It Pays to Hire Women in Games: Successful Female Game Devs Speak

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Part of the Leadership and Professional Development track at Gamesauce Conference, July 19 (right before Casual Connect Seattle 2010). …

Part of the Leadership and Professional Development track at Gamesauce Conference, July 19 (right before Casual Connect Seattle 2010).

A panel discussion with four female game devs, talking about their careers in the industry.
http://gamesauce.org/conference.html#leadership

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  • Solveig introduces herself, welcomes panel, welcomes audience.
  • References for above data written out for easy cut and paste: ESA Study quoted here: http:// www.theesa.com/newsroom/release_detail.asp?releaseID =26 n       40% of all US gamers are women (ESA 2008 Study)   IBIS Capital Report March 2010 (I don’t have a link to this, PlayFirst Marketing Manager provided the data): See the pie charts in the ppt. n       74% of casual game “payers” are women n       52% of all casual game players (paying and non-paying) are women   2005 IGDA Survey: * women make up 11.5% of game industry overall. http:// www.igda.org /game-developer-demographics-report     2010 Game Developer Salary Survey (I made this chart gathering up the data from each section): http://gamedeveloper.texterity.com/gamedeveloper/2010cg#pg1           Male    Female                  Business/Legal   75%   25%      Production   82%   18%      Audio   88%   12%      QA   89%   11%      Artists   92%   8%      Design   92%   8%      Programmers   95%   5%       2010 Game Developer Salary Survey       Anedotal data that I did not quote at the panel because it is too PlayFirst-centric.   •         70% of PlayFirst’s audience is women 35-55 •          PlayFirst  – example of 1 casual company – 38% female execs, 27% female designers – beating the odds!!! •         Female CEO •         Female VP Marketing •         Female GM social games (who has a background in engineering) •         Female Director of Sales.  
  • Logos added by Carrie Heeter, to serious-looking photo, taken by famous game designer in audience. 
  • http://gel.msu.edu/carrie/publications/aliengames.pdf
  • We also created the four boy game promos. You might notice the laser canon, the sword, and the slime...
  • Over 9 months, I poured over the notes, brainstorms, videos, and final presentations, and developed 3 minute promos based on each game concept, as if the game really existed. Worked with space scientist, one male and one female artist, and sound design team. Here are still shots from the four girl game promos. Dr. Evil Stinky and the Poison Cake, Desdemona IX...
  • (Photo of Train by John McKinnon) http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2010/03/09/brenda-brathwaites-train-when-knowing-the-game-changes-the-game/

