Blog - Gravity Recruitment Ltd - Gravity Recruitment Ltd Sun, 17 Feb 2019 23:45:17 +0000 Purple Penguin Media Limited en-gb Esports: Even better than the real thing?! Esports: Even better than the real thing?!

Esports: Even better than the real thing?!

A recent report by US company Kleiner Perkins - venture capitalists who have stakes in various gaming companies - has shown that the growth in popularity of esports has the potential to overtake the public’s love of real-life sports.

Kleiner Perkins’ findings refer mostly to millennial gamers, typically aged 18-34. These gamers seem quite torn on whether they prefer playing and watching games on a digital screen or an actual field: 27% of millennial respondents said they preferred esports; another 27% prefer ‘traditional’ sports.

Given that this group of gamers is made up of young people, we can only imagine that the next generation will see esports even more ingrained in the scope of leisure pursuits and hobbies. Perhaps in anticipation of this shift, US universities have created esport tuition courses. There’s even one here in the UK: Staffordshire university is currently advertising a degree in esports, which they say covers the “business of playing games professionally”. Course content covers game design, but also the culture of esports, as well as a focus on the live events side of things.

Back to the Kleiner Perkins survey…if the respondent wasn’t a millennial, traditional sports appeared to be their first choice, perhaps because this is what they know best. Esports is relatively new as an industry, and it’s easy to see why it appeals to younger gamers, who have experienced it in equal measure to real-life sports. Traditional sports have always proved popular because of fans’ social interaction, and the fact they appeal to all age groups and families, etc. But given the live events that surround esports, where gamers can get their ‘social fix’, and that, as millennials age, there may become a point where esports cross all age groups, could they really become a true rival to traditional sports?

According to reports, this may already be the case in the US. Apparently, more Americans play League of Legends than actual real-life baseball; LoL is also watched more than the NBA Finals, World Series or BCS national championship game.

In a country where gaming is a huge market, this is perhaps interesting but not surprising. Could esports take over from real-life sports across the world? Given that only 40% of the world’s population have internet connection and a computer – vital components to compete/watch esports – this is unlikely in the near future. If access wasn’t an issue, it’s conceivable that many would rather play sports in the comfort of our home, than pound a pitch or court for more than two hours. The easiest option tends to be the most attractive to us.

Though the media would have us believe there’s equal interest in esports and traditional sports, some industry experts discount this. They say that media sources interpret figures incorrectly, as well as misunderstand esport metrics. For example, the statistics relating to traditional sports viewers feature averages, not actual figures. “And esports data is all over the place,” according to one expert, who believes it’s unfair and inaccurate to compare both sets of stats against each other, like for like.

What’s clear is that the popularity of esports is solid, and growing. Goldman Sachs valued the industry last year at $500mn, and they forecast 22% compound growth year on year. Now, that’s definitely something worth watching!



]]> (Karen) Blog Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:50:28 +0100
What the gaming industry brings to the economy… What the gaming industry brings to the economy…

What the gaming industry brings to the economy…

Often seen by ‘outsiders’ as simply an addictive hobby, perhaps only those working within the gaming industry can fully understand its financial worth. Far from being something only teenage boys bother with, the gaming industry has continued to grow year on year, attracting every generation and gender (hasn’t everybody’s gran had a go on the Wii after too many sherries?!).

In all seriousness, gaming continues to be a lucrative business - and at a time when some other industries are still battling the recession from almost a decade ago.

The US represents one of the biggest gaming markets, and 2015 reports showed that the sector contributed $11bn to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – the UK industry, in comparison, contributed £1.25bn to our economy (the global market currently represents $108.9bn). Average take-home pay for a game developer in America reaches $97,000; whether that level of remuneration is reflected in a UK developer’s pay packet is something worth discussing in another blog post.

Though here in the UK, we may do things on a smaller scale, there’s no less potential in our gaming industry. A TIGA report shows a 5% rise in the number of studios from 2014, and the number of developers working in the industry has risen by 7.5%. That’s evidence of growth, without doubt; however, according to TIGA CEO, Richard Wilson, the number of large studios has diminished, as micro studios concentrate on “platforms populated by smaller games, specifically mobile”.

