Women in Gaming is Facebook’s new initiative to encourage diversity and create a platform where women can get together to share their stories and their challenges.
Speaking about the initiative Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, shared in a video, “...yet gaming still doesn’t fully reflect the audiences it serves or the stories it tells. Women make up only 23 percent of the gaming workforce and women of colour are even less represented. In this industry women also face stereotypes and prejudices that hold them back like any other industry and when they become the target of threats, it’s even harder to convince young women that this is an industry full of opportunities. An industry that not only values their work but needs it.”
According to the quarterly Global Games Market Report by Newzoo, 2.2 billion gamers across the globe were expected to generate $108.9 billion in game revenues in 2017. According to the report, digital games will account for 87 percent of the global market, and by 2020, mobile gaming will represent just more than half of the total games market.
The Women in Gaming page by Facebook shares data wherein, according to Newzoo, women constitute 46 percent of gamers spread across 13 countries. According to a survey done by IDGA in 2017 on developer satisfaction, 23 percent of the surveyed developers were female, and almost 81 percent of game developers indicated that diversity was important.
Hence, the Women in Gaming initiative is to encourage the women in the industry to come together, for more and more women to join the gaming community as developers and designers, and in the process, have more women characters and games that cater to women audience.
“We want to build a global community for you to share your stories, your challenges, your hopes and your dreams,” shared Sheryl Sandberg. The Women in Gaming initiative will reach out to 100 women in the industry to chronicle their stories, and work with partners like Women in Games WIGJ, a non-for-profit to recruit more women into the gaming workforce.
At the moment, this has the potential to bring together and unite women, but it will only work if women open up and take to the platform to share their stories and have meaningful conversations. Once the specific challenges women in the industry face are identified, the next step will be about how to address those challenges.