Four Women Who are Making Waves in the Games Industry
In 2014, it was reported that women make up 52% of all gamers in the UK.
Contrary to the popular stereotype of gamers being testosterone and energy drink-fuelled young men, it seems that women are playing more than men. However, if you look at the supply side of the industry, the numbers do not reflect this. In 2017, only 14% of UK games industry professionals were women. That is a shocking statistic, even ignoring the share of women gamers. That’s why it is essential to highlight the women who are making waves in the games industry.
Amy Hennig, director of Uncharted 3
Hennig has a long history in the games industry, starting in the 1980s when she worked for Electronic Arts (EA) as an animator and artist. Early titles include Desert Strike and Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, the latter of which she became lead designer on. In the late 1990s, she moved on to Crystal Dynamics, where she was the director, producer and writer for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. In the 2000s, she went to Naughty Dog to be a creative director for the hugely successful Uncharted series. She won two Writers Guild of America Game Writing Awards, for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
Robin Hunicke, producer of Journey and co-founder of Funomena
Hunicke was the producer on Journey, which was one of those games that made you wish you had a PlayStation 3. This atmospheric and absolutely gorgeous game about finding your way through a desert won countless awards for design and artistic merit. She co-founded Funomena in 2013 and released a well-received VR fairy tale game called Luna, where you play as a bird trying to find its way home.
Laura Miele, chief studios officer and executive vice president of Global Publishing at EA
Miele is one of the games industry’s highest-ranking female executives. She has spent 20 years at EA in various roles, including marketing, and she was the general manager of Star Wars (a job title to make any misogynist nerd go green with envy), for which EA has the licence. EA chief executive Andrew Wilson described her as having “played an integral role in developing the fabric of our company, and she has navigated challenges with great focus and leadership. She understands our DNA, is deeply connected to our values, and invests her energy in our people and their success.”
Laila Shabir, CEO of Girls Make Games and LearnDistrict
Girls Make Games describes itself as “a series of international summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to inspire the next generation of designers, creators, and engineers.” Normal game events will be primarily populated and run by men, but Girls Make Games offers something where women are “the norm”, Laila Shabir said in this interview. This is a hugely significant push that will hopefully inspire and promote more female game developers and programmers.
Women are into all genres of games, whether it’s first person shooters, live casino table games, or puzzle games. They make up over 50% of the games-playing public in the UK, but they are not represented in the same way on equality and so that we don’t miss out on any future potential classics, women should be encouraged and promoted in the games industry.