65% of gamers want more diversity in video games, reveals a new study by Bond University and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA).
The two organisations surveyed Australians to find out their video gaming habits and the demographic of gamers in the country, including age and gender.
Australian Gamers Ask for More Gender, Age Diversity in Games
For the Digital Australia 2018 study, Bond University and IGEA surveyed 1,234 households and 3,315 individuals about their gaming habits. 67% of those surveyed play games, with 65% of players saying that they would like more age diversity in video game characters, while 66% said that they would like more diversity in terms of gender.
Interestingly, the way that the demographics of Australia’s gaming population line up suggest that it isn’t just older people and women asking for older characters and female protagonists. 43% of people aged 65 and over play video games, though the average age of a gamer is 34 years old. 46% of gamers are women, the survey confirms, which is similar to the demographics of gamers in other regions.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear when these gamers are going to get that desired diversity in their games. According to a previous IGEA survey, the Australian games industry is just 19% female meaning that Australia’s female gamers are severely underrepresented. The make up of the industry is unclear but older characters remain few and far between (Reinhardt and Ana in Overwatch remain two rare examples.)
There are already some Australia-specific initiatives to improve this, though, such as one college offering a $500,000 scholarship designed to encourage diversity in the industry. But even improving the diversity of the industry does not come with a guarantee that age and gender diversity in games will be improved, as long as the diversity isn’t reflected in decision makers as well. It’s also unclear how soon it will take to impact the quality of these portrayals in addition to the quantity – as female characters are still hyper-sexualised.
Having data is the first step to making positive change, though. So hopefully Australian games industry – as well as the wider, global gaming sector – can take notice of this and finally take action.
Like this post? Like J Station X on Facebook.