A basic premise of the book is that gamers are on their way into the workplace and will be changing how we do business. Karl and I have had lively discussions about whether or not girls are gamers. Of course they are. But I would argue not in the same numbers as the boys.
Karl sites statistics that "Seventy percent of the players of the social interaction game The Sims are women under twenty-five," and that the number one game from May 2004-July 2006 was Princess Fashion Boutique.
"Gamer traits are cross-gender traits, because young girls play video games and are growing up in a culture influenced by those games." (p. 25)Yes, girls play Princess Fashion Boutique in record numbers. And this will change how they think and learn to some degree. Young girls are digital natives. But gamers?
Recently, I conducted a series of interviews with college-aged women. They all had gadgets, relied heavily on their laptops, checked Facebook constantly, and considered themselves "digital natives." But very few of them were/are active game players and, as a rule, did not consider themselves gamers.
I'm concerned that women will be excluded if such a focus is put on gaming skills -- or at least the gamer label. Have you heard the urban legend regarding the big executive who was hired because he was a World of Warcraft Guild Master who had attained some really high level?
The traditional Glass Ceiling will be replaced with a new, but invisible and invincible Guild Master Ceiling.
This past Saturday, there was a Women In Games International (WIGI) Summit at the Austin Convention Center.
In Gamasutra, John Henderson has posted about a summary of a presentation by Dona Bailey. Dona was an early Atari employee (and the only woman at the time) and spoke about women in the gaming industry and provided some specific ideas for getting girls and women more involved in games and gaming.
DebySue Wolfcale, senior brand manager for Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) participated in a panel on Diversity in the Workplace.
As for how to include more women, Wolfcale said her employer, SOE, has realized women players make up a significant part of massively-multiplayer games, the sort they make, and for their sake female game developers are necessary to build the games to attract and keep women playing them.I don't have a conclusion here. I'm just raising some questions.
Furthermore, women are often in roles that hold communities of players together, Wolfcale said, acting as socialite players and leaders of player groups, or guilds. “If we want people to keep playing and paying,” she said, “we have to make sure we're building games that attract women.”