Women need to be more visible in the game industry to help encourage girls to take up development at a young age, says Siobhan Reddy.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, the Media Molecule studio director said that it takes women working on games for games to change, and was hopeful that current initiatives focused at teaching children programming and game jams would encourage a new generation of women developers.
“The thing I know about the industry is that it changes all the time,” said Reddy.
“And I have had a unique experience I think in that I was hired into the industry by a woman, the next studio I worked in I was hired in by a woman, and we actually worked on a game all about crashing cars, which was actually really fun. Burnout was a real favourite with women. Women like visceral fun as much as men do. That was a game that both genders like.
"I think it takes women working on games for games to change. And I know that there are all sorts of discussions about where it is now and where it has been, but I’m interested in where it is going, particularly the type of things we’re making at Media Molecule, and lots of other studios are making games which are for both genders and all ages.”
When asked why there were relatively few designers and programmers in the industry that were women, Reddy said that was the “million dollar question” facing the sector, and one she would like to see solved.
She claimed that some “sad” statistics had shown that by the time girls reached year 8 in school, many had been put off working in technology or games by teachers, friends or even from within the home.
“I think is incredibly sad because it is a massively exciting industry and it’s still very, very, very young. We’re still at the tip of the iceberg phase,” she said.
Reddy also identified that the game industry actually included a number of women who ran studios and had high levels of influence, but that the lack of female creative directors was a shame.
The Media Molecule boss, who was recently named in the BBC Woman’s Hour Power 100, said that being recognised for her contributions to the industry made her realise the importance of visibility of prominent women in the sector to inspire girls to take up development.
Reddy also recommended that any women looking to get into games should just start making them and looking for things going on with the local community to help refine their craft and learn more about the industry, and used SwallowTail’s Sophia George as an example of young women who have gone on to start their own company out of university.
“I’d say to people who are interested in getting into the industry, just start making games or find the various things that are going on within your community or within your country, because there are a lot of things going on,” said Reddy.
“Band together with people to actually get on and make stuff. That’s the best way, because you can be a part of the industry, you can decided today ‘I want to make a game’, and tomorrow you can get started, or you can get started today. And then that’s the way to get your practice going, and then you can start figuring out what kind of company to go to, or whether or not you want to go to uni, or what path you want to take.”