In 2022, the video game industry still needs women

Consumers but not creators, what is the place of women in the video game industry in 2022?

In video games too, the place of women and young girls is a subject that requires attention. For several years, the sector has been trying to restore its unflattering image as a factory of violent people and geeks without a social life, and it’s a successful bet on many aspects given the growing popularity of this entertainment, even with the fairer sex who has long felt erased.

If we often talk about representation in video games as products, we will rather focus here on the place of women in the creative industry, thanks to a study published by Xbox in collaboration with the CSA. And the observation is impressive as the contrast is great: if today women are big consumers of video games, they still seem to be very little present within the studios themselves or in positions related to this sector.

As many players as players?

We now know that video games are not made only for “real guys” or even “no lives”. Several studies agree that half of the players in France are in fact female players, up to 47% according to SELL, and little by little, the clichés that once had a hard life are breaking down one by one. This is thanks in particular to the advent of social networks which trivialize all social issues internationally.

They are therefore very fond of video games, they talk about it and claim it… but still think that they are exceptions in the heart of a very masculine and masculinized field. Many people still think that it is mostly a discipline that is more popular with men. In fact, 84.7% of Daily Gamers believe their practice causes stigma.

We have good news for you ladies, you have managed to take the place that was due to you and this with flying colors. The practice of video games in the field does not mean that women are now freed from the stereotypes surrounding them. There is a belief that mobile gaming (supposedly popular with women because it is easier to use) is a less credible form of gaming, unlike PC or console games.

Although this is on the one hand unfounded, on the other hand it is extremely false to think that women are only limited to this. For 75% of women surveyed, gaming goes through home consoles, compared to 87% for smartphones and even 60% for the PC ecosystem. Results completely in line with the rest of the male market, or at least which do not force the contrast with the latter.

The gap between playing and working in video games

And yet, it seems that women don’t see video games as a career opportunity, despite their credibility and presence in the industry as gamers. Against all expectations, women occupy 50% of the offices on the publisher side, but this drops drastically to 11% in company management positions and 22% as employees in development studios (Annual Video Game Barometer, edited by the SNJV in 2021). A percentage that still increases compared to 2020 since the latter figure was 19%.

Such a disparity between the love of games and the lack of women in the studios can be explained in several ways: employers who favor the male sex, the stigmatization of the sector or even the lack of information on professional opportunities, among other reasons. The study finds that the deeper you get into the heart of the industry, the less stigma there is about video game sexism, but the representation is still not at its best.

This is why, at Women in Games but also at Xbox, the emphasis is on education and information from an early age. Morgane Falaize, president of the association, says: “if indeed for the moment our French studios only have 22% of women among their workforce, the extreme diversity of video game professions should precisely allow everyone to find their place in the sector, and this study proves that ‘better communication upstream in the school curriculum can really make a difference”

For her part, Ina Gelbert, head of the video games division at Xbox France, is the actress of a tutoring initiative which allows young girls to discuss career possibilities. On our side, we also inform you about 5 little-known video game professions, accessible via public and free training, thanks to a dedicated file that you can find here.

For those who are interested, we leave you just here the replay of the round table organized by Xbox as part of this study, which provides us with more details on the way in which women are integrated into the video game industry, or again on their relationship between leisure and profession.

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