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EA’s LGBT event calls for diversity in ‘white dude’ industry

Friday, 8th March 2013 11:11 GMT By Dave Cook

EA’s Full Spectrum event kicked off in New York yesterday, to discuss the industry’s approach to LGBT issues at large. The overall response is that more diversity is needed, and that the perception is that the industry is still very much the domain of ‘white dudes’.

The event saw a long list of gaming and equal rights figures take to the stand and discuss some of the industry’s prevalent issues in detail, to try and raise awareness and spark discussion. Get the full list of speakers here.

Caryl Shaw, executive producer at Kixeye said of gender inequality within the industry, “It’s a white dude-ly industry, still. In general it is still a very hard place for women to get in, and that’s got to change. I hope women are reaching out, doing internships and trying to mentor women.

“I’ve been really lucky, but I also have a really big mouth; I’ve gone out and said, ‘I’m going to be out, I’m going to be really loud, I’m going to try to tell my story and get more women involved because I want things to change.’ I want the next generation of game developers to not be 15 percent women, 85 percent men.”

Ford Foundation president Luis A. Ubinas said in a different session, “With relentless pressure, change is possible. Attitudes can evolve, and a nation and society can be transformed. I want to emphasise the importance of the role [game developers] could play. The images you present and the interactions you allow are going to help shape the future.”

“For [players] to enter fantasy worlds where they can be free to hold hands with a person of their choosing regardless of gender, or make a home with a partner of their choosing… that means they can move from the passive world of television, where they can see other people doing these things, to the active world of gaming, magnifying the impact that we know media can have,”

There are many questions surrounding LGBT issues that have yet to be discussed in such an open forum, but EA’s first step is a positive one. What do you make of the event, and the issues? Let us know below.

Thanks Gamasutra and GI.biz.

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14 Comments

  1. Samoan Spider

    I’m all for attitudes changing and acceptance. However, everyone should be seen and judged purely on their merits. If those 85% men and 15% women are the very best that present themselves to their respective employers, then that’s that. Those who aren’t getting in need to work harder. What I do feel now is that with this drive for diversity and equality, good hard working people are not getting employed BECAUSE they’re white, male, middle-aged, straight, married blah blah blah. This misses the point of equality and needs to be addressed.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    @1: Exactly. Diversity for diversities sake is just plain dumb and it does not work:

    http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/03/diversity-training-doesnt-work.html

    #2 2 years ago
  3. IncognitoMode

    I think to do this you can’t just change attitudes within the game industry but attitudes in society as a whole will need to change in regards to games and gaming. I can only speak for myself and where I study which is an IT school that does everything from programming, game-programming, 3D graphics, game design and various other bachelor degrees mostly related to technology and the male to female rate is somewhere along the line of 1 in 10 in my freshman bachelor class which consists of 200+ students and maybe 20-25 of them are female).

    You can’t expect to see more females working in the game industry until there is an adequate amount of females getting the related degrees. The companies that frequent the school love the female students so by all means they aren’t hindered in that regard in that companies host events and there is a student body at the school for the sole purpose of getting the female students involved with the companies hosting these events. Companies want more diversity at least that is my impression but that is hard when there only 1/10 student is female.

    For example I know that on some of the programming bachelors there aren’t even any females at all so how can game developers be expected to hire a workforce that doesn’t exist?

    Keep in my this post is based on my first hand experience and how it is at my school and does in no way represent how it is on a larger scale outside my school. This might be quite different elsewhere since I go to a relatively small school and I don’t have the knowledge to speak on how schools outside of mine are but if it is like this at other school there is no wonder that 85% of the workforce is male is my point here.

    Personally I think this as a bit to do with the stigma of videogames that persisted in society for a long time, there still is a stigma related to it for a lot of people and when that change we will see more females in the industry.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Gnosis

    #3: At my college there are around 400 – 500 new students each year, that start studying computer science. And about 10 to 30 of them are female. Yeah…

    I get the feeling that some ppl, including developers themselves don’t quite understand how deep the problem actually goes. There are so many aspects, that are simply ignored. Equality doesn’t mean to have a 50% of men and women in the industry. It means to give them the same chances to get a job. Everything else is favouritism. You can go and encourage women to get into the industry, that’s ok. I know that many of them don’t have the confidence to try it out. That’s why I think, that Sony’s G.I.R.L. initiative is fine. But as long as the “minorities” (let’s call them minorities, since we’re not talking about women only) don’t try to stand up and show that they’re interested, there won’t be any change. There has to be a willingness to cooperate from both sides.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ps3fanboy

    fuck ea and anyone that support this horrid company must be stupid. dont people learn from the simcity scandal???

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @5

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    Diversity? Hell, I’d be happy with working servers.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Samoan Spider

    @6 Now I have all his lines from the movie rattling around my head. Thanks for that ;)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @8 Any time…

    …over here…over here….any time….turn around…

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Samoan Spider

    @9 Not to mention ‘I ain’t got time to bleed!’ and ‘This stuff will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me’ :) Damnit there goes my afternoon!

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Samoan Spider

    Oh, and back on topic, if anyone thinks that these equality and diversity types are fighting the good fight just check this nonsense they’re trying to sneak through the European Parliament next week. This is the kind of sweeping powers that they want. Scary right? -> http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-03/07/eu-porn-vote-ban

    #11 2 years ago
  12. rusty_shackleford

    #5

    Anyone who fell for sim city is dumber than a rock, this isnt the first time EA has bought a franchise and released a crap-tacular sequel/reboot trying to cash in on the brand recoginition before people realize EA bought up that company.

    bioware and dragon age
    westwood and c&c
    maxia and the sims

    etc etc etc. ea does it over and over, they have killed many of the best franchises from the 90s and 2000s just by buying them up and pumping out garbage games.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Rafa_L

    @3 I understand what you said, and I agree with @1 that you shouldn’t hire unqualified people because of diversity. But if you work in gaming, you work with fiction, a good writer can’t create 50 characters like him, he has to get out of his comfort zone. So I think it’s not only about prejudice in real life and companies hiring “the white dude” instead of diverse ones, it’s about the straight white guys trying to understand women, black and gay people, etc, to include them properly in their fiction, after all, we all want to spend money with games, but not only for the game play, for the story, for our emotional involvement, to live a fantasy, to relate to characters, etc.

    @4 The problem with standing up to try, is if the “majority” is close minded they will suffer a lot to get there. A gay friend of mine studied computer science, and he gave up, because even not coming out, he had to listen to people making prejudice remarks about homosexuality often. Tough he had the same interests as the other students, he didn’t feel comfortable and end up making no friends. And I don’t blame him, bullied people know what’s like to go everyday to a place where you feel hostilized, it’s no way to live. The change needs to come from all of us, not just from the “minority” going through hell to make a stand.

    @11 Come on, are you serious? You are talking about just a group of people and generalizing for all the “diversity types”. Women, black people, gays, little people, old people etc can be as racist, arrogant, intolerant and terrible people as any other, that doesn’t mean you’ll stand against all of them because of some. There are lots of “diversity types” fighting the good fight.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Samoan Spider

    @13 Yup, I was generalising. You’re quite right. There’s plenty of people doing good things, and I can’t deny what EA are trying to achieve here is also good. But there are also plenty with a less than honest agenda. My generalisation was purely in the context of the link and probably should’ve been much more directed. Poor wording on my part :(

    #14 2 years ago

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