PSA: Representation in Game Development

This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.

Last week we talked about how weaponizing women in the industry cripples everyone in it. This week’s topic was plucked right from the comment section of last weeks video:

The uncomfortable truth underneath why “representation” behind the scenes in video games is skewed heavily on men over women, and the issues with how the video game industry treats the workers that make it all happen. Unedited and off the top of my head, this is another PSA.

Remember to sound off in the comments below, and we might just get another topic out of it!

Michael Jordan

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Media, Marketing, Reviews, Interviews, and more. I do terrible things so you don't have to.Doing LIVE coverage of E3 to Tokyo Game Show for the last 10 years.

  • DrearierSpider

    There’s a never simpler explanation: most women DO NOT FUCKING LIKE VIDEO GAMES. I know this is a fact that progressives and corporate executives don’t like to admit, but it is a fact, and a blindingly obvious one at that.

  • disqus_2k2dp7DGgp

    It saddens me greatly that you guys have turned into yet another run-of-the-mill Kotaku/Polygon and that once again I am forced to look for a different source for gaming news/reviews.
    Michael has been abusing Nichegamer as his personal pillow to shout in for too long and I have zero desire to waste time reading an insecure man’s blog.

    Farewell, Nichegamer. I’ll try to remember you as you once were.
    Have fun being the next Polygon.
    Edit: inb4 someone calls me a SJW cuck/gamergate opposer, both of which I do not identify :^) with. I just want to read good, honest gaming news/reviews.

  • Mighty No. 56008

    You do realize this is an editorial. I would understand your disappointment if such opinions started to leak into reviews and such, and it got awfully close with the whole Zelda thing, but I don’t see that happening here.

  • Andrew Siribohdi

    Men are capable of writing female characters too. I don’t think it’s wise to limit who gets to write/develop female characters.

  • Mr0303

    No! Don’t go one-comment guy! The community is nothing without you!

    “desire to waste time reading an insecure man’s blog.” – it’s a video, not a blog.

  • Does not even have a user name and he is saying something like this, he did not even watch the video lol.

  • buddyluv324

    It just goes to shows that the people who try so hard pushing for representation in game development dont have a clue to how extremely demanding the gaming industry really is. This just shows a much dire issue than people care to discuss sadly, which is why there are games being released that are unfinished, broken, etc. Just having a even male/female ratio and having affirmative action in game development means nothing and ultimately pointless if they bring in people that dont realize what they’re getting into.

  • This comment has nothing to do with the video…. I am confused as to why you posted this, we are talking about work force representation.

  • Mr0303

    From a software developer’s perspective video games are a thankless job. You work longer hours, get paid less than a mundane job at a bank or a hedge fund and you have to deal with artists and game designers that have little to no technical knowledge. The only thing that would motivate you to create games is if you really like them and statistically women don’t like hardcore games as much as men.

    That being said a diversity quota does nothing for the industry but damage it. I’d rather competent people work on my games full stop. As a matter of fact my all time favourite video game writer is a woman – Amy Hennig. We can also list all the talented female artists, composers and VAs that currently work in video games, but it will never be enough for the perpetually offended crowd.

  • chaoguy

    Games development is hard, like you said. With the programming skills you have to work on a game, you could do other work that is less strenuous, and better paying. You have to be mad/passionate to make games. Not saying women can’t be that passionate about games, but like DrearierSpider says, most women don’t like games (and most women that do like games tend to prefer puzzle games and “less intense” genres IIRC).

    You could also dig into what industries women do/don’t go into.
    Will we see a trend where women don’t go for industries that need a “passion” because the job is hard & thankless? Do women prefer a constant paycheck rather than contract work?
    What are the trends of where women do and don’t work? I think that’s something you could have added to the video.

    The snipe at the Guardian was justified- but use wit rather than base insults IMO. Explain why they are bad. Most of us know it, but always source what you claim- even if it’s a snapshot of a clickbait URL.

    I thought the issue with Mighty No.9’s gameplay and their PR were not caused by the same people? Just two shitstorms in the same cup? (or rather, because they were willing to put up with that PR manager, they were gonna let shit slide in game development).

    Good work, but it did come across as a bit hectic and ad-lib. Maybe script your work in advance? If you have to use sequential art or game footage so you can read straight off the script- that’s fine to. Then again, whether natural commentary vs. scripted video is better comes down to personal taste.
    And never let the haters get to you. Most are doing it out of dogma, some are paid. Always listen to those who take time to explain.

