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Challenging The Rules: Women’s Roles in Gaming in 2014

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As the number of female gamers rises, can the same be said of female game developers?

By Darina Olefirenko (Creative Media Specialist, Plarium)

In 2012, games project specialist, Luke Crane, tweeted a simple question: “Why are there so few lady game creators?”

Immediately, a wave of pent-up frustration flooded social media platforms and opened a wound that had been hurting for quite some time.

In response, women executives within the gaming industry joined in as the conversation heated up, including Tomb Raider scriptwriter Rhianna Pratchett, who helmed the now-famous hashtags #1ReasonWhy and #1ReasonToBe.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, in 2013 the percent of women gamers rose to 45% in the U.S. market. As we see more and more female gamers, we’re also starting to see the number of female developers rise in the industry as well. This discussion is an important one for us at Plarium, and we turned to our own staff – comprised of 44% female executives and 50% female department heads  – to get their thoughts on the roles of women who create games:

What role do women play in Plarium’s success? Could you give an example from your own experience?

Natalia Gladkaya, Head of Localization: “I’ve never thought of Plarium as a company where men and women play different roles. The success of the company is primarily the combined success – the success of teams and that of each employee as a person. The localization department I currently lead (a team comprising mostly of young women) contributes to the success of the company, helping to make the games popular among a huge number of users in their native languages.”

Are there any game studio positions that are inherently “male” or “female”?

Valerie Korzh, Project Coordinator in Mobile Games Department: “I don’t think so… or rather, I’d prefer that there weren’t any. My wish is for women to have the opportunity and desire to prove their abilities and make a career for themselves. There are still some “inherently male” professions in the world, and women who succeed in these professions always make the headlines – for example, my role model Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. No one really believed she could succeed and save the company from the continued revenue slide. But now the media follows every step she makes, and so far everything she’s been doing has worked successfully.”

What challenges does a woman face in the gaming industry?

Tatiana Rystenko, 2D Artist, Team Leader: “Why are we speaking about the gaming industry only? Every woman faces some challenges in different aspects of life; for example, life priorities. What’s more important – career or family? Social mobility, or settling down? It’s not exclusive to the gaming industry. Working in game development isn’t any different from any other industry that is very demanding and requires a lot more than just adding work hours toward your retirement funds and sitting around pretending you’re working.”

Are you a woman working in the gaming industry? Share your experiences with us.

Plarium - Darina -1About the blogger: Darina came to Plarium from a background in freelance print and broadcast journalism and two years experience as a social media marketing specialist. Now a Plarium Creative Ninja (her actual job title), she currently creates original marketing, communications, and social media content.