We’re geeks. We’re proud of our passions, and we want others to enjoy our passions as well. It shouldn’t matter if you’re male, female, white, black, Asian, straight, gay, transgendered, skinny, heavy, disabled, or any other label. If you like games, you are welcome to play at my table. This is the mindset we should all be trying to grow. Along with our social welcoming, the gaming industry is shifting from a proverbial “boys’ club” to be more balanced and inclusive. It’s a slow change, but it’s happening, and that’s pretty darn awesome.
Former Microsoft Game Studios producer turned tabletop project manager at Paizo Publishing Jessica Price noticed something rather interesting about this year’s GenCon. Five years ago, women only made up 6.25% of industry speakers at the largest tabletop gaming convention in the United States. Two years ago, the number was up to 16%, an improvement, but a very small one. For this year’s con in August, women make up 52% of featured industry presenters. This is a drastic change, and an important one at that. Why? Because women want to be involved in game production, and it’s important to see that there are other women out there. There are role models. There are women who are doing what they aspire to do. To quote Price, “It allows us to be people first and representatives of a demographic second.”
This is a great start, but Price believes that there is still a long way to go to bring diversity to the industry. She hopes to see more representation of LGBTQ and people of color for the same reasons why she’s happy to see more female representation. But even if you don’t see someone like you representing the gaming industry–or any industry that interests you–that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your all, because someday it might be you being a role model to others.
GenCon 2016 will welcome over 500 gaming companies and 14,000 events. Featured speakers from all over will include developers, writers, designers, artist, critics, and more. The convention will be held August 4-7 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
Will you be attending GenCon this year? Tell us what you look forward to most in the comments!
Image credits: GenCon LLC, Jessica Price