  • How is us doing editorials suddenly making us dishonest? Do you realize this video more than likely aligns with your beliefs, coming from your comment? It trashes all the BS that we see with affirmative action, gender politics, etc.

  • I would personally argue its more nuetral than dislike. Its just the types of games are very different. Men tend to, in the west, gravitate to complex games, women tend to gravitate to more quick fix type games.

  • Well the idea is that i grab a topic and just “vent” of the top of my head in a one take in order to spur discussion. We encourage open arguments here, pro or con.

  • Also this is a great comment. Glad you watched the video.

  • buddyluv324

    I’d actually would be interested in seeing what types of games are popular with men and women and see a comparison between the western and eastern gamers.

  • Mighty No. 56008

    I understand the importance of “affirmative action” to provide equal opportunities for people of all different backgrounds, but the idea of having to hire a certain gender/race to meet some kind of a quota or ratio is just idiotic. Whatever happened to hiring someone based on their qualifications alone?

    Also it’s a no brainer that the low number of women in the industry is simply due to a lack of interest in the field and/or the lack of opportunity to get in. Both of these have changed though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the numbers go up in time.

  • Crizzyeyes

    It’s perhaps more true than you may think — although there are obviously games that women prefer over others, “serious” engagement with gaming as a hobby is much lower amongst women. For those who have not seen it, I highly recommend the Norwegian documentary miniseries “Hjernevask” (“Brainwash”). It is about the corruption of sociology and psychology in Scandinavian countries and there is an episode entirely dedicated to the sexes and how they are perceived. It’s mentioned that in Sweden, women have unparalleled freedom and opportunity to do any job they want. The funny thing is, surveys have shown that as women became more free in Sweden, they gravitated towards the traditionally female dominated jobs (teachers, nurses, receptionists) even more. I think you’re seeing a similar effect with video games — many women simply aren’t interested. It is freely available online and hosted by one of the most famous comedians in Norway.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hjernevask

  • Crizzyeyes

    The trends I’ve seen show that women find puzzle games more engaging and games that involve talking to people a lot (whether that be something as stiff as a VN or something more “gamey” like an RPG). They also like stories that aren’t awful.

  • Madbrainbox

    Found this old thread highlighting female artists.Their work is so beautiful.Quotas hurt them a lot I think.Their are where their are because of their hard work and in comes a no talent nobody that puts their job at risk because they are there for some arbitrary reason that has nothing to do with their skill set.
    http://polycount.com/discussion/140562/women-in-game-art

  • Interesting find, will be checking it out when i get to a PC, its not loading on my phone.

  • Dewey Defeats Truman

    There are like literally ten other articles posted today you could read instead.

  • DrearierSpider

    Ya, I’m aware that women gravitate to quick fix mobile games, hence where all those “48% of gamers are women studies” come from. But being into those types of games inherently means that they are less interested in the industry and medium of games in general, and thus less likely to work in it.

  • is this a new copy-pasta?

  • DrearierSpider

    Diversity hiring is what got us Mass Defect: Andromeda’s abominable animations, or at least appears to be. The lead animator had zero experience in video game animation, yet was somehow tasked with leading that department for one of the biggest franchises in the industry. I honestly can’t think of a single reason other than “diversity” that they’d hire such an incompetent fuck up.

  • chaoguy
  • Madbrainbox

    This was shared on twitter during GG to combat the “gamers want women out of the industry” bullshit.

    Here’s a sample:

    Kojima Ayami https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1f8055252a67d48f5d1f021dcf8316902fab5488b82ae2abfe372c48afe3bf3.jpg

  • chaoguy

    Thanks man.

  • chaoguy

    If there was 20 comments the same trying to generate faux outrage to get others to join in (without watching) It’d make sense. But it’s not even that.
    Someone didn’t pay very much for comments against you.

  • Madbrainbox

    I hear they managed to fix some of the animation problems.The main problem lies with the dialogue and how cringe inducing it is.Also,there’s Sera 2,0.I want an option to throw her out of an airlock.

  • Lucy Taylor

    So far, so many disgraceful anti-women comments in here.

    There is nothing wrong with diversity, gender quotas and affirmative action – it ensures that women are given an opportunity in workplaces that are originally dominated by men. It also stops biased male bosses from keeping women out of the industry.

