Men make up 80 percent of the people working on games today, but women may represent a majority of the next wave of highly trained developers and designers.
The University of Southern California’s Interactive Media and Game Division program for graduate students is now primarily women, according to a report in the L.A. Times. This is a big change for an industry that has slowly tried to make itself more welcoming to a wider variety of people. Yet big publishers still often look behind the times and out of touch with their products. But with USC’s gaming graduate program admitting 12 women compared to seven men in 2015, game developers can get a little more in touch by turning to women who are entering the industry.
And while this evolution can take a while, it is likely a natural response to several key factors. The biggest change in recent years is that women now represent about half of all game players in the United States. At the same time, public-policy programs are trying to get more young women to consider science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in college and beyond. And it doesn’t hurt that organizations like the International Game Developers Association makes a point of talking about diversity among development teams — especially in the face of the well-documented harassment some women in games have experienced over the last few years.
Here’s IGDA executive director Kate Edwards speaking about some of these topics at the GamesBeat 2015 conference in October:
Even as some pockets of the gaming industry resist change, they’re going to have a hard time not hiring more women. That’s simply because they will now often represent that most highly qualified candidate. USC is the top-rated graduate program for game design in the country, according to the Princeton Review. It is going to produce some sought after talent — and it just so happens that most of that talent is female.