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Women Missing From Video Game Development Work Force

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video gamers at Play N Trade in Chicago

Keisha Howard, center, of Chicago, IL, plays video games during a Sugar Gamers meet up at Play N Trade in Chicago.

Credit: Andrew A. Nelles / Chicago Tribune

Although women are playing video games in greater numbers, few are working in the industry developing new games. About 40 percent of video and online game players are female, according to the Entertainment Software Association, but just 11.5 percent of game developers are women, according to an International Game Developers Association survey.

In 2009, Columbia College's graduating class of game design majors had one woman out of 26 students. "Our feeling in our department is that clearly, we can make better games if we diversify the designers," says Columbia College's Mindy Faber. She notes that young girls who play video games are unlikely to turn that interest into a career. Faber has organized a four-day summit focused on girls, gaming, and gender.

University of Southern California professor Tracy Fullerton hopes the summit will showcase female role models and the types of games they develop. Recruiting more women to the game development industry often involves a shift in mindset so that students understand they can create games for new platforms such as mobile phones and social networking sites, says DePaul University professor Jose Zagal.

From Chicago Tribune
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