    I think it’s time a lot of you need to learn that women are still discriminated against in the workplace. Not to mention academia.

    Gender quotas and Affirmative Action is something to be celebrated, because it ensures equality for women. Anyone who is against this rule very likely does not respect women.

  • Great comment, featured.

  • Are you trolling? Women go to college at record rates over men, and graduate in greater numbers. You must be high or a troll lol.

  • Feniks

    Well in my country it’s very simple: women DON’T WANT TO work full time. Can’t blame them either, why should they? When a country gets rich and life more comfortable there’s no need to slave away 40 plus hours a week. It kills your career though.

  • stullz

    There is nothing wrong with the idea of these things but in practice they create more problems than they help fix. My opinion is that hiring based on merit is the best way possible. Checking off the diversity/quota checklist just to fill in the ‘bingo’ only serves as a negative in the end.

  • Lucy Taylor

    I’m not trolling.

    In the past, it used to be boys and men that went to college at record numbers over women. I think when you consider that in mind, evening up the balance now may be a fair thing to do, don’t you think?

    And besides, it’s not women’s fault that a lot of men are too stupid and thick to get into college.

  • People should NOT be hired for their skin color, genitalia, or political ideology. A company should only hire people for their skill set they’ll use on the job. And if they don’t HAVE a skill set, the company should hire them either on their ability to learn the skills needed for said job, that they can learn on-the-job, or they should move on and hire a better person who already has the skills. It depends on the company. There are some companies who WANT those people who don’t have the skills, so they can train them the way they want them to be trained. Other companies don’t want to waste the time, money, or manpower to drag around the new hire and have the other employees train them.

    Does NOT caring what someone has between their legs when it comes to their job performance make me a sexist? Does not giving special attention to whether they have a dick or a vagina make me a misogynist? When it comes to working with someone, or having to wait on them to do a certain task, all I care about is whether or not they do their shit right. I don’t have a single damn to give about what’s between their legs.

    Affirmative Action, ultimately, hurts the work place Most of the time those diversity hires aren’t qualified for the job they’re supposed to fill in for. But regardless of how much they fuck up or don’t do their job, they’ll probably be able to hang on to their job so the company can keep up the “diversity quota.” On top of that, because that extremely under-qualified diversity-hire got the job, there’s no telling how many other qualified people have to go looking elsewhere for a job.

    Bigger companies will NEVER admit who is and isn’t a diversity hire, because then they’d be painted as sexist/racist/etc by the media for singling out a person who isn’t white or male to hire them on, even though that’s exactly what all these fussing is about: singling out non-white, non-male hires and adding them to the work place for social justice brownie points. On top of that, for all the unqualified diversity hires, there are other people who ARE qualified and are still out a job

    There is NOTHING wrong with having women, disabled people, and non-white people in the work place. If those people can do their jobs right and/or have the capabilities to learn and utilize the skill they need on the job, then hey more power to them. But if they get hired just to fill a diversity quote, and don’t have the skills/can’t learn the skills they need for the job, they shouldn’t be hired.

  • Mr0303

    He is a troll. Just look at the description.

  • Mr0303

    This is bait. Don’t fall for it.

  • Kiryu

    Liar,must be the patriarchy or the invisible glass ceiling preventing these women from work.

  • catazxy

    Nah, you are a confirmed troll, nobody could be that dense….

  • Kiryu

    Nobody could be that dense…i wouldn’t be so sure.

  • Kiryu

    Women on a whole don’t give a shit about videogames.I work with alot of women and none of the are gamers,it’s just reality.

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Yes, but the key words are “used to”. Now women have the same chances and opportunity to attend college/university, at least when we’re focusing on North America. Does that mean discrimination is also non existent? Of course not, and I don’t think it will ever go away when people are unable to fully accept the differences in people’s gender, race, culture, and religion.

    And the same can be said about how the job market is. There’s equal opportunity for all people of different backgrounds to get they type of job they want. However that doesn’t mean that certain career fields will reflect that when you simply look at who is actual getting employed. I think it’s far too narrow minded and misleading to just look at the gender ratio and scream “sexism” when it’s not an even 50/50.

    And besides, it’s not men’s fault that a lot women found video games to be “uncool” or “stupid” back in the 80’s and 90’s.

  • Kiryu

    I just hope she never has kids because i would feel really sorry for her boy.

