Diversity in gaming: why it matters and how to improve

The gaming industry is popular and offers exciting career opportunities for people with technical skills, a creative background and a passion for gaming. 

Despite the appeal of gaming as a career, a lack of gender diversity in the industry presents a significant problem that can only be addressed if employers are able to smash the stereotypes that exist. Recent studies show that women make up only 24% of the gaming workforce. This is despite a near 50-50 gender male/female split among video game players, while the numbers are even lower for those who identify as non-binary.

diversity in gaming

This imbalance limits innovation, perpetuates unfair stereotypes and drives away talent. However, by taking proactive steps for inclusion, gaming companies can become a force for good. Addressing the diversity gap provides a chance to lead by example and promote positive social change.


Prioritising diversity in the gaming industry

The UK’s video game industry has an opportunity to become a force for good by fostering greater diversity and inclusion within its workforce. Whether you’re a major employer or a startup in this industry or a related sector, gaming companies should know how to be a diverse employer. This means leading by example by creating equal recruitment options, a healthy workplace culture and career advancement opportunities for women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ individuals, disabled people and every other underrepresented group.

Taking proactive steps towards diversity and representation allows the gaming industry to tap into wider talent pools when recruiting. It also enables the creation of more innovative and relatable games that appeal to diverse audiences. There is a clear business case for diversity, as more inclusive companies perform better financially.

Most importantly, emphasising diversity and belonging is simply the right thing to do. The UK’s gaming industry can show leadership by promoting equality of opportunity for capable people from all backgrounds. 


Why diversity in gaming matters

The lack of diversity within the gaming industry negatively impacts creativity, innovation and bottom lines. Teams composed of one majority ethnicity or gender may build products limited by their own perspectives, failing to meet the needs of diverse audiences. Due to their biased makeup, whether intentional or not, unfair stereotypes persist and are perpetuated, from sexualised female characters in games to presumptions that women do not play.

Talented individuals from underrepresented groups become discouraged and leave the industry. There is also a moral obligation – equality, inclusion and positive social values should be modelled to society. 

The entire industry stands to benefit from a more diverse and representative workforce, and you can help to make a positive change by embracing inclusion among your team. A diversity of perspectives leads to better products that appeal to a wider audience. Creating an inclusive culture where all can thrive fosters innovation and drives business results. An inclusive culture not only strengthens the workforce, but sets an example for other tech employers. 


How gaming companies can promote equality

Gaming companies should take proactive steps to recruit women and non-binary people, such as partnering with diversity-focused organisations and conferences. Internally, leadership programmes and mentoring can empower women to advance into management roles.

Policies that support work-life balance like generous family leave signal an inclusive culture. Anti-harassment training creates a safe environment for people of all genders. Products should aim to represent diverse characters and avoid tropes that alienate women players. Successful examples like Riot Games’ efforts to hire more women and minorities prove change is possible.

The gaming community must speak out against toxicity and create a welcome space for all. Though progress takes time, a focus on equality will uplift gaming culture. Promoting inclusive policies and diverse teams will lead to better products and a more just gaming industry and ecosystem. The industry must analyse where bias exists within organisations and take action to build a more equitable future in line with gaming and esports regulations around inclusion and non-discrimination.


The bottom line

The gaming industry wields immense influence, with the power to lead by example in promoting gender equality in technology. By taking meaningful steps for inclusion, gaming companies can demonstrate that diverse teams create better products and a more just, equitable society.

The opportunity is clear – analyse where bias exists, implement inclusive policies supporting women, non-binary people, and people with disabilities, and address diversity gaps. The future of gaming depends on action today. Companies have a responsibility to employ and champion people of all genders, fostering innovation that serves our diverse communities. The time for change is now.


Skills for diverse gamers

Aspiring gamers and developers need to research what skills and educational background they might need to get started in the industry. They can sign up for an internship to learn the day-to-day responsibilities, required competencies, advantages, difficulties and job prospects before pursuing this path. 

While game development can be immensely rewarding for some, it also poses unique challenges that demand technical proficiency, creative thinking, collaboration and perseverance. By researching the field in-depth, individuals can determine if game development aligns with their skills, interests, personal mindset and professional goals.

The lack of gender diversity in gaming perpetuates unfair stereotypes and stifles innovation. However, gaming companies have an opportunity to drive positive change by recruiting and supporting women and non-binary people. Promoting inclusive policies and diverse teams will lead to better products and a more just society. 

The gaming industry must analyse where bias exists within their organisations and take action to build a more equitable future. With all this said, the gaming sector has the potential to become a true force for good by championing inclusion.