03 November 2006

WIGI Mixer in Los Angeles

Women in Games International Hosts Mixer in Los Angeles
Game Industry Gather to Network and Discuss Latest Topics

Women in Games International, a non-profit organization in the interactive entertainment industry, announnced today its debut WIGI Community Mixer in Los Angeles. The networking event is Tuesday November 14th, 7:30 - 9:30 pm. Admission is free and requires an advance RSVP.

Belinda Van Sickle, President of GameDocs and Online Community Coordinator for Women in Games International, is the local host and emcee. Complimentary food and beverages, supplied by Acapulco Restaurant, will be provided for all guests. This unique industry networking event is proudly sponsored by Autodesk, D3Publisher, GameDocs, Pandemic Studios, Sessions Online School of Design and TechHunters.

Mixer attendees from the Los Angeles area will have a chance to win free door prizes from game publishers THQ and D3Publisher, including Scooby-Doo, Cars, Finding Nemo, Sponge Bob Squarepants, Monster House, The Incredibles, Destroy All Humans and WWE Wrestling from THQ, and Work Time Fun, Naruto Clash of the Ninja 1 and 2, Naruto Ninja Council 1 and 2, Practical Intelligence Quotient, and Flushed Away from D3Publisher.

Van Sickle offers, “I’m pleased to be fostering community among women working in the video games industry. Through the generous support of Women in Games International, I've been able to put together an online community of nearly 200 members and set up the Los Angeles mixer. We've already received strong support from the industry through our sponsors and lots of great ideas for future community building projects.”

The WIGI Community Mixer in Los Angeles will be held at Acapulco Restaurant at 385 N. La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles, one block north of the Beverly Center. Admittance is free, but an advance RSVP is required. RSVP online today via e-vite link at http://www.womeningamesinternational.org/register.html.

Women in Games International 2006 sponsors include title sponsor Microsoft Game Studios, series sponsors Microsoft Casual Games, Game Developers Conference (GDC), International Games Developers Association (IGDA), Mary-Margaret.com, Girls in Games, ThemePark Studios, WomenGamers.com and BusinessWire.

11 October 2006

WomenGamers.com DigiPen Scholarship

For the 2007-2008 school year, DigiPen Institute of Technology is offering five, $2000.00 scholarships to 5 U.S. citizen female students who obtain all of the following qualifications:

Eligibility Rules:

1. Must be female.
2. All applicants must meet the standard admission requirements for the program they are applying for at DigiPen Institute of Technology.
3. Must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater in your most recent educational history.
4. Must be a student entering any of DigiPen Institute of Technology’s full time degree programs.
5Must be a US citizen or permanent resident
6. Must be a new incoming student for the Fall 2007-08 academic year

Scholarship Application Deadline: May 1st, 2007

For more information visit:

27 September 2006

She Want Game

Article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Sept 6, 2006

12 September 2006

The Game Industry's Top 100 Influential Women

"In anticipation of this week's Women in Games Conference in Seattle, Next-Gen.Biz has produced a list and biographies of 100 women in the game industry who are making a difference..."

01 September 2006

Game Modding for Girls

In a recent article on GameCareer Guide, Professor Magy Seif El-Nasr discusses gaming for girls classes and the tools, curriculum, and results from case studies at the College of Information Sciences and Technology within Penn StateUniversity.

23 August 2006

Microsoft Research Female Academic All-Stars

Microsoft Research External Research and Programs (ER&P) is seeking to sponsor ten female students majoring in computer science with a concentration in serious game development and research, to be selected for the Microsoft Female Academic All-Stars at the 2006 Serious Games Summit D.C.

The selected All-Stars will be invited to convene during lunch, where they will discuss the issues surrounding female game developers and learn about career opportunities in the field. In addition, the All-Stars will be able to attend more than sixty sessions, lectures, and roundtable discussions at SGS D.C. They will learn about key issues affecting the marketplace, get a sneak peek at upcoming serious games, and enjoy the opportunity to network with peers in the serious games community.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 27, 2006.

22 August 2006

Women In Games International Adds More Speakers – September 16, Seattle, WA

Women In Games International recently added more speakers to their next regional conference, "The Balancing Act: Game Industry Careers and Quality of Life.” Scheduled on Saturday, September 16 at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA, this half-day conference includes panels, roundtable discussions and a networking reception. Bonnie Ross, Director of Production for Microsoft Game Studios, presents the keynote address, “Quality of Life and the Successful Game Industry Career.” Other speakers include senior representatives from Nokia, Real Networks, Ubisoft, Sony Online, Electronic Arts, Relic, Zipper Interactive, LimeLife, Amaze Entertainment, DigiPen and more. To register online, visit www.womeningamesinternational.org.

18 August 2006

Get the Girls into the Game


Since the professional PC gaming scene is largely male-dominated, the “Get the Girls into the Game” contest asks gamers of either gender to nominate a female friend as a potential winner, explaining why she would benefit from a weekend of practice with pro gamers. The winning nominee and one companion (also female) will win a weekend trip to Sweden, travel and accommodation expenses paid, and receive free gaming tuition from the girlz 0f destruction plus US$250 pocket money.

The “Get the Girls into the Game” contest runs until 10th September at the Home of Chrome website: www.girlzgaminghouse.com

To enter, gamers should submit their nominations at the website, and answer a few short questions and provide a description about why they feel their girl friends deserve the trip to the Home of Chrome. Entries will be judged on the basis of humor, originality and genuine gaming need by a panel composed of VIA staff and girlz 0f destruction team members. The contest closes on Thursday 10th September, with the prize weekend at the Home of Chrome taking place on Friday to Sunday, 22nd to 24th September 2006.

