If you attended the Women in Games Global Annual Conference a few weeks back, you’ll know that the Geena Davis Institute has a major focus on representation in games.

The organisation’s President and CEO Madeline de Nonno presented a conference session entitled ‘Why does representation in games matter?’ and, highlighting its latest research, offered some answers:

  • Women make up just under half of gamers across global markets (46% of American gamers, 47% of European gamers, 48% of Australian gamers, and 37% of Asian gamers).
  • Over 70% of respondents agree it is extremely important or very important that games feature diverse characters (70%) and stories (73%).
  • Women and nonbinary people, people of color, and disabled people are often underrepresented in popular video games.
  • Women are hypersexualized in video games (25% shown in revealing clothing and 12% shown in some state of nudity), and much more so than men (2% shown in revealing clothing and 3% shown in some state of nudity).

The insights of the research paper have demonstrated some clear opportunities for studios to broaden representation, and the Institute has published some recommendations, including:

  1. Diversify across Character Types
  2. Create Multidimensional Characters
  3. Recognise How Characters’ Identities Intersect with World-Building
  4. Incorporate Gameplay Mechanics That Actively Challenge Rigid Masculinity
  5. Incorporate Gameplay Mechanics That Actively Challenge Identity-Based Stereotypes
  6. Eliminate Sexualised Violence
  7. Broaden Characters’ Body Types to Tell New Stories
  8. Hire Balanced Developer Teams

The Geena Davis Institute will be continuing its work in this area, and Women in Games will be supporting the initiative. More details to follow.

To find out more and see the complete list of recommendations, see the full report.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash