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Marcus Estrada posted a article in Analysis & OpinionsLast month, the April issue of Game Developer made its way out to subscribers, and ever year at that time their annual Game Developer Salary Survey is published. These surveys serve as helpful barometers to gauge just how much the averages are for jobs within game development. Artists/animators, audio developers, business/legal, designers, producers, programmers, and QA testers are all quantified into averages per discipline and level of seniority. They also happen to display the percent of women in each, as well as how much they make on average as compared to men. This information is posted in nearly the same fashion year after year. However, it was with 2013“s Salary Survey that many people began to take notice. Across all jobs, aside from programming, women were earning marginally less. Each other job had at least a $10,000 difference in average salary, although there were jobs with far greater disparity as well. These numbers were pushed out by various sites, including our own, and many made the implication that it was hard proof of sexism, or at least, the pay gap being alive and well. Of course, jumping to this conclusion isn“t something many were willing to go to immediately. Some of the most important information was missing, such as percentage of women in regards to seniority as opposed to men. As the survey stands, it only shows the breakdown between being in a job for 1-3, 3-6, and 6+ years as an average between everyone. Further breakdown has been deemed necessary by many to get a more accurate view of pay differences. Game Developer does sell 80 page survey result books which provide much more information in detail. Unfortunately, with a cost of over $1,000 to access, this report is not something that many are going to ever have access to. Many people, both commenters and journalists themselves, made the concession that women are only recently entering the industry. This supposed bit of â€œcommon knowledgeâ€ has been dispersed all over in response to the survey without much reason. Why is it that everyone believes women are newly entering the industry? Is this a line of thought worth pursuing? Many may now just be becoming aware of women in the industry around them, but is it actually a trend? Women may be more willing to flaunt their gaming interests, but does that mean they“re brand new to the world of gaming? I“m not going to be able to answer these questions, but there certainly have been women involved in game development from the beginning, as well as games journalism and other places. For example, some of my personal heroes are Roberta Williams and Joyce Worley. Williams co-founded Sierra On-Line - a developer of a great many adventure games. Worley, on the other hand, co-founded Electronic Games which was the first video game magazine in the US. Perhaps these examples of women in the industry are outliers, or maybe they“re not, but then my task turned to using Game Developer“s previous surveys to chart an increase in women joining game companies. My research turned up Game Developer Salary Surveys covering the years 2004 to 2012. There were a few surveys published before these years, but I was unable to find them. Regardless, starting at 2004 is probably for the best because it also appears that the magazine had access to far fewer employees in the past. This appears to have skewed some earlier (and even current) numbers. For example, â€œaudio developersâ€ has been noted for multiple years as having a small sample size. Because of this, massive fluctuations are seen and I am choosing to ignore that section. Unfortunately, QA testers also seem to have that same problem. For other areas though, survey numbers appear a bit more standard. For artists/animators, business/legal, producers, and programmers, there is no significant increase in women entering game development from 2004 until now. Only in design do we see a steady increase, although it is only 5% over the time span. Business/legal fluctuates regularly between highs and lows, programmers continue to hover around 4%, and women artist/animators have been in a downward trend since 2010. So, according to what little information we have here, there does not appear to be an across the board increase in women rushing toward the world of game development. Not for the past decade, anyway. This nine year set of data shows that some women could easily be beyond the 6 years required to be listed as â€œseniorâ€ in the survey. Of course, that doesn“t necessitate that women are in senior positions despite being in a job for that long. Nor does it follow that the average women are sticking around in development roles for that long. Apparently men are, if you feel that the reason why men are paid more is due to having 6+ years of experience. Because they are paid far more in almost every example, according to this information compiled by Game Developer year after year. According to all I was able to gather, the gap between artists/animator salaries is widening, which makes it the outlier. Of course, comparing that to the dwindling numbers of women proves there are probably a good deal of senior status women leaving. Still, that doesn“t help its salary discrepancy always being lower for women. Of course, the same is true for each other field as well. Business/legal, where women regularly have been between 17%-25% of the workforce, salaries rise and decline at similar rates but with a 20 thousand dollar gap between them. When men gain, women lose, and vice versa, but that buffer of a significant amount of money never shrinks beyond a certain amount. Game designers have a fairly interesting chart as well for salary comparison. 