If 2020 had been a standard 12 months, then the annual Digital Leisure Expo would have occurred this previous summer season in Los Angeles. If E3 had taken place, then a number of the gaming business’s greatest studios and publishers would have held press conferences watched by hundreds of thousands of avid gamers all over the world heralding a lot of their greatest upcoming releases. And if that had occurred, then for the sixth 12 months in a row, we at Feminist Frequency would have compiled information on the bulletins to find out whether or not or not feminine illustration in video video games is definitely getting any higher.
Nonetheless, 2020 has been something however a standard 12 months, and Covid-19 necessitated the cancelation of E3. The expo’s relevance was already in decline, with corporations more and more counting on direct video shows they may launch to keen audiences of avid gamers at any time of 12 months; however this 12 months, studios wishing to succeed in potential gamers through the summer season months had no different choice. So we, too, have tailored. This 12 months, our collected information displays video games featured in video shows by main studios and publishers that befell between June 11 and September 10. Particularly, we checked out two Sony occasions, two Ubisoft occasions, one by EA, and one other by Microsoft.
Final 12 months, our fifth 12 months of accumulating information from E3 press conferences, we concluded that, for all of the elevated consciousness and dialog about representations of girls in video games that had occurred over the previous decade, by way of the uncooked numbers, feminine illustration was simply not getting any higher, with solely a paltry 5 p.c of video games featured eventually 12 months’s occasion particularly specializing in feminine characters. Now, right here’s the excellent news: Statistically, this 12 months represents a big enchancment, with about 18 p.c of video games proven that includes feminine characters. The truth is, this represents a brand new excessive, virtually doubling the earlier (dismal) document of 9 p.c from 2014, our first 12 months accumulating this information.
This 12 months additionally marks the narrowest divide between video games that includes outlined feminine protagonists and video games that includes outlined male protagonists that we’ve but seen, with video games starring male characters making up 23 p.c of this 12 months’s complete, or simply 5 p.c extra video games total. In earlier years, there have all the time been not less than thrice as many video games centering males as there have been centering ladies, so the truth that this 12 months each values are not less than in the identical ballpark is certainly a welcome growth. Nonetheless, whereas we should always maybe be cautiously optimistic about these numbers, we additionally shouldn’t get away the champagne simply but. It would naturally require one other 12 months or two earlier than we will start to find out if this shift displays precise adjustments which might be going down, or if 2020 is a one-off statistical anomaly that may rapidly see a return to the established order.