When video games were introduced by Atari in the 1970s, they were marketed as family entertainment. After the industry crashed in 1983, it rebuilt itself by marketing to young men. Now, new technology and distribution platforms have shifted the demographics and as more women enter the field, the narratives have changed.
The conversation [about women and video games] has particular resonance and relevance in the Seattle area, where some of the biggest companies in the industry are headquartered, and where women have enjoyed leading roles in developing some of the most popular video game titles, including the Halo, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead and Portal franchises.
Kate Edwards, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, a professional group with a chapter in Seattle, said Gamergate could become a watershed moment for women who work in, write about and play interactive computer games.
“Gaming culture has been pretty misogynistic for a long time now,’’ says Edwards, 50, a lifelong gamer and developer who worked on Microsoft’s Halo. “There’s ample evidence of that over and over again . . . What we’re finally seeing is that it became so egregious that now companies are starting to wake up and say, ‘We need to stop this. This has got to change.’”
Read more in Kelleher’s full story, ‘This has got to change’: Women game developers fight sexism in industry.