The UK gaming industry supports more than 20,000 jobs, yet that’s not enough. One reason more professionals are needed is the sheer number of opportunities: from AR and VR, to mobile gaming and eSports, as well as traditional console games. Mobile, in particular, is cited as the main player by Newzoo, who said it contributes the “lion’s share” to overall revenue. They even predict this discipline will continue to grow, at a rate of 19%, year on year.

Finland is one example of the fallout of such growth, as it recently lamented the difficulties in attracting talented employees, particularly those at senior level. Professionals from other countries currently make up 18% of the Finnish gaming workforce, and that isn’t enough to keep up with demand. And the country is no small fry: Finland, despite its size, is the third largest game developer in Europe. Games represent the country’s largest content export.

It’s not just the games themselves that generate revenue. The mergers and acquisitions element of the industry is absolutely flying, as smaller studios get swallowed up by bigger ones, who themselves merge with a competitor to make brand giants – through various levies and taxes, the economy doesn’t miss out from all this action.

It’s not growth across the board, though. Console sales are reportedly down by 27%, compared with the previous year, but this is offset by the staggering 40% growth in mobile. Sales of gaming accessories are on the rise, but software sales have dipped. VR, as a discipline, is another that’s flying, and experts predict results will exceed expectations, even if they admit the growth VR should see will be slow-burning.

For job-seekers, the future looks bright. At the beginning of the year, TIGA surveyed a number of game companies, and a promising 88% said they will be hiring at some point in the near future, in line with expansion plans they’ve drawn up on the back of their consistent growth.

The outlook for the gaming industry is a promising one, with the added benefit that some elements of the market have still to find their feet. Even where sales in certain disciplines have dropped, these changes have simply arisen from changing consumer tastes - it’s not as if gamers have taken up knitting, they’ve just found a different way to play. The most important thing is, they’re still spending…

]]> (Karen) Blog Wed, 17 May 2017 12:12:52 +0100
Is Brexit bad news for the gaming industry? Is Brexit bad news for the gaming industry?

Is Brexit bad news for the gaming industry?

Whilst it’s hard to predict what may or may not happen to the gaming industry when the UK finally leaves the EU, current uncertainty doesn’t exactly look as if it’s giving the sector a boost.

With no guarantees about what may be affected by Brexit, we’ve already noticed that UK-based roles appear less attractive to job-seekers – an opinion not just held by EU candidates, but also non-EU job-seekers.

The UK employs many international designers and gaming professionals; if we fail to attract top talent because of our bid for independence from Europe, the industry will be under threat from a major skills shortage.

According to a recent report by games trade body Ukie, almost two-thirds (61%) rely on overseas talent. Of the international workers here in the UK, a third come from the EU.

This ‘wobble’ has seen a 40% downturn in UK-based positions. As well as affecting new recruits, it also risks impacting existing staff. UK gaming companies will have a challenge on their hands retaining talent that already makes up their workforce. For who wants to be the last person on a sinking ship?!

69% of those surveyed by Ukie said that the paperwork and red tape surrounding immigration is already burdensome, pre-Brexit; the expectation that this will become even more stringent and time-consuming is yet another hurdle recruiters face. It’s not as if we can instantly turn to home-grown designers and coders; 65% of businesses in the gaming industry admitted that they hired people from outside the UK because they felt they’d already drained the UK talent pool.

Trading within the EU is another potential blot on the landscape. Like many industries, how the UK trades with European companies after we leave is another area that’s uncertain. Altered trade tariffs, changes in data localisation, any limitations to content – and particularly, changes to cross border data transfers - could negatively impact game businesses, which is why Ukie’s report recommends to government that the current liberation the industry enjoys, remains.

Another significant area that could change the face of the UK gaming industry involves funding. Many companies have benefited from EU money, and seen their business grow as a result – without access to similar funds, the ongoing growth of some companies may be stunted. Whilst Brexit has been seen by some as an ‘opportunity’ to overhaul and review funding to the UK, there’s no doubt the gaming industry would suffer in the short-term if EU funds suddenly dried up. And should the pound be worth less, following Brexit, fewer man-hours can be purchased with any hard-won funds, which brings its own ramifications.