2005“s numbers were the only time that women were shown earning higher than men. Even then, this amount was only marginally more as compared to how much more money men make on average elsewhere. Aside from that probable statistical anomaly (due to low sample size), women then have taken the backseat for following years. Trends in payment increase steadily for men, and for women as well - as long as you take sample size into account - and they do not appear to be approaching parity. The producer salary is quite interesting as it looks almost exactly the same for women and men. That is, if you take a man“s average salary across 2005-2012 and then deduct 10 thousand dollars at any point. Since 2010, it appears that the women and men“s salaries are heading toward equality though, which is very much worth noting. This comes in light of a small burst of women entering the field in 2011. With the trend beginning in 2010, one could speculate they are offering women more as a starting wage. Otherwise, the influx of women in the last year would cause salaries to show marked decrease, right? At least that should be the case if one believes that seniority is the only cause for salaries of specific amounts. Finally we reach programmers who appear to be closest to pay equity of all branches in game development. There have apparently been two years in which women earned more than their male peers (2009 and 2012). Again, these gains were incredibly minimal, marking only about $4 thousand more in each event. Still, it appears that there is a regular tussle between salary supremacy despite the not really ever being a shift between percent of men and women within the field. Men sit between 95%-97% at all times, after all. Of all disciplines, it seems that producers and programmers are valued highest in regards to being paid fairly for their work. I wish there were a way for me to gain access to the full scope of Game Developer“s survey results. It would be immensely useful to see their statistical findings broken down further. Elusive information such as women“s vs men“s years in a field remains a mystery for all but 2012. Editor of Game Developer, Patrick Miller, shared a few of these numbers in a post on Gamasutra, but this doesn't change the illusive nature of past years. For reference, the levels of seniority per gender for 2012 show men as ultimately sticking with game development longer. Of 1,333 surveyed men, 47% spent 6 or more years in their job, 32% were in the middle with 3-6 years experience, and 21% were around for 1-3 years. Of 173 surveyed women, 29% held a position for six years or more, 45% were there for 3-6 years, and 27% were currently in the 1-3 year range. Unfortunately, we only see this as the case for 2012, as published in April 2013“s issue. So far they have not shared other data for years before freely. Considering they charge for full details, it“s unlikely we“ll ever get a very useful breakdown. When people reported on this year“s Salary Survey, it“s unlikely that they all went to the effort of charting data for previous years before making assessments. The Border House Blog posted first, which everyone followed after. How is it, despite not looking at every ounce of data, they were able to so strongly state an inherent connection between gender and pay wages then? To many, it seems an irrefutable claim, as of course was resounded in comment sections across the web. This is due to the fact that women and those who study women in the workforce are aware of many facets of life that cause the pay gap to exist across many fields. In regards to male-dominated fields of tech, there is even more at play. Those who simply paid attention to panels at PAX East and GDC recently would be aware that women in gaming are not treated fairly on many occasions. One incredibly likely facet of all this data is that women do not stick around as long as men because they eventually lose patience for the sexism so prominent in the industry. Many women have spoken up (recall #1reasonwhy on Twitter) about very personal shows of disrespect or hatred by their own peers, not just internet strangers. There are far too many facets of the pay gap to be discussed here, but they are hotly debated all the time. Let“s put at least a few to bed as succinctly as possible. Some claim men work more hours which equates to higher salaries. Professionals are likely on a salary, which means you are paid a specific amount. In game development, overtime pay is not granted as much as it is simply expected of you. Some suggest that women must take more time off due to being mothers, but fathers too take time away from work to care for their families. They do not become pregnant, but it“s not as if women must leave work for the entire nine month pregnancy, nor is pregnancy even an inevitability in every woman“s life. These reasons, as well as many others, are why The Border House, Rock Paper Shotgun, and others are able to make connections between the Salary Survey and a true issue within the industry (or any industry with a noticeable pay gap). Women have worked in the industry alongside men from IntelliVision and Atari days to now. The horrible fact remains though that women are still only a sliver in an industry full of men, and that is not likely to change soon despite claims to the contrary. The gaming industry needs more women and it needs to treat them respectfully as well as with a paycheck much closer to that of their male peers. Of course, higher paying jobs should still go to those with more experience, but don“t inevitably give all these positions to men. Women and men exist in nearly equal numbers in society, so showing such a vast discrepancy of representation in any industry is a sign that something is very much an issue. Overall, it is an incredibly complex issue which is found in many industries outside of gaming. Considering the many pushes women have made to speak out we shall hopefully see the trend of pay disparity being pulled back, as well as women feeling comfortable in the industry to stay involved for years to come.
Marcus Estrada posted a article in Industry NewsKickstarter has proven to be an incredibly valuable resource for independent developers as well as filmmakers. Well, really anyone can make use of the platform if their product is sound. The last big gaming-related documentary to see funding through the site was Mojang: The Story of Minecraft but it looks like another ambitious project is seeking funding now. GTFO: A Film About Women in Gaming is a documentary focused around the (mis)treatment of women in and around the industry we all love. It aims to reveal this harassment as well as try to share ways to make it better. Of course, women themselves are probably already readily aware of said harassment, but this is a way to get their stories out to a larger audience. Experiences of women within the industry, both good and bad, are set to be showcased. Some may wonder why we need a project like this after Sarkeesian's Tropes Vs Women. Well, that web series is focused on video games themselves, as opposed to women who interact with games. As of right now it has $6,000 of $20,000 pledged. At $10, backers get a digital copy of the film. At $25, a DVD will be mailed to funders. There are a little over 20 days left for this project to succeed through Kickstarter.
