact, it is clear that the modern gaming industry is no longer meant for men as it was in the olden times. Despite the presence of women or female players in the gaming industry, studies have shown that they have faced various obstacles within the sector (McDaniels, 2016). This paper aims to illustrate that female players encounter different challenges in the gaming industry and states that industry leader should make changes to accommodate female gamers in the gaming industry.
A research study has shown that there are 47 percent of women in the gaming industry (Melendez, 2012). This shows that the numbers of women playing both online and video games has increased significantly over the years. It is further clear that women have found fun and pleasure in playing online games just like their male counterparts. Moreover, just like men, women have the skills, knowledge, and techniques that their male counterparts posses in playing online and video games. Furthermore, women seem to enjoy these games and are excellent gamers who can take on the long time male gamers in the industry.
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Despite these capabilities possessed by female players in video and online games, studies show that the gaming industry has not been welcoming to the women. Moreover, many women within the gaming industry face various challenges such as misogynisticism, negative attitude towards them, lack of gender equality and lack of recognition for their gaming skills in the industry (Melendez, 2012). Therefore, some factors that need to change in the gaming industry are the players’ attitude, lack of gender equality, and the need to come up with effective rules that protect the female gamers. The leaders should aim to create equality among their male and female clients to provide a conducive playing ground for both male and female players. They also need to inculcate a positive attitude that recognizes women’s abilities and well as promote gender equality in the gaming industry.
Similarly, other authors also support the fact that women experience different forms of harassment in the video and online gaming (McDaniel, 2106). In this regard it is important for the leaders in these industry to work on eliminating the discriminating issues that female gamers face in the industry. Thos is because leaders in the industry have the power to create an ample environment for female gamers as well.
Just like Mendelez, Sun-Higginson, (2010) supports the finding that many women players have received different forms of harassment while playing. For example, the male players have always threatened to rape the women. They have hurled various insults towards the female gamers with the aim of sending them away from the gaming platform. Similarly, many female online gamers has received rape threats accompanied by insults such as “bitch i hope u get breast cancer n die you slut,” “you fat fuckin tomboy go kill yourself” (Melendez, 2012). On some occasions, many other female gamers also reported being harassed using gender discriminating words such as “go in the kitchen stop playing video games it’s for men not for pussys” (Melendez, 2012). It is clear from this result that the industry leaders have not played a vital role in helping the female gamers t fit in the industry. Arguably, they might as well hold the same notion that gaming is for men and not women. Therefore, the report should act as a wakeup call for the gamers and industry leaders to appreciate gender equality in the sector. They should come up with effective methods of protecting their female clients with the aim of providing an environment that embraces gender equality.
Another study by Sun-Higginson (2010), has supported the fact that most male gamers think lowly of female players in the industry. They believe that women have nothing to bring into the gaming industry. Some of them still have the old notion that gaming is only meant for men who possess effective competitive skills required to effectively play different games. They feel that the types of online and video games available are not effective and suitable for women because they are fast passed and competitive. In fact, most male player also believe that first person shooter (FPS) games are too technical for women who would like to play such games (McDaniel (2016). Similarly, most male players in the gaming industry do not believe that women can achieve higher degrees of success in the sector (Melendez (2012). A clear example refers a time when one female gmer was working at Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle to help Ubisoft showcase new game in which people plugged and learned new musical skills. She states that many people appreciated the games and asked many questions concerning the game. For instance, one man asked her who the makers of them game was, and she stated that it was Ubisoft. To her surprise the man made the statement that “ But, of course, you don’t play those” (Melendez, 2012) She was surprised and she only responded with a blank stare. This is another show of how most men think lowly of the women in the gaming industry. Therefore, the leaders in the firm should promote gender awareness among all players. They also need to publish games developed by female in the sector and help promote awareness that even women can develop excellent games.
Melendez ( 2012 ) states further that the misogyny is not just limited to the female game consumers but also affects other women working in the gaming industry in either making or promoting the games. The problem leads to some young female gamers hiding their profiles in online games by pretending to be men, avoiding voice communications, or some of them just give up completely on playing and even developing video games. Thus, several reports has shown that most of the people and leaders in the industry do not do enough to support female gamers in the industry. In fact, a large of the leaders in the industry refute reports by female gamers saying that the reported harassment are done by “12 year olds who need to grow up” (Melendez, 2012). This comes despite the knowledge that 68 percent of gamers are over the age of 18 years, thus making them adults who have control over what they say or write. Similarly, some of the leaders in the industry also refute irrespective of the fact that average gamers in the industry are 30 years and above making them responsible adult who understand the negative effects of online harassment effectively (Mcdaniels, 2016). Therefore, leaders in the industry need to acknowledge the problems faced by female gamers and develop effective methods of solving them.
Despite the negative reactions from the male gamers in the gaming industry, Melendez (2016), states that the leaders in the sector have developed some strategies for keeping female players. Some of them encourage and motivate female to take part in playing the games they like. Some of the industries also aim to employ many women and minorities to help bridge the gap between the male and the female players in the industry. Similarly, the leaders in the industry have also encouraged many women interested in playing various games to do so without any fear. They also encourage women to take part in developing various games to be able to show their prowess in gamming. Some organizations have created an all girls group to encourage women to play and develop games. One of these groups if the Frag Dolls which is a group made only of women and encourages female gamers to study, sharpen their skills and even learn more about online and video gaming (Melendez, 2012).
Another method that has been used by game developer Bungie is that they have introduced an auto-muting option in their game Halo (Melendez, 2012). This means that if many gamers mute the gamers that have been reported for harassing female gamers, then he or she becomes automatically banned from playing that game. Similarly, such a gamer also risks his profile being removed from the game. Another reporter also says that the other way that female gamers can use to overcome negative energies from their male counterpart is to identify their best game and play them with the aim of having fun.
Studies have shown that women have not had the best experience in the gaming industry as their fellow male counter parts have. The female players have encountered various challenges that have either aimed to make them give up plying video and online games or give up their dreams of being game developers. Some of the challenges faced by the female players include online harassment by the male players, criticism, and insults that aim to deter them from playing. Despite the knowledge that female players encounter including misogyny, harassment, and insults from the male players, some leaders in the industry have downplayed such occurrences by stating that the people harassing the female players are 12 year old boys who need to grow up. However, some gaming organizations have come up with solutions to these problems. Some of them have created the mute option in their games and gamers can use the option to mute the player who harasses the female players. Some have created an all-girls gaming groups to provide the female players with an ample environment not only for playing but also for developing their interests in the gaming industry.
Mcdaniels, M. A. (2016). "Women in Gaming: A Study of Female Players’ Experiences in Online FPS Games. Honor Thesis.
Melendez, E. (2012). What It’s Like For a Girl Gamer. USA: Slate.com.
Sun-Higginson, S. (2010). GTFO DOCUMENTRY TAKES A LOOK AT HOW WOMEN ARE TREATED IN GAMING.