Microsoft Narrative Designer Calls Women the ‘New Core’ of the Games Industry

According to Tom Abernathy, diversity makes good business sense.

For those who would argue that the extreme lack of female protagonists is just an unfortunate side effect of the fact that games need to make money, a narrative designer from Microsoft has a suggestion for why increasing diversity in games might actually make good business – as well as moral – sense. In a post entitled “Diversity means dollars”, GamesIndustry reports on a talk that Tom Abernathy made earlier today at the Game Developers Conference, in which he says that women are “the new core” of the industry.

According to statistics from the Entertainment Software Association and research from PopCap, 47% of those who play games are female. Abernathy draws attention to the fact that adult women make up 30% of the game-playing population, where only 18% of that population fits the stereotypical “gamer” mould: under the age of eighteen, and male. Once you know that, it seems very narrow-minded to tailor the content of your ames to appeal to straight white male teenagers. Not only that, but it doesn't seem to make much business sense.

Abernathy spoke about the progress the US is making with regards to diversity, what with a black president and the approval of same-sex marriage in several states, and compares that to the restrictive nature of the games industry.

“Our industry, our art, and our business stand to gain in every sense simply by holding a mirror up to our audience and reflecting their diversity in what we produce.”

Surely greater diversity is in the future of games? From a business point of view, won't companies benefit from being among the first to take the leap?