Transcript

  • 1. Successful Female Game Developers Speak It Pays to Hire Women in Games LEADERSHIP & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT track, at the Gamesauce Conference, July 19, 2010 Organized by WIGI , IGDA Women in Games & WIG Vancouver
  • 2. Why this panel?
    • More Female GAMERS than ever before.
      • 40% of all US gamers are women (ESA 2008 Study)
      • 74% of casual game “payers” are women
    • Let’s take a moment to talk with four successful female game developers & leaders….
    • Not as many female game DEVELOPERS
      • women only made up 11.5% of game industry overall in 2005 IGDA survey
      • In 2010, data by discipline is slightly better, not by much….
    Source: IGDA 2005 Demographics survey; 2010 Game Developer Salary Survey; IBIS Capital Report March 2010 2010 Game Developer Salary Survey 5% 95% Programmers 8% 92% Design 8% 92% Artists 11% 89% QA 12% 88% Audio 18% 82% Production 25% 75% Business/Legal       Female Male  
  • 3.
    • Solveig Pederson Zarubin (moderator)
      • Producer, PlayFirst
    • Brenda Brathwaite
      • Creative Director, Lolapps
    • Anne Grant
      • Game Production Manager, Her Interactive
    • Carrie Heeter
      • Professor, Michigan State University
    • Maryann Klingman
      • Developer Relations Manager, PlayFirst
    introductions
  • 4. Photo of the Panel
  • 5. Carrie Heeter, Ph.D.
    • Professor of Serious Game Design, Michigan State University
    • Creative Director for Virtual University Design and Technology (VUdat) at Michigan State University.
    • Founder and curator, http:// investigaming.com , gathering research findings on gender and gaming. 
    • Software designs won more than 50 awards, including Discover Magazine’s Software Innovation of the Year.
  • 6. THE “ALIEN” STUDY
    • Females too often “alien” to video game design teams
    • THE STUDY: Boys and Girls worked in same gender same grade teams to invent space exploration learning games.
    • Girl designers, even as kids, consider and accommodate the possibility that males may play their games.
      • 1 group named the main character “SAM” so it could work for male or female player
      • Kids who saw promos thought Girl-designed games were more for everyone
    • Boy designers did not consider female players.
      • 3 of the 4 Boy groups never discussed the possibility that females might play their game.
      • The 4 th group offered a choice of 5 avatars, 2 of them female. Both female avatars were “bad-tempered.”
      • Kids who saw promos thought Boy-designed games were more for boys
    • From study - Alien Games: Do girls prefer games designed by girls?
      • (Published in Games & Culture Journal (2009) – Heeter, Egidio, Mishra, Winn, Winn
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9. Brenda Brathwaite
    • Creative Director, Lolapps, working on social media games and entertainment products
    • Veteran game designer and artist, making games since 1981
      • according to the research of Ernest Adams , is “the longest-serving female game developer in the business”.  
    • Most recently won the Vanguard award at Indiecade for her non-digital game Train.
      • Part of non-digital game series “The Mechanic is the Message”
    • Worked on classic series such as Wizardry and Jagged Alliance as well as the Dungeons and Dragons franchise.
  • 10. Anne Grant
    • Game Production Manager at Her Interactive
      • Computer science background
      • Contributes to our 5% engineers stat
    • 17 games and 8 years at Her Interactive – Nancy Drew & Dossier line
    • Working in a wide variety of areas from QA to Scripting, Program Management, Localization and Digital Distribution.  
  • 11.
    • 17 Years of Production Experience in the Gaming Industry
      • Producer
      • Director
      • Developer Relations Manager
    • Work Environments
      • Electronic Arts
      • Disney
      • Mattel
      • The Learning Company
      • PlayFirst
    • Produced and Shipped over 40 Titles Working with
    • Major Licensors and/or on Top-Tier Brands
      • Warner Brothers
      • DC Comics
      • PlayFirst’s Dash™ Titles
    • Work/Life Balance
      • 2 1/2 years sailing the Caribbean with husband
      • 2008 return to workforce at PlayFirst
      • Raised two daughters, one a Producer in the gaming industry ☺
    Maryann Klingman
  • 12. QUESTIONS
  • 13. ORIGINS
    • How did you get into the game industry? Why were you interested?
  • 14. MEMORIES
    • Any memorable moments from your career as a woman in the game industry?
  • 15. OUTREACH
    • How can everyone in this industry reach out to women and girls – make them more aware of gaming as a career?
    • Are young women already aware of the industry?
  • 16. MOTIVATION
    • How do each of us stay motivated?
  • 17. LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH
    • Tips on growing career in the long –term?
    • Work-life balance issues
  • 18. QUESTIONS FOR THE PANEL?
    • Solveig Pederson Zarubin (moderator)
      • Producer, PlayFirst
      • twitter @sunpath
      • Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/solveigpederson
    • Brenda Brathwaite
      • Creative Director, Lolapps & IGDA Board Member
      • twitter @bbrathwaite
      • http://bbrathwaite.wordpress.com/about/
    • Anne Grant
      • Game Production Manager, Her Interactive
      • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/anne-grant/20/467/6b0
    • Carrie Heeter
      • Professor, Michigan State University
      • @carriejill (emerging media) and @tc841 (design research)
      • CV: http:// gel.msu.edu/carrie
    • Maryann Klingman
      • Developer Relations Manager, PlayFirst
      • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maryann-duringer-klingman/2/8b0/943
  • 19. Post Panel Summary
    • Karen Clark (@clarkkaren), moderator of the “Building the Next Generation of Rockstars” panel, tweeted during this panel, as below:
    • ·         The "alien" study: 3 of 4 boys made games only for boys. Girls designed games with the possibility boys would play. # gamesauce
    • ·         Mother-daughter game designers. Second-generation industry professionals! # gamesauce
    • (this was regarding Maryann Klingman and her daughter who works at EA, most recently on the Spore line. Also Brenda Brathwaite and her young daughter who designs board games).
    • ·         Awareness of games by younger women so different than the experience women in the industry had even 10 years ago. # gamesauce
    • ·         (yes, REALLY!)
    • ·         Game industry people - make a plan to talk to some kids about making games. I promise they will be interested! # gamesauce
    • ·         Women heading lots of game dev programs at colleges and universities - major touch point for girls who want to make games! # gamesauce
    • ·         Women have more opportunities now in college, at least, to start a career in games. (Game design programs in the US and Canada) # gamesauce
    • Link to Solveig’s blog post on the PlayFirst blog:
      • http://blog.playfirst.com/2010/07/playfirst-casual-connect-gamesauce-women-in-games-panel/
    • Link to VentureBeat wrapup of Casual Connect in general
      • (This panel and Gamesauce overall not mentioned, but PlayFirst CEO Mari Baker’s speech is mentioned, pointing out that she is one of the few female CEOs in the casual game industry, which markets largely to women. Also writer Dean Takahashi made a small mistake – Mari’s story about the employee who hung out at the maternity ward to learn about the user base, was from BabyCenter, not a game developer. (See also the relatively few other women pictured in the photo gallery…one of my goals for this panel was to feature women that we don’t always get to hear from.)
      • http://games.venturebeat.com/2010/07/23/casual-games-expand-in-new-directions-at-seattle-conference-photo-gallery/
    •