The internet created a global gaming marketplace, and the UK is seen as an innovator within the industry. The threat of what Brexit may bring has seen 40% of UK companies consider relocating all, or part, of their business.

Despite Ukie’s findings, however, not everyone believes Brexit will negatively impact the gaming industry. Some believe trade with such as China and Brazil will only strengthen over the long term.

Now Article 50 has been triggered, it’s unlikely nothing will change. Let’s just hope negotiations result in as-good-as, if not better, terms for the UK gaming industry.

]]> (Karen) Blog Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:09:04 +0100
Is there enough inclusivity, diversity and representation in today’s games? Is there enough inclusivity, diversity and representation in today’s games?

Is there enough inclusivity, diversity and representation in today’s games?

In a recent interview, Overwatch director, Jeff Kaplan, explained how he and his team looked at the issue of inclusivity whilst creating new game ideas for Blizzard.

As well as mulling over gameplay and locations, Jeff’s team gave a lot of thought to their characters, and the subject of inclusivity. As a result, they made one of the snipers within the game an older American woman. And another character was depicted to be in a lesbian relationship, according to her backstory.

Let’s face it, the angry, muscly ‘soldier-type’ character has been done. But was Jeff’s team right to include these? Could this be the gateway to the world seeing more minority characters and personality-types in games?

Though Jeff states their motivation was more to do with experimentation than making a political statement, it presents the question: do gamers actually want to see themselves, or a representation of people they know, within the games they play?

Beamdog director, David Gaider, believes inclusivity should be a natural occurrence. Otherwise, he says, “You risk shoving your message down people’s throat at the same time as ignoring your core audience.” He sees the subject as a “Pandora’s Box”, that can attract complaints from the people you’re looking to include, as well as those you’re sidelining.

He says, “The moment you try to address the issues of inclusivity, you'll feel like you're stepping into a minefield. Including minority characters isn't enough, often it's about how you include them. Do they fall into negative tropes or stereotypes, or do they have any negative qualities which could be conceived as such? Though you may receive some positive media attention for your efforts, it will feel like you can never do enough. You’ve included a gay character, great! But what about trans-characters, asexuals, demisexuals? Black characters? What about Asians or native Americans? The problem is that, through one game, you cannot represent the entire breadth of humanity.”

Commercial influences and an ever-changing society has seen dating app Tinder make changes. Perhaps prompted by a growing market, who are now less afraid to voice their sexual preferences and orientations, the company recently introduced more gender options that a user could choose from. Their aim: “to create more meaningful connections”.

Revenue and business, according to Martin Cooper, from the BCS, are indeed good reasons to create a game title or app with diversity woven throughout. He points out that, in a world where everything is driven by data, consumer tastes, trends and statistics, marginalising any aspect of society is a bad idea. Innovation is what drives everything forward, and by making unusual aspects more ‘normal’, you can open up completely new markets.

Diversity and inclusivity is not just an issue that concerns the games themselves, it’s also relevant to the teams creating them. After all, how can a group of young, white, male developers know how a native American grandmother would think, feel or act? Says Theresa McHenry, Microsoft’s HR Director, “Our latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.”

Though the above is a brief argument for and against inclusivity in gaming, it may be a question that soon becomes irrelevant; it may eventually drive itself - because, what the market wants, the market usually gets. One thing we’d have to agree with is that, for true authenticity, and a greater depth of understanding regarding any minority, there should be diversity and inclusivity behind the screen, as well as on it.



]]> (Karen) Blog Thu, 09 Mar 2017 09:14:29 +0000
Gamification, and its uses in recruitment... Gamification, and its uses in recruitment...

Gamification, and its uses in recruitment...

The definition of gamification in the context of recruitment, according to ‘Social Marketing Fella’ Andre Bourque, is “the process of using the science and psychology of games to reward and motivate people, and encourage them to behave in a desired fashion”.

