The Future of Gaming: Where Do We Go From Here?

Gaming

This post is the first in a series I plan to write about gaming. In fact, I’m going to get started on the next one right now… for my “Gaming Industry Analysis” class. Essentially we have to write an article about something that’s happening in the industry and then apply it to our business, so I’m going with “Women’s Issues in Gaming”. Yeah, it’s kind of a hot topic right now. But if you think about this subject matter and put yourself in my shoes as a game designer, you can see how it applies directly to what I do. And while we’re at it… let me try and break down some of these issues into their simplest terms:

Why Are Women Being Unfairly Targeted?

I think this issue is based on two main things: ignorance and sexism (not necessarily against women). Ignorance of certain cultures/subcultures (such as gaming) makes people feel like they can’t relate – like they’re outsiders looking into someone else’s world. This creates fear because they don’t understand why members of this culture are doing what they do or saying what they say. Sexism comes from the belief that men are superior to women; that men should be dominant or leaders in society – meaning women should be submissive or followers (i.e. We had family game night and my daughter was playing games with her little brother while I played card games with the rest of the boys… [oh, wait, that’s not sexist at all]).

But what video games do is bring these people into the culture. They become part of the community and eventually figure out why we’re doing what we’re doing; it’s just who we are. So when a woman comes in to this community and is treated poorly, it makes them question everything about their involvement in this culture. Why am I being treated differently than everyone else? Am I not welcome here? Is there something wrong with me? Should I stick around or should I just get out now? Maybe video gaming isn’t for women after all…

So how can we fix this problem so that women feel comfortable joining our community without feeling like they don’t fit in or they aren’t wanted here? There are two main ways: education and inclusion (i.e. The more we educate people about the games we play and why we play them, the more they can understand why we do what we do. They don’t have to agree with it, but they can at least understand it).

Education is something that I think parents should teach their children. I mean, how many of you were taught how to use a computer? How many of you were taught how to manipulate Excel spreadsheets or create macros in Word? How many parents even know how to send an email or download a file on their computer without any help from Google or YouTube? Sadly, not enough. But children are growing up learning everything they need to know today on their own thanks to the internet (i.e. My daughter figured out Minecraft before my wife and I did… [LOL]). So if your children are playing video games online with random strangers from all over the globe, then you should be aware of some basic rules that will keep them safe:

1) Only talk with people you already know – this does not apply only for girls either! If someone randomly starts talking about private matters/dealing/etc., just stop talking immediately and report them! Don’t take chances because once a conversation goes personal there’s no going back; plus it’s easier for them (the stranger) if they have information on your family/address/etc.

I know I still have a lot to learn and this is just the beginning. I would really appreciate any feedback you are willing to give me, whether it’s positive or negative – because both of those things can teach me something. Thank you!

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