Fascinating article by Alex at Border House (warning: Some language is NSFW) in reply to an article by Clint Hocking in which he partially attributes the lack of women in the video game industry to a crude atmosphere that is prevalent at many developers. Summarizing Alex’s opinion, she basically states that the problem doesn’t lie in the prevalence of fart jokes told in the work place but instead on a work atmosphere that is severely deficient to Quality of Life issues.
I have a unique perspective here at Legacy Interactive. Our CEO here is Ariella Lehrer, a wonderfully brilliant business woman with a passion for games. One of the major reasons why I accepted a position at Legacy is because of the company’s focus on reasonable work hours and not running the employees ragged. While my previous CEO was perhaps the smartest man I ever met he did have the expectation that people work as long as he did, something that is common among most developers I’ve met. I don’t think that women are more likely to focus on QoL of their employees, I can think of multiple developers run by women that make stringent time demands of their employees.
Improving Quality of Life for employees at developers and publishers will attract more women to the game industry as well as dedicated family men. Unfortunately, the video games industry (and I would argue all entertainment industries) is not family friendly. Working in an industry that provides fun to audiences is often seen as reward within itself, thus employees do not have leverage to argue against lower wages or the perception of unfair labor practices. Simply too many creative people are essentially forced out of the game’s industry when they are forced to choose between their family and their career. This leads to developers often hiring young males as their employees since they often do not have the family time constraints. The games then often only appeal to their own target group, which is a shame.
At Legacy Interactive, our employees cover a wide spectrum of ages, cultures and experiences. Because of this, I feel that we’re able to create games that appeal to a wider audience. This is especially important for creating a game for a show like Twilight Zone that also appeals to a wide range of people. I would be disappointed if the game only appealed to the “target audience”. I’m committed to helping guide a game that will engage and appeal to every fan because every fan is important to me.