Used by some organisations to help individuals understand the ins and outs of a role - by seeing it in practice, on an augmented reality basis – means gamification is useful when training new and potential recruits - something the US army has been doing for a while. The opportunity to ‘teach’ transferable skills, using gamification, is another aspect. Games such as ‘Burger Shop’ can give users the understanding and skills needed to run a business – qualities many employers could make use of.

But teaching and demonstration are not the only uses for gamification in recruitment, however. Unilever have incorporated gamification as a way to prevent unconscious bias at the outset of the hiring journey; as part of the process, candidates play games as well as engage in video interviews. Unilever believes it gives them a good insight into candidates’ skills and potential. They also think gamification is effective in increasing brand awareness, encouraging engagement from candidates, and - recognising how much of us use our tablets or smartphones – adapting to our shortening attention spans. Their hope is that this digital process will attract talent to the company. Bias isn’t intentional, when hiring; Unliever have found that assessing candidates based on their skills, rather than their appearance or how well they cope with interviews, gives the company “more options”.

Of course, screening candidates and subjecting them to such as anonymous psychometric tests to ascertain their abilities and qualities is not a new concept. However, gamification takes it one step further. Candidates can be put, virtually, in actual situations, rather than simply reading about them in a hypothetical question. Seeing how they may handle a scenario can tell an employer much more than their ability to understand or guess the right answer from multiple choices.

Another aspect is that gamification in the hiring process makes it fun!

But it’s not simply adding games into the selection process to boost candidates’ moods or for novelty value. The aim is to increase engagement, such as incorporating it into relevant points during the application process, i.e. social media channels and job board/career sites. Recent research showed that 48% of Americans play ‘social’ games online – which could tell employers a lot about a person they may be looking to employ. Surveys, opinion polls and league tables are all examples of simple gamification to attract and engage potential hires.

Simple target-based gamification is already around us. Think of your Linkedin profile…every time you log on, there’s a progress bar that encourages you to upload or supply more information. Some recruiters also use targets as encouragement when it comes to referrals, offering points for each person recommended, towards a benefit of some sort.

Experts recommend that any gamification used has a strategy behind it. So, you may get likes and shares, but what does that translate to? Are you measuring traffic, creating a buzz, or both?

These examples of gamification in recruitment aren’t particularly new; however, applications that are more game-based are rising in popularity. In some cases, it’s not necessarily about incorporating them into the recruitment process, but of highlighting opportunities within a company to users playing their game – even if they’re not actively looking for a job. Tech recruiters believe it helps them find “the cream of the crop”.

For recruiters, gamification has a wealth of possibilities, from attracting top talent, filtering applicants, increasing awareness and engagement, assessing skills, to demonstrating the role in hand in an almost real-life situation. It’s a real game changer.

]]> (Karen) Blog Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:11:38 +0000
Gaming predictions of 2017 Gaming predictions of 2017

Gaming predictions of 2017

The gaming industry: its appeal, the revenue it brings, and the range of things it offers go from strength to strength as each year passes.

So, we know it’s successful, and a far cry from being something only ‘geeks’ enjoy, but what’s new? What developments are on the cards? What will be different this year from 2016?

We’ve brought you a handful of New Year predictions from gaming experts.

Developers in demand north of the border

Home to nearly 10% of the U.K.’s games companies, the Scottish tech industry has recently seen huge growth. Typically, following a growth spurt, businesses embark on a mass recruitment drive, which is exactly what has happened: Trade association TIGA has reported that the number of developers employed during the fifteen months to March 2016 grew by a quarter – and represented double the national average.

Despite this upturn, experts believe further growth in the Scottish gaming industry could be achieved - according to TIGA executive, Dr Richard Wilson, companies could take advantage of tax relief schemes and other business initiatives during 2017 to expand even more.

VR may move from consumer markets towards commercial avenues

Though 2016 was a good year for VR, some studios have already come to the conclusion that the profit associated with this tech isn’t necessarily hiding in the consumer market. With many companies investing a huge amount of money, talent and working hours into VR, it’s not a case of giving up on it, but steering focus towards other uses for VR hardware and its applications. Already proving useful in medical scenarios, and being employed in such as the property market and engineering, VR could have more profit potential within industry.