  • Kiryu

    Special treatment is not equality,you can’t be that stupid to not understand that.
    Also respect is earned not given,you have alot to learn about life and growing up to do.

  • InkViper

    Quota hires are a bad idea, this is how we ended up with Louise Mensch, they needed someone who was mentally handicaped! lol…

  • Kiryu

    Look at Japan,lots of talented female artists and they don’t even need the quota b.s.

  • Kiryu

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out and keep sticking your head in the sand,everything’s fine in the videogame industry afterall.

  • Mr0303

    I doubt that it’s a woman.

  • Kiryu

    Agree,i work with women and none of them give a shit about video games.

  • Kiryu

    So you think it’s a self hating beta male?

  • Mr0303

    Possibly just a troll.

  • Kiwi Hoy

    See I disagree with the people on this site CONSTANTLY but this time I have to agree with them. Diversity quotas and affirmative action are bad because they assume that people deserve a position in a job or educational institute based PURELY on their gender/ race/ etc

    The fact of the matter is that they fly completely in the face of equality of opportunity. If someone is being given a position over you purely because they feel the need to meet a quota then you never had an opportunity to get that position regardless of how qualified you are

  • InkViper

    Of course, they tend to be a lot more meritocratic in practice.

  • InkViper

    So, if you’re not a troll, then you are a shill. Question is, which special interest group are you here on behalf of?

  • Uncle Ocelot

    Wouldn’t surprise me, honestly.

  • Lucy Taylor

    No troll, no shill. Just a gamer.

  • DrearierSpider

    The animation patch basically put a bandaid on a gunshot wound from what I saw. It fixed the eyes a little bit, but not much else.

  • Post Konami Kojima

    Tyler was better.

  • Post Konami Kojima

    Remeber when NG had well thought out, eloquently spoken and actually informative videos?
    What happened to those?

  • Feel free to head over to his channel and watch his content then :)

  • Ya Japan has a way better ratio of talent, I think its the way they approach art.

  • InkViper

    They moved office from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and promptly got attacked by the SJW vampires. They were never the same sense!

  • InkViper

    No troll, no shill, no gamer, Just a ideologue! Methinks…

  • Post Konami Kojima

    take a youtube channel someone else raised from birth and made it into what was, only to absolutely fucking ruin it?

  • Rough

    Video games industry and STEM have the same problem when it comes to the representation issue. Although both are more male-centric, it is too foolish to say that there are no women in these fields. As some posts have shown, females within the gaming industry do exist, and some of their work are pretty well-known.
    Now, here lies the usual question: How come males seem to have more exposure in these fields? Interest/preference would be my short answer. I may not be an expert psychology and those close to it, but from my observation alone I can tell that women just aren’t interested in going deep into gaming.
    You can only find few female hardcore gamers out there (and god bless them for that). I think this is why they don’t get represented as much. Since there’s more male core audience out there they might as well highlight male staffs as some sort of model.
    Another thing, as mentioned by a post, it’s a thankless job. There are so many people working in a game you can’t just blindly point at one of them. Most of the time they will look toward the top level of the team such as Lead designer, Director, and in some rare cases Composer, so it’s not a simple task.
    Also, forcing them in won’t make the situation any better. We all know nothing good ever happens when you put someone with no skill, passion, or both into the process.

  • Rough

    >Posts are stating facts and telling things based on observation
    >”muh anti-woman comments”
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8570f5bb737864c950fb08a99ff54145fdfd4e500b93e952601b05e48b563fde.jpg

  • AuraMaster DX (austin9568)
  • Nalferd

    Sadly this is the time we live in. If they disagree with your views, they won’t bother coming up with a counter argument and label you as “Evil”.

  • Nalferd

    Can’t enjoy his games without being a white knight.

  • Nalferd

    Sadly the company I work for is also doing this stupid diversity quota.

  • Nalferd

    Hey that is interesting. Is it explained in the documentary why is it like that?

  • le master trole

    I can’t decide whether I like you or Chocolate ISIScream more as the court jester.

  • le master trole

    Don’t worry. “Stronk womyn” think being a mother is oppressive and sexist.

  • le master trole

    I’ve seen enough on the internet to believe it could be.

  • le master trole

    girl gaymur
    never forget to mention it!

  • Zanard Bell

    Why does anyone need ‘representation’ in any job ever? Competence should be the only factor of measure, whether you are a man, woman or gay.

