INCLUSION IN GAMING
Historically overlooked, video games are starting to prioritize inclusion
It’s no surprise that young people love to play video games. Cassandra found that identifying as a “gamer” is the #1 most likely passion point identity for Gen Alpha and 2nd among Gen Z behind only “music lover”. What is surprising is the way developers often continue to view their consumers through such an outdated lens and prioritize the needs of their assumed “default” consumer over gamers with marginalized identities. Last year, for instance, a report on the needs of disabled gamers found that two-thirds of consumers say they face barriers in gaming – most often, the availability or affordability of assistive technology. Here we’re spotlighting three brands who are taking the initiative in making gaming more welcoming to a diverse audience.
DOVE REAL VIRTUAL BEAUTY
For almost two decades, skincare company Dove’s mission has been “to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety” for female consumers of all shapes and sizes. While gaming has become an increasingly popular hobby among young women, many female gamers still feel that the representation of women in video games often reflects an unrealistic, inflexible standard of beauty. Dove recently partnered with Unreal Engine and Women in Games to create their new gaming-centered campaign. Real Virtual Beauty aims to partner with those involved in video game production to include more diverse body types when it comes to their female characters.
XBOX’S GAME ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES
With the average price for a recently-released game being anywhere from $60-70 dollars, gaming is an expensive hobby. For disabled gamers, enjoying their favorite pastime can be a great financial risk. According to Antonio Ignacio Martinez, founder of the Game Accessibility Nexus, differently abled consumers often do not know if they can actually play the game prior to purchasing. This is why Xbox’s Accessibility Showcase, a feature that adds highly specific disability tags to each game, is a huge help for its disabled consumerbase, as it takes some of the guesswork out of their purchasing decisions.
GAYMINGMAG.COM “GAYMING AWARDS”
Gayming Magazine is a UK-based LGBTQ+ magazine that bills itself as the “home of queer geek culture.” The term “gaymer” is not new – Gaymer.org has been around since the early aughts – but Gayming has made strides in boosting representation with its “Gayming Awards,” an annual in-person event that celebrates queer representation in video games and the queer community that plays them. Though 21% of all the people working in the games industry identify as LGBTQ+, this is a crucial cohort that has historically been overlooked. Today, thanks in part to the work of Gayming Magazine, the gaymer community is an integral part of the gaming world, and their contributions and advocacy have helped to shape the industry into a more inclusive and diverse place.
For more, be sure to check out our Gamer Trendsetter Panel discussion from Cassandra Sessions earlier this year.