Google Play announces a new diversity initiative called ‘Change the Game.’ Change the Game aims to highlight the diversity of female players of mobile games, to encourage more women to join the games industry, and to promote games with female protagonists.
Change the Game is just the latest Google Play program with a focus on diversity. In September it announced Infinite Deviation: Games which provides support for diverse mobile game developers.
Google Play: 65% of Women Between 10 and 65 Play Mobile Games
As part of its Change the Game campaign, Google Play teamed up with market intelligence firm Newzoo to conduct a study on the demographics of mobile gamers. 3,000 people were surveyed (2,000 women and 1,000 men) and the results (PDF) confirm that 49% of mobile gamers are women. The study also reveals that 65% of women aged between 10 and 65 years old play mobile games.
But these women don’t feel represented or included in the mobile gaming space as 60% of the women who play games feel that 30% or fewer of mobile games are made for them. But who can blame them? The Google Play report also reveals that out of the top 100 grossing Google Play games, 44% more of the app icons include male characters rather than female characters.
Moreover, 47% of men who play a lot of mobile games (10 hours or more a week) say that they would spend more time playing games if they knew that they were playing with or against players of their own gender. Only 10% of women agreed with the same statement.
On the game development side of things, Google Play notes that just 27.% of people in the games industry identify as female or as a non-binary gender identity. Just 23% of women in the games industry (and 40% of men) feel that there is “Equal treatment and opportunity for all in the games industry.”
The exclusion of women in the games industry is systemic and stems from decades of women being told that they don’t belong and that their thoughts and contributions (as gamers and creators) aren’t valuable. The lack of diversity in gaming isn’t going to change overnight but with Change the Game, Google Play does hope to move that along a bit and is actively working to make women feel more included in gaming.
It plans to showcase indie games with female protagonists, such as Monument Valley 2, Her Story, and Lumino City (the collection can be found here). It has partnered with Girls Make Games to “create opportunities for girls to envision, design and develop mobile games,” while Google’s Made With Code program will introduce teen girls to computer science, helping them to develop their own games.
Throughout 2018, Google Play will aim to “correct misconceptions by featuring the diversity of gaming interests and experiences of female players.” The Change the Game video above is part of that and includes women of color, old women, young girls, and lesbian couples too. Gaming is something everyone can enjoy and no one should ever feel like that isn’t the case.
Admittedly, Google Play does have a vested interest in making more women feel welcome as female players will play and spend more if encouraged to do so. But that doesn’t make this campaign any less vital and we look forward to seeing how Change the Game will grow and expand next year as well.
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