That said, other experts believe VR will remain - and positively bloom - in the consumer market. Seeing 2016 as the birth of VR, they predict the tech will see its fair share of teething troubles in 2017, before settling down and firmly establishing its appeal with consumers.

Mobile gaming will likely see a huge hit

Though mobile has grown exponentially, this rate of growth has slowed in the last couple of years. Games topping the charts were big hits a couple of years ago, and which haven’t shifted position from the top spots since release.

Experts predict a completely new game/concept will shake everything up in 2017, and this could come from Nintendo, given its recent collaboration with Universal Studios. New business models for mobile gaming are also forecasted. With some experts warning that mobile is on the brink of ‘consumer burnout’, i.e. that consumers’ familiarity with the games available may cause sales to crash, it’s clear something needs to move the market from its current plateau.

Despite some in the industry painting mobile gaming as a pressure cooker ready to blow, other experts believe the market will not only stabilise but push through to even bigger sales, topping an estimated $40 billion worldwide by the end of the year.

Consumer spending on the sector will exceed $100 billion worldwide

Yearly growth in revenue has continually reached around 6%, and there’s no sign that consumers are getting fed up. On the contrary, spend on gaming exceeds cinema box office sales, DVD sales and music sales combined. China is predicted to remain the biggest market, and 2017 is expected to see the gap widen between them and the next largest games market – the U.S.


]]> (Karen) Blog Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:09:48 +0000
Black Friday: Retail smash or industry obstacle? Black Friday: Retail smash or industry obstacle?

Black Friday: Retail smash or industry obstacle?

Gaming continues to prove a big hit with consumers, and as sales reports come in from various places following Black Friday (more of a week-long promotion than a day’s sale, and which includes ‘Cyber Monday’), it’s clear the industry did well.

Almost two million games were sold over the corresponding week - a nine percent increase on last year’s total. These sales resulted in an extra four percent in revenue for the industry, the total of which topped £58m.

It wasn’t just software that saw huge sales figures: during Black Friday week, the Playstation 4 console saw its best sales week since its launch three years ago.

How consumers shopped was also interesting. The majority of visits to gaming retailers’ websites were via a mobile device, and sales via this method exceeded $1bn for the first time. And despite Thanksgiving traditionally being a day spent celebrating with the family, the gaming industry enjoyed $2bn in sales revenue whilst consumers tucked into their turkey dinners.

Sales reports point to Pokemon’s Sun and Moon being the most popular game purchase, which almost reached the dizzy heights of Call of Duty’s opening weekend, and no doubt due to the popularity and hype Pokemon enjoyed in the summer with their Pokemon Go.

However, figures show that, in the weeks preceding the Black Friday event, gaming sales were down. Retail experts believe this could be due to the expectations from consumers of the spectacular deals seen during Black Friday week.

Some industry insiders believe the success of the annual event may see some game publishers rethinking their strategy for the last quarter of the year. Traditionally, new releases come onto the market at the back end of October, just in time to maximise Christmas sales - but if consumers defer purchase until Black Friday week, to take advantage of the huge discounts they’ll undoubtedly see, release schedules may change. Once a game is discounted, it’s difficult for a retailer to return to full price; consumers often expect the lower, reduced price to stand until Christmas, and possibly further.

And though mobile sales were up from last year, these weren’t necessarily representing extra revenue – footfall in physical stores was down, compared with figures from last year.

That said, there will be few retailers regretting taking part in the retail extravaganza. Black Friday sales of both hardware and software have added buoyancy to a continually changing retail market. Promotional items were carefully chosen and pushed forward to take advantage of the extra interest and spending from consumers. Given that game titles aren’t just competing with themselves, but also against every other way consumers spend their leisure time, the increase in revenue year on year is even more impressive.

]]> (Karen) Blog Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:52:01 +0000
Rise of AR and VR good for job-seekers Rise of AR and VR good for job-seekers

Rise of AR and VR good for job-seekers

Oculus has announced that they’re expanding, and stated that they’re hiring 100 new employees as a result. The reason for the growth (or expected growth): a surge in popularity for AR and VR – separate fields that Oculus themselves admit are now beginning to blend into a ‘mixed reality’.