23 July 2006

New Scientist: Women Enjoy Smarter Cyber-Massacres


22 July 2006

The rise of the woman gamer

This article originally appeared on FierceMobileContent and FierceGameBiz 7/21/06:

Recent studies from Telephia and Park Associates underscore anecdotal evidence that women play mobile games, and pay for them, too! In fact, the Telephia report states women dominated revenue generation for all mobile game categories except Action/Adventure. Females particularly enjoy puzzle and arcade games, as indicated by the current Top 10 mobile game sales by revenue share. That's similar to the downloadable casual game market, where it is already noted that female players outnumber male players. While the large casual game portals have recognized and catered to female players, their sports titles regularly go unnoticed by female players more interested in the card, word or puzzle games.

For years, popular wisdom claimed females were not interested in video games or if they were, they weren't willing to pay for games. Therefore, publishers were not interested in seeking out the female market. Perhaps it had to do with the distinction between "casual" and "hardcore" players. In the past, hardcore gamers routinely dismissed little games that lacked state-of-the-art technology. But with Geometry Wars, the minigame included in Xbox's Project Gotham Racing 2, evolving into the most downloaded game at Xbox Live Arcade, even traditional hardcore gamers are turning to casual games. The explosion in casual game development has shown there is certainly money to be made in this area.

Women are loyal customers. Those infatuated with The Sims were willing to buy every expansion pack connected to the series. Girl titles have a longer shelf time and sell for longer periods of time. Word-of-mouth advertising is very important in reaching female customers. Build a brand that appeals to women and you may have them hooked. The hit casual game Luxor has had over 40 million downloads since its debut in 2005 and the newest tie-in, Luxor Mahjong, is already among the top downloads in casual games.

While girls' preferences in games have been studied, the actual elements in a game that attracts women are still unquantifiable. There is no magic formula. Women differ greatly and have very different tastes. Some like Halo for its cooperative play. Others have no interest in first-person shooters. In general, to attract a certain market, understanding the customers' needs and wants is paramount. In addition to understanding the fun factor, think about what the customer's purpose is in playing the game. Is she using it to relax, to socialize, to compete?

One strategy is to design games that appeal to everyone, which would make the game gender-inclusive. This means the content is gender-neutral and there is recognition that the player may be female. This does not mean to "dumb it down" but to erase assumptions about what the player may or may not know. Focus groups or play-testing may help in this regard, at least to get a different perspective.

Traditionally, within the industry, game designers designed games they wanted to play. Since computer programmers/game designers of that period (and still are) predominately male, the market has been geared toward males. It should be noted that Centipede, the first arcade game designed by a woman, was the first game popular with female players. There may have even been more female players than male players for Centipede. This does not mean male designers cannot design games that appeal to females, only that it has been seen that a woman's input in design can be very useful in reaching the female market.

According to the October 2005 IGDA report, "Game Developer Demographics: An Exploration of Workforce Diversity," 10% of game designers are female and overall, females comprise 11.5% of surveyed game developers. The majority of females in the industry are not in production jobs, but fall under the category of operations, information technology, or human resources. There are, of course, other industries with unequal gender parity, but it should not be given to status quo. Research on diversity in companies does indicate diversity in the workforce leads to greater productivity and profitability.

If revenue share is a goal, then courting the female customer in the mobile sector is an absolute. A woman will be the typical mobile game player. Women already actively download other forms of mobile content and if mobile games appeal to them, they have the disposable income to buy them. Design of the games will need consideration in terms of gender-inclusiveness and accessibility. Furthermore, increasing workforce diversity will help enormously in understanding and reaching the targeted audience.

BBC News: Game industry 'burns out talent'


19 July 2006

The Balancing Act: Game Industry Careers and Quality of Life September 16, Seattle

Finding a balance between quality of life and successful career in the game industry can be extremely challenging. It can also be a major obstacle for women who are considering the game industry as a career. At this conference, we will identify quality of life issues and discuss methods for coping or balancing the demands of the industry and a healthy life.


Todd Holmdahl, Corporate Vice President, Xbox Gaming and Platform Group


Bonnie Ross, Director of Production, Microsoft Game Studios.
�Managing Insanity: How to be Director of Production for one of the largest publishing teams in the game industry and also have a life.�

Program Topics include:
Quality of Life - War Stories from the Trenches (and How We Solved Them)
Quality of Life: Practical Problem-Solving
Quality of Life - A Perspective from Managers, HR, and Legal
Breaking In: How to Acquire The Skills and Get That First Job
An Array of Career Options
The Counselor is In: Expert Advice on Game Careers
The Producers
The Role of QA

Stay for our WIGI post-conference networking party at 6 pm

General Attendees - $45, WIGI Members - $35, Students - $30

This half-day event is sponsored by title sponsor Microsoft Game Studios, gold sponsor Microsoft Casual Games, event sponsor Ubisoft and series sponsors International Game Developers Association (IGDA), Game Developers Conference (GDC), Girls in Games, Mary-Margaret.com, ThemePark Studios, WomenGamers.com and BusinessWire.

The conference is 1 pm to 7 pm on Saturday, September 16 at Microsoft, RedWest Campus, Building A, 15120 NE 40th Street in Redmond, WA.Space is limited. Attendees are invited to reserve their spot by registering online today.Attendees are invited to register online today. Register here.


In the past, I had intended for this blog to be a re-post/continuation of my column on GameDev, but I think that I will be going more of a Joe Indie route with smaller and more informal posts. This means links, info, and longer articles from time to time.