The No. 1 ‘reason to be’ at the Game Developers Conference 2014: Diversity

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SAN FRANCISCO — The #1ReasonToBe panel at the Game Developers Conference 2013 was generally understood as a panel about gender concerns in the video game industry. Panel organizers Brenda Romero and Leigh Alexander made it clear through their slate of speakers for the 2014 edition of #1ReasonToBe that the panel is about diversity in the video game industry, which goes beyond concerns only about gender.

Romero’s opening remarks were a reminder as to why gender continues to be one of the highest profile issues in the conversation about diversity, however. “This morning, it’s shitty to wake up to Twitter and see that someone got groped at a party last night,” said Romero, referring to news that someone had been ejected from harassing women at a GDC party thrown by Sony the night of Wednesday, March 19. “It’s been a good year, but we’re still going, and we still have further to go.”

The discussion about the role of women in the video game industry has slowly built up steam over the last couple of years. In 2012, furor over booth babes, often-scantily clad women at expos and conferences whose purpose is to entice people to check out a company’s display, at E3 came to a head. Female developers felt booth babes created an atmosphere in which men assumed that women staffing booths couldn’t possibly be game developers, or that women developers weren’t taken seriously when they identified themselves as such. Female video game journalists were dismissed as being incapable of playing their E3 demos. These were not new problems, but in 2012 critics decided they were tired of dealing with these problems silently.

Read more at: VentureBeat

Updated: March 30, 2014 — 1:38 pm

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