Twitter mentions of either reality has increased by a whopping 548% since January 2015. So, what’s caused this shift, when past attempts to create such interest have previously failed?

It could be down to many things. Oculus’ own Rift headset received more interest than any devices released over the last few decades, and the price points of VR and AR tech are slowly becoming cheaper to the gamer on the street. That said, the Rift is VR, and some industry experts have commented that it lacks the whole experience, namely physical immersion, but that manufacturers are working on making products more accessible can’t be a bad thing.

Because of our increasing need for ‘experience’ in this digital world, where you can do/see anything, anywhere, at any time, VR – even if we patiently wait for it to become all we’d like it to be – may miss the boat. AR could well prove the most promising of the two prospects, given the feedback users and the media have published recently,

But VR isn’t dead and buried yet. Having the backing of Zuckerberg from 2014 has also given Oculus a fantastic boost that must have made its competitors inwardly envious. The funds to be the first to expand, trial products and bring VR to the mainstream market could add up, but it’s not as if there’s plenty more in his account. Zuckerberg’s ‘bet’, as some journalists refer to it, on Oculus being the household name of VR has seen coders and developers head his way in droves – and Oculus still need more!

In 2015, job postings for mixed reality related job roles jumped 605%, and have since doubled from even that figure. Indeed’s Managing Director, Bill Richards said, “Employers may soon need an army of augmented reality architects to design the virtual worlds we’ll all be accessing. The smartest thing companies can do to be part of this trend, is to hire switched-on, open-minded, tech-savvy individuals to help them build workplaces of the future.” He added that the recruitment brand had seen more demand from businesses in industries other than gaming and leisure, and states that all companies should be “looking to diversify”.

VR has already found roots in healthcare, helping to battle eye conditions, for example, and the possibility that ‘virtual doctors’ will soon visit us in our homes isn’t the stuff of make-believe anymore – this is what some companies will be working on as we speak.

Virtual tours of potential employers’ workplaces is no different than those estate agents post to show buyers a property for sale…in fact, virtual reality is already an established aspect of some industries. The British Army already use VR as part of their recruitment process, and it could soon be a staple element of most other recruitment agencies. If candidates are looking to relocate, both recruiter and candidate can scope out aspects of their new life without having to book a plane ticket. Meetings over conference calls will be so much better with VR; up to 93% of our communication is non-verbal, and we’ll be able to see the physical cues and expressions we’d normally miss out on, with VR technology.

It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for the VR and AR industries. Because, however virtual a world we build, we’ll still need human intellect and hard graft to monitor and develop it further.


]]> (Karen) Blog Tue, 08 Nov 2016 10:56:28 +0000
Football: the beautiful (digital) game…? Football: the beautiful (digital) game…?

Football: the beautiful (digital) game…?

Dwindling attendance at the gates of many football stadiums, continual rows surrounding corruption, and the continually-increasing price of season tickets, has seen football struggle in its appeal to the masses. Whereas it was once the favourite pastime of the working class man, football is moving further from his reach.

At least, it is in real-life. But, thankfully, there are other ways to enjoy the beautiful game – a digital trade-off that is not only a more affordable option, but one that’s definitely capturing the next generation’s interest. Is the future of football as we know it under threat?

Far from being a sport that’s slipping away from the man on the street, players – and bystanders – through such as FIFA 17, are flocking to the sport in droves.

Engagement is surely the epitome of any activity, and a recent tournament - the FIFA Interactive World Cup - attracted a worldwide audience of 5 million people, despite its virtual foundations and lack of (real-life) ‘superstar’ players. The event was shown in 100 countries, and inspired 40 million comments and interactions on social media.

It still featured sponsorship deals, well-known clubs, and international competition. Digital scans of footballing heroes make them appear as real as possible in a virtual world. The YouTube generation is starting to favour eSports over the real thing.

And though EA Sports, the makers of FIFA 17, normally lag behind huge gaming titles, like Call of Duty, the introduction of the company’s Competitive Gaming Division has levelled the playing field (pardon the pun). Their task, to arrange official worldwide tournaments with huge prize pots, is not only attracting gamers, but also real football clubs - the advertising and merchandise revenue opportunities being no less of a draw in the digital game.

