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Google Research Shows Lack Of Female Inclusion In Mobile Gaming

While the findings of the research are very disheartening, It is positive that Google are doing so much exciting work to address the problem. If you are affected by anything touched on within this update - follow the links to our support services throughout the article.

Recent research undertaken by Google has revealed that although women now make up half of mobile gamers, and play more frequently than men, they are being let down by the lack of females in the industry, with game developers, gaming culture and the games themselves very much male orientated – with 25% of male mobile gamers surveyed saying that they would play more often if they knew that they were playing with other males.

“The male preference for gameplay within their own gender group may produce exclusionary interactions which trickle down and make female players feel less welcome.”

Google spokesperson

The research, based on a survey of over 3,000 women between the ages of 10–65 found that women are more likely than men (64% to 38%) to prefer mobile gaming over other gaming platforms with 43% of women surveyed playing 5 times a week or more compared to 38% of men. Even though the results show movement in the gaming industry beyond its traditional young male demographic the survey shows that only 23% of female gamers believe that there is equal treatment or opportunities in gaming.

“This research clearly shows that there is a lot more work to be done within the gaming industry to level the playing field for females. Not only in how women are treated in game but also from an industry and development perspective.”

Iain Alexander, Head of Engagement, The Cybersmile Foundation

Despite these figures showing that mobile gaming is becoming more popular with women than men, Google found that out of the top 100 mobile games on Google Play, there were 44% more male characters being used on App Icons than female ones. 60% of women surveyed thought that 30% or less of games were made for women and less than 25% of the industry workforce was female or transgender.

In an effort to address the growing issues surrounding females in gaming, Google have launched a number of incentives to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. These include the “Change the Game” incentive that is planning diversity programs, partnerships, and research throughout 2018, starting by highlighting games on the Play Store. There will also be incentives that look at highlighting female roles and characters, and another that looks at how to increase the number of opportunities for women in game development.

In addition, throughout 2018, Google plans to highlight women players and the diversity of games as well as support development of more inclusive games and narratives. They have also produced a set of guidelines for game developers that will help them to create games that are more diverse in their design, and most importantly, more welcoming for female gamers.

Cybersmile are committed to a truly inclusive internet where everybody feels free to express themselves and communicate regardless of their identity. For further information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the suggestions below.

What are your thoughts about inclusion in mobile gaming? Tweet us @CybersmileHQ.