Monday, July 15, 2024

Women gamers and developers making their mark in the gaming arena

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The Indian gaming business has benefited greatly from the current pandemic (which is mostly due to online gaming), as it was the only form of entertainment available prior to the OTT platforms.

As a result of the epidemic, gaming is now seen as an enjoyable hobby to do with family and friends while staying at home. Furthermore, gaming is now being adopted by a bigger audience in India, and its base is rapidly expanding.

There has been no major shift in the gender equation in the gaming space due to the pandemic. Even though gaming in the past was always stereotyped to be men’s dominant hobby, women, and girls were actively becoming a part of the gaming ecosystem.

For instance, even at our arena 40-45% of the players have always been women. We have not witnessed any surge or dip in the same period while we opened for a brief period between the 1st and 2nd waves of the pandemic. Hence, I believe it’s not the pandemic, per se, which has led to any change in the gender equality of the players’ mix but there is an overall evolution in the mindset of Indians and everyone is now moving away from the stigmatized belief that gaming is only for men. Women are actively enjoying gaming, be it as a casual experience or as a serious gamer!

Women are rapidly catching up to male dominance in the VR gaming arena, with nearly 45 percent of players currently being female! Women today are motivated by the YOLO mentality and are more open to experiencing revolutionary and heart-pounding experiences, so it’s only logical that they’d gravitate toward gaming and virtual reality.

Based on my own experience, I feel that the growing number of women in VR gaming can be divided into two groups: those who want to test unique VR experiences that allow them to escape reality and enter a whole different universe, and those who are hardcore gamers!

The gaming industry may not have been constructed to meet the unexpectedly increased demand from female gamers, but as the saying goes, ‘Visibility brings Change,’ and this burgeoning development of women in the gaming industry is causing the entire gaming ecosystem to adapt and fulfill their wants.

As we all know, there are two types of female gamers: hard-core gamers who appreciate the competitiveness and adrenaline of gaming, and casual gamers who prefer gaming as an experience. There are ongoing developments and modifications to catch both of them in order to grow the gaming community as a whole.

Women entering the gaming space are acting as disruptors and pushing for the creation of content that meets their tastes and liking. Driving for better innovation and making gaming an experiential activity, has helped in growing past the gaming content of shooting and racing games only (games largely associated to provide a thrill to men) and led to the creation of games of different genres such as role-playing games, adventure games, puzzle games and so on. Another big adaptation within new content has been the inclusion of female characters in the games and the overcoming of sexism.

Developers are now coming up with more games that have female protagonists compared to only male protagonists previously. In 2020 alone, the new games with more female leads were ~18% higher compared to an average of 5% over the past years!!!

-Further, more and more women workforce are joining the industry and taking entrepreneurial roles in the gaming industry. Global industry efforts like, UK based , #RaisetheGame campaign, Ubisoft announcing appointment of more women leaders to accelerate cultural shift within the organization, are all in the direction of inclusion and acceptance of women in the gaming industry.

With the larger global companies already on it, I believe, it is a matter of few years when the Indian gaming companies will also catch up and then the complete evolution of the gaming industry involving women at par will be witnessed.

Hence, with the entrance of women in the gaming industry which was not really designed for them, companies are coming to terms with the fact that for thriving in this space the bridge of gender inequality which existed here needs to be overcome (and real soon) as tapping them will definitely add to their next level growth!

(The writer is Parinitaa Rajgarhiaa; Founder of Zero Latency, Mumbai)

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