Gaming trends for developers

Gaming as a stereotypical male gamer is very different from gaming as a female


While the gaming industry’s consumer base is changing, the industry itself is moving along with it. Photo credit: Andrew Avilla

What have been the effects of Gamergate?

As much as I want to evade this topic when it comes to gaming discussions, it still needs to be addressed.

Gaming media started to gain notice in 2014, when someone working in gaming media had a relationship with someone who developed a game.

While the situation has certainly had its negative effects, it has also raised awareness of several issues. One issue that took the spotlight was the disclosure (or lack thereof) in gaming media.

Publications, such as Polygon, now detail how they obtain access to any particular game. This is positive because it allows readers to know how a game was critiqued, whether the company that made the game endorsed the critique or not.

This is vital due to the complicated nature of game development and how that affects games in the long run. Another issue highlighted by the incident was the lack of diversity in gaming, both in the industry and games themselves.

In the industry itself, the Design, Innovate, Communicate & Entertain (DICE) awards in 2015 only had one female judge on its panel, which is certainly unrepresentative of a growing industry.

The Entertainment Software Association reported that 44 percent of gamers in 2015 were female. While this issue did make rounds through gaming media fairly quickly, it just goes to show how the issue of diversity is becoming more important in games.

Publisher Electronic Arts Inc. was named one of the best places to work for LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Campaign organization. Even at this slow rate, it’s obvious the gaming industry is at least trying to change.

Diversity in games themselves have also been a recurring point of discussion in the industry. Vocal outcry over the lack of a female protagonist in the game “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” led to developer Ubisoft Montreal to make a playable female protagonist in the series’ next entry.

This further proves that the audience of video games is changing, and that developers are struggling, but attempting, to accommodate. Racial diversity in games is also taking a turn lately.

The game “Never Alone” is based off the nearly lost folktales of Alaskan Inupiaq tribe, while “This War of Mine”, developed by Polish studio “11 bit studio” provided an innovative take on the survival genre of games by setting it around the Siege of Sarajevo.

That sort of diversity spills over into other games as well, as other developers feed on previous ideas. The game “Life Is Strange”, released in 2015, took the interactive story-like game-play from “The Walking Dead” game by Telltale, and adapted its mechanics to an entirely new theme while fixing some of the problems in “The Walking Dead” and spurring discussion of its own.

Diversifying characters as well as game-play is what will lead to industry-wide growth and change.

Why do you play video games?

In the end, video games are still engaging and evolving today, as a very unique and new type of media. Thanks to the interactivity of games, and their general growth in popularity, they are also able to entertain in many different ways today that simply didn’t exist before.

For example, the game “Minecraft” has been used in schools to teach common subjects such as history. An education-focused release of the game was released in 2015, allowing students to learn many different concepts in an interactive setting.

Learning through the use of games benefits kinesthetic (handson) learners very well, as they have space to try out the concepts they’re taught, for a cheaper price compared to equipment like microscopes and chemicals for science classes.

Thanks to the many different types of games that get released constantly on digital platforms, as well as their pretty decent dollar-to-hour ratio, video games only seem more and more attractive to those who want entertainment on a smaller budget.

The biggest strength of games as entertainment is that the player is always doing something, rather than passively watching things happen. Male or female, or even in between, that much is undeniable. Anyone can game.