Premier League executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, believes digital football and social media could threaten the enthusiasm of youngsters for the sport. He said, “I see young people spending time on their devices. Anything that’s entertaining them is an obstacle, which is why community-based and interactive-based activities are so important.”

Even television is catching on to digi-footy. Bidding huge figures to gain exclusivity for certain games and/or competitions, there’s a lot of money floating around TV networks for football. Perhaps acknowledging the rise in popularity of eSports in general, Sky is in talks with Ginx ESports TV about airing tournaments and original content on a 24-hour basis. A 2016 Deloitte study predicted that global revenue from eSports will rise by 25% this year, to $500m (£353m). The audience for such a TV channel could reach 150 million people worldwide.

Not everyone thinks online and offline football gaming are competing, however. Joe Smith, a senior strategist at 101 London, believes that FIFA 17 offers “a different kind of football game for a different kind of fan.”

Perhaps it is wrong to compare the two. Young gamers have probably never trekked from ground to ground to worship the left foot of some upcoming footy star. Older football fans will probably never visit an e-sports convention, nor understand how thrilling it can be to cheer on a ten-inch digitalised version of their hero. But, at their most basic level, both audiences do have one thing in common: a passion for watching eleven men chase a ball round a field.


]]> (Karen) Blog Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:51:26 +0100
Female gamers and developers: should there be more? Female gamers and developers: should there be more?

Female gamers and developers: should there be more?

Does it stand to reason, if women are to play games and be consumers of the latest title, should they be equally represented within the game, during the development of the game, and when promoting the game?

It’s probably not a surprise that the majority of gamers are male; however, the split may not be as drastic as you’d assume. Recent figures from UKIE state that 42% of gamers are female. That’s a hell of a market to ignore for any company. And if you need to get into the psyche of women, it’s probably a good idea to employ women…wouldn’t you agree?

That there’s the same proportion of women in game development, well, that lacks a little. A study by Creative Skillset Media shows that, whilst more women are today choosing the game industry as their place of work more than ever before, the UK still lags behind other countries when it comes to female developers. Stated the survey, fewer women opt for employment in the gaming sector than in any other creative industry – they make up just 19% of the gaming workforce. Though this sounds like bad news, this figure was just 6% in 2009, which actually shows good progress. However, compare this to the percentage of women in television – 45% - and it’s perhaps clear that more needs to be done.

The CEO of ESA (Entertainment Software Association), Michael Gallagher, is positive. He says, “31% of those enrolling for game programming are women. That's helpful. It's nowhere near that for engineering, so the pipeline looks much brighter. And every one of the major game releases in the fourth quarter of 2015 had playable female characters.”

Ciara Man, a game developer of ten years, started out as the only woman in her department. Some of her colleagues even admitted that they’d never met a female developer before she joined the company. Though she says that she’s always been respected by her male colleagues, she does admit that the industry needs to be more family-friendly, given that work often spills into the evenings and weekends. “Though that applies to men, too,” she adds. Her suggestion, with regards to attracting more women to game development, is to start early. She says, “We need to stop putting a gender on kids’ toys. Let girls play with trucks and Lego, and let boys play with pink dolls if they want to. We need to stop having girls believe that maths and physics are for boys, and encourage them to enjoy maths and science in school. This issue is not just a female IT issue either. If a boy says he wants to be a nurse he gets teased and laughed at. We need to just let kids be who they are without moulding them into a gender role.”

Many larger companies have initiatives aimed at attracting more women to the sector. However, women working in the industry commonly cite their decision as simply stemming from their love of games. Others credit women developers talking in schools or colleges as the inspiration for their choice of career, whilst a good portion enjoy developing because it makes use of their artistic talent.

So, should gender be an issue? Taking Ciara’s point, singling females out may do more harm than good, particularly in their younger years. On the other hand, budding female developers seem to be inspired by female role models working in the industry.

It’s clear progress is being made either way.

]]> (Karen) Blog Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:57:36 +0100