GDC 2024 REPORT: MORE OF THE SAME…

The 2024 State of the Game Industry report from GDC has been published – and, when it comes to the representation of women in the industry, nothing has changed. At the same time, the research reveals that games professionals are growing concerned about the industry’s DEI efforts in general.

The report is the result of a survey of some 3,000 games professionals, with GDC this year working with research partner Omdia to dissect and analyse the survey data. GDC’s sister publication Game Developer also collaborated on the report.

Covering demographics, working practices, tools and attitudes, it provides a good overview of where the games industry sits right now. Not surprisingly, we’re interested in the stats around gender demographics and EDI efforts. And sadly – as we continue to state again and again – things simply aren’t getting any better.

When it comes to gender representation, men still make up over two-thirds of game developers—23% of developers surveyed are women, 21% are from the LGBTQ+ community and 5% are non-binary.

When it comes to games professionals with more experience in the industry – the ‘decision-makers’, according to the report – men make up the majority at 87% of game developers with 21 years or more of experience. White men were the biggest demographic at 92%.

White women made up just 5% of respondents with 20+ years of experience, with Asian women making up the same percentage. There were no black women or those of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin who reported having the same level of experience.

Meanwhile, confidence in company DEI efforts is decreasing, according to the study. When asked how successful respondents feel their companies’ attempts at DEI have been in the past 12 months, the responses were:

  • Very successful – 27%
  • Somewhat successful – 38%
  • Slightly successful – 25%
  • Not at all successful – 11%

About 90% of respondents reported their company’s DEI efforts were at least slightly successful, down from 96% in 2023. Specifically, the number of developers who said those DEI efforts weren’t successful at all increased to 11% (from 4% in 2023).

Developers were asked to elaborate on the successes or failures of their company DEI policies: Most discussed the shortcomings. According to an analysis of open responses, some of the most pressing concerns include the lack of resources and training, an increase in mandatory return-to-office policies, and an inability to attract qualified diverse candidates.

Here are a couple of the responses:

“What’s working: Seeing DEI efforts across multiple disciplines and in some areas of leadership. What’s not working: No DEI efforts on the executive level.”

“Like most AAA studios, our company talks a big game and touts their successes in this field while frequently working hard to cover up or ignore their myriad of failures.”

Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman offered: “It is disappointing, but not surprising, to see that women still make up such a small minority of the games development workforce – and there are even fewer who have enjoyed long stints in the industry and are senior level.

“It is clear that diversity, equality, equity and diversity efforts across the industry are failing – with employees losing confidence in any work in this area that studios are carrying out. This cannot continue; we must not allow EDI to drop down the list of priorities for leadership teams – and it is clear that much more effort needs to be made to attract more women into the industry, and then to retain them so that the industry can benefit from their experience.”

To download the full report, click here – https://reg.gdconf.com/state-of-game-industry-2024

Photo by Product School on Unsplash