  • Obbliglol

    You can’t really tar a whole gender with the same brush though, there are some – they’re just rare. It’s like knowing your “gamer gurlsss XD” from your “female who likes playing games” – they are entirely different.

  • Obbliglol

    The way of speaking comes across as more of a /pol/ falseflag account (the buzzwords, the unbearable smugness). Doing God’s work, as usual.

  • Eden

    Affirmatice action is still a quota, it’s basically a thinly veiled way of saying “hire more people that aren’t white or male” which then leads companies to have unspoken quotas as they access their employees like inventory seeing how many black people or gays or women they have.

  • Eden

    Women aren’t NEEDED in any industry and neither are men for that matter. I don’t see why “representation” is even up for discussion.

    I’d rather have an industry with nothing but all white straight males if they were the only ones who liked said industry. Why have a bunch of whiny cunts who don’t like video games and are constantly trying to change it for their benefit? It’s like letting some chick move into your house only to have your entire house rearranged to fit her.

    Women who actually like video games exist and some of them become game developers, it doesn’t matter if it’s 2 women or 2 million women.

    The video game industry is currently doing everything they can to have female leads, female developers, and female iconic characters. If the same thing were being done for men, women would be screaming “sexism”. At this point, I’m ready to leave this so called “game industry” because it has no genuine value anymore. It’s like we’re just arguing over what type of propoaganda we want to digest.

    Lastly, it can be historically proven that whenever women get involved in ANYTHING, said thing becomes far less enjoyable because women have a natural instinct to “mother” everything up and they try and find some wounded tree to hug ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

  • Eden

    The reason why men aren’t going to college as much as women is because women actually get accepted more due to the secret quotas that exist behind closed doors.

    Accepting “people of color”, “LGBT” or “Women” will get you major brownie points with all kinds of financially run crowds. It’s profitable if your college/university can be touted as the most “diverse” college/university because of how many women, black people, or gays are there.

    Women who actually cared about college (or any career for that matter) wouldn’t need quotas and wouldn’t complain about representation. But notice how every woman who ever accomplishes ANYTHING must rant about how she did it for all the women out there…

  • Kiryu

    Well a box of cats it is then for her.

  • TsukuyomiMagi99

    Common sense isn’t so common nowadays.

  • TsukuyomiMagi99
  • Madbrainbox

    Well,these women are truly talented artists so they know how to create beautiful art.And the female body can be very beautiful.
    Also,I find the “objectifying” idea to be idiotic at best the way it’s used today in the vast majority of cases.
    Oh,and when it comes to women creating sexy female protagonists,here’s the queen: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6724986b782c4cb57763addba805fc0fa8b82fbb32c352c4846067fee25e8b51.jpg

  • TsukuyomiMagi99

    Sorry could you speak up this is all I hear from you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_BU5hR9gXE

  • SiliconNooB

    Just a reminder that Amy Hennig was frozen out of Naughty Dog by male feminist hipster douches!

  • Kiryu

    She doesn’t swallow the sjw propaganda,she’s the wrong kind of woman.

  • Kiryu

    It’s in the human nature to objectify one another but that’s something a feminist brain can’t grasp.Also Tsunako just like any other normal woman likes to draw sexy women,it’s just natural to like that.Only the mentally deficient complain about that nonsense.

  • Feniks

    I remember reading somewhere that most people in the videogames industry get out of it after a few years.

    Doesn’t seem like something I would want to do until retirement.

  • TsukuyomiMagi99

    This is how you know that feminism isn’t interested in equality but is more interested in supremacy.

  • Kiryu

    They never fooled me.Yes that’s what i also always said,they want supremacy it’s obvious for everyone now to see.

  • chaoguy

    Wow! Thanks man!!

  • Nagato

    Well, I was never a big fan of the vids after those short animations, but I have to agree I’m not feeling this at all.

    Would prefer to see more actual content like interviews with industry figures.

  • Nagato

    Well, Choco-kun is undoubtedly the cuter one of the two…

  • Asuka

    My 2 cents FWIW…

  • Duce Ralli

    Wrong article maybe?

  • Snorlaxation

    Diversity is never a bad thing in and of itself, but if it gets in the way of quality and complexity in games and characters, then something’s wrong.

    I get that some people get tired of the same old same old, or see games like the DOA series or other japanese games with girls that are treated like prizes or sex objects and think that’s how all games are, but simply thinking that more women behind the scenes would change that isn’t a one patch solution they seem to think it is.