Inclusion is in our mission statement, and it’s something we strive for in practice every day. We mean that in every way. We want to ensure that all representative groups feel welcome in our community and gaming at large. Women are a massive part of that, and we are thrilled to have an incredible presence of female gamers within our Ritual Motion community, (over 50% in-fact). Unfortunately, the gaming industry at large has not historically been as inclusive of women. It’s important to note that history, and it’s also important to promote the positive change that has been happening so that it keeps happening. We hope to do both of those things.
Growing presence, but a persistent gap in representation
Despite the near-equal numbers of female gamers now, when people think of gamers, too often they still think of young men. Some are reminded of Gamergate—the massive industry-wide controversy in 2014 based on sexism and discrimination in gaming culture, where one faction argued for better inclusion of women in gaming, while another essentially argued for misogyny and the continuation of sexist and anti-feminist roles and stories.
But as of 2019, female gamers make up 46 percent of all gamers, numbering nearly 1 billion in total, and 2016 data reports that nearly 70 percent of match 3 and simulation game players are women. With those numbers, you’d hope the games would correlate. Yet, as Wired reported last year, only 5 percent of games in 2019 had female protagonists. Around 65 percent did have multiple options, one of which could be female, but compared to the 22 percent of games that distinctly had a male protagonist, the inequity is quite clear.
It is vital that the presence and voices of female gamers continue to be amplified. Not only that, but it’s also important for game developers to hire more women, to actively seek out female creators to be a part of crafting storylines and building game worlds and characters in order to dismantle the stereotypes of female characters, more accurately portray women in stories and eradicate any instances of hyper- and techno-masculinity within the gaming community. The International Game Developers Association’s 2019 Game Developer Satisfaction Survey Summary Report, which was released in January, showed some progress in this area: men accounted for 71 percent of developers, where women accounted for 24 percent—up from 74 percent men and 21 percent women in the 2017 report. Yet again, however, there’s a long way to go to close that percentage gap.
Equal by design
Despite all the ground the industry still needs to cover, gaming is by default (as we wrote about in this post), activity and sport that is inherently less affected by physiological differences between men and women. Therefore, it levels the playing field. You do not need to be a six-foot-tall muscle machine to be a great gamer. You do not need to be little and lithe to be a great gamer, either. While of course being physically active outside of gaming is good for your health, and will thus be good for your gaming, it is not required in order to beat any game. In fact, one study published last year collected data from female gamers around the world and found that women from every continent reported playing all types of videogames—regardless of their level of competition, violence, or physicality.
You can also elect to keep your identity a mystery when you play. Which for some people allows them to immerse themselves into the games in a way they like, and makes them more comfortable and able to play without outside constructs.
There have been plenty of rock-solid female gamers rising through the ranks over the last several years, inspiring female gamers everywhere and reaching icon status for gamers of all gender identities. As far as earnings go, perhaps the most famous is Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, a competitor in StarCraft II. She is ranked #9 in Canada and #294 in the world. Behind Scarlett comes Katherine “Mystik” Gunn, of Halo 4 repute, ranking #156 in the United States and #755 in the world, followed by trans player and activist Ricki Ortiz, a fighting games player ranked #234 in the U.S. and #1111 worldwide.
But YouTube fame highlights a different group of talented women, beginning with Minecraft superstar and long-time gamer Tiffany Garcia, known as iHasCupquake. She has 6.7 million subscribers on her channel and her videos have reached nearly 2.8 billion views. SSSniperWolf (née Lia) is even more of a gaming household name, with over 20.1 million subscribers to her channel, and whose videos have reached over 6 billion views. Her game coverage has run the gamut, but the favorite is Call of Duty LDShadowLady, or Lizzy, also in the Minecraft universe. She has over 5 million subscribers and over 1.5 billion views. These women all have immense influence in the gaming sphere, and this list just scratches the surface of female gamers dominating the arena.
Committed to equality
Gaming is like any other sport, society, or community in that it needs women’s voices and female representation to complete it. Ritual Motion is excited to see the industry continuing to grow in its inclusion and amplification of women in gaming, and we are devoted to always being a part of that.
Lift up female gamers, and Win Well.