Marcus Estrada posted a article in Industry NewsThere has been a long struggle for pay equality in the United States. Over the years, much has been shown of the variance in pay between women and men for the same jobs, as with minorities. With the games industry being a massive institution, it follows that they probably also have these problems. Of course, with this being the year 2013, the wage differences between men and women employees in the same line of work must be minimal. Right? Unfortunately this is not the case. Game Developer Magazine yearly publishes statistics of game industry employment and wages in their Salary Survey. Their April issue has been reported on by The Border House which shows off the disappointing trend of wage disparity between men and women within the industry. Here's various sections of game development and their respective wage averages: Artists/Animators: Male - $77,791 / Female - $60,238 Audio Developers: Male - $82,944 / Female - $50,000 Business/Legal: Male - $108,571 / $82,292 Designers: Male - $76,646 / Female - $61,983 Producers: Male - $85,591 / Female - $78,989 Programmers/Engineers: Male - $91,969 / Female - $96,136 QA Testers: Male - $49,196 / Female - $39,375 Of the various facets of game development, there is only one area where women receive higher pay on average (programming). In that case, it is only a few thousand more as well, while in every other area there is over a ten thousand dollar difference. Some may suggest that this disparity is due to a large amount of women newly entering the industry, but that does not necessarily appear to be the case either. There are not enough detailed statistics to know for sure, but in every section aside from QA testing, the majority of employees have been in their position for 3 years or longer. As such, newcomer salary is not likely to affect the average salaries listed by much. Overall, women are a minority in all fields, with women as producers at 23% being the highest representation. What do you make of this information?
Discrimination of any kind makes you look bad so if video games are indeed sexist than yes, it makes us look bad, done next question. Oh wait what's the required word count for this thing? Argh fine here are some more words about sexism and video games and why you look bad today (seriously those clothes are not flattering). Now you can't make the blanket statement that all of gaming is sexist, but there are definitely parts of gaming that are. That doesn't make it that much different from other forms of entertainment that also suffer from sexism, but video games do usually find themselves being targeted for problems that also affect other media (violent movies exist, for example). This doesn't excuse games from the issue however and there are still plenty of examples of this problem throughout gaming. One of the most noticeable examples of gender discrimination is how different armor is portrayed between genders. If you equip something on a dude then he is in a massive 12 inch thick suit of armor, but if some female warrior was to don that armor than it would likely transform into a metal bikini. Now I understand the appeal of a man wearing big armor (I used to play Warhammer 40K so you could consider me an expert in the field), but what“s wrong with having some of the fairer sex looking badass too? There are other places you can get you babes-in-bikinis fix. A woman's weakspot is her breasts right? Is that why they always cover them up? Of course there is more to the problem than what the characters wear; it is also how they are written and portrayed. Now this is pretty varied and can change depending who is the writer, but based on no evidence whatsoever I have concluded that the ladies are more likely to be cast as support characters and have the manly man go fight the giant demon king of evil. It is usually the same just different settings; Drake was the star and Elena was the tag-along, Marcus was the Space Marine rip-off and Anya was his support and if you are looking to the future The Last of Us has Joel killing infected and Ellie looking like Ellen Page. Now I remember hearing that games that had a female main character didn't sell as well as games that had big burly men manning the helm. Now Slayn Bacon isn't paying me to think up reasons this might be the case, but it does mean that publishers don't really want to push games with female leads and without that publisher support developers are less likely to make games with a woman leading the way. So basically it is your fault for not buying games that do things a little different and you should all feel very bad for being such horrible people. We have talked a lot about the characters in the games, but what about the people? Do you know that women exist and also play games? That was quite the surprise when I found out and let me tell you, they get quite a lot of negative attention. Now I am not sure how many of you know about fat ugly or ****ty, but let me tell you this: it“s not a place to be inspired about mankind“s loving and accepting nature. Basically I knew playing online was a fast way to get abuse, but man, some people get it worse than others. This reminds me of when I had a tree house... And friends. I like to imagine that women can walk down a street without constant abuse being hurled at them (we don't have streets in New Zealand yet so I wouldn't know), but I guess people just go a little crazy when they are online. The point is that there is a lot of abuse when people decide to go play multiplayer and call me crazy, but I don't think people should have to deal with stuff like that whenever they want to go have fun with other people. So let's get back to the big question at hand: Does sexism in gaming make us look bad? Well the big issue for me would be the amount of abuse female gamers suffer online, which does make us look bad, because it makes it seem like the gaming community is full of man babies who can't tolerate anyone who isn't a straight, white male (being all three of those things I don't have a good handle on how bad some of that abuse can get, but judging from some peoples stories, it can get pretty bad) and that turns potential gamers away and that hurts business. So stop being a loser and be more accepting, I mean come on! You are such a horrible person, you could at least try to be good once in your life.