It's International Women's Day, which seems as good a time as any to take stock in how much progress the industry has made in its efforts to become a welcoming place to women.
Take this column, for example. There was a time when gaming magazines could go months or even full years without including a woman in its movers-and-shakers quote round-up articles. Yet here we are, with a weekly round-up where seven of the ten quotes below are from women!
I mean, sure, one of the women is a doctor working in addiction, and another's a politician, so they're not really in the games industry, and they're both fairly critical of the industry.
And yes, some of the quotes are about a company known for its poor treatment of women employees, the historical absence of women in gaming spaces, or the dominant PC storefront trying to legitimize a game built explicitly around violence against women. But at least a few of them are just prominent women talking about relevant issues with the same authority and respect that any man would have in that situation. So hooray progress, I guess?
Speaking of Valve's efforts to destroy any scrap of credibility it or this industry has ever had when it comes to acting with an ounce of social responsibility, consider this a CONTENT WARNING: The last two quotes of the column deal with sexual violence against women. If you don't want to dunk your head in that particular toilet, stop reading once you get past the Apex Legends STAT entry below.
Also, it would be really nice to be able to write comprehensively about the games industry without having to use content warnings. Let's make that a goal to shoot for, OK people?
QUOTE | "I feel like there are all these red flags, canary-in-the-mine moments where things are clearly not working the way they used to, or not working." - Former Uncharted franchise creative director Amy Hennig says regular mass layoffs are a sign that AAA development must change, and she believes a shift to outsourcing "feels inevitable."
QUOTE | "No, unionization is not going to fix everything that's wrong with the industry, but by God it will help." - Systems designer Seth Rosen, who worked on BioShock Infinite and Mafia III, talks about the damage done by crunching on those games and having to re-learn what it means to live a healthy life.
QUOTE | "In the 12 months of 2016, the top 10 influencers covered around 300 different games and this reduced to only 28 different games by 2018. This is a clear indication that influencers are focusing on what drives the most views and/or the relationships they are forging with major publishers, with half of those 28 selected games being AAA console titles." - Fancensus founder and managing director Kerri Davies tracks a number of changes in the way YouTube and Twitch stars cover games.
QUOTE | "For the first time since the birth of the modern entertainment business in the late 1950s, more revenue is coming from payments for access rather than purchase in all three sectors - music, video and games... It is nothing less than a revolution in the entertainment business." - Entertainment Retailers Association CEO Kim Bayley said the advent of subscription services has created a "Generation Rent," for whom ownership of the content they consume is by no means a prerequisite.
QUOTE | "Leading up to the crisis that we had as a company, our failure was we were building a really fantastic diversity and inclusion strategy, but it did not go deep enough to actually change critical components of our culture that we just assumed were untouchable, that they will be permanent. But culture is not permanent. It's never permanent." - Riot Games diversity and inclusion lead Soha El-Sabaawi talks about the company's efforts to change its work culture at a Women in Gaming panel held for International Women's Day at Ubisoft Toronto.
QUOTE | "I think the gaming industry needs to play its part. It needs to take on the responsibility of making sure it is not polluting the world out there with stuff that is harmful." Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, director of National Problem Gambling Clinic, would prefer the games industry reconsider some of the ways it promotes addictive play rather than fund research and potentially compromise its results.
QUOTE | "A lot of women are out here that can play at a very high competitive level, but they're afraid of how things could turn out because of their gender. I tell people all the time that barriers are made to be broken. I'm one of the first to do that, but that's just the beginning." - Chiquita Evans, who this week became the first woman drafted into the NBA 2K League, talks about her path to the pros.
QUOTE | "As Apple charged ahead with new devices and versions of iOS, a growing trend seemed clear: With each leap forward, pieces of the App Store's history became lost." - Former TouchArcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp is worried that the history of mobile gaming is rapidly being erased.
STAT | 50 million - Number of registered Apex Legends players in the game's first month.
QUOTE | "After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think 'Rape Day' poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won't be on Steam." - Valve's Erik Johnson implies that Steam would be just fine selling Rape Day, a visual novel about raping people, if it knew it wouldn't be sued or lose business as a result.
QUOTE | "The culture to seek forgiveness rather than permission is a stain on an industry that otherwise has the potential to be a real force for good." - Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell calls for a government review of how tech companies, specifically Steam, can get away with "stupidity" like allowing Rape Day to appear on its storefront at all.