Women in Game Development

I found this Gamasutra Article fascinating, and applicable across multiple disciplines.

What’s so fascinating about it? Most of these reasons are generic occurrences that you can see in almost any corporate environment.

Hey cool, the author of that piece, a non-profit organization called Pixelles, has a bunch of free games available for play which were developed by members of their game incubator program.

Pixelles Game Incubator

The incubator is a free, six-week workshop series designed to help ten women (cis/trans) make their first game. Whether it’s a platformer, educational, or historical drama, each participant will make any game their heart desires. We will select participants (who identify as a woman) of different talents and experiences to make their first game with us.


All the ones I’ve tried are for PC/Mac so far, no Android. And some are in some sort of French-like language various Canadians speak. But there’s some interesting looking ideas. I love this sort of shit, it’s like getting a chance to read a writer’s rough draft, or hear a band’s demo tape. Rough, unpolished passion.

The list of reasons is generic, but even reading the article before they got to the reasons, it was focused a lot on burnout and churn.

Churn in games has always been a source of concern, but marginalized people burn out and leave the industry at a significantly faster rate than their colleagues*. And when the average career is five years long, that means they’re churning very quickly indeed.

So I did find it interesting, despite the fact that the reasons and solutions, when they get to them, are more generic than the first part of the article.

Wow, I guess as a lifer I haven’t even considered changing careers ever (what the hell else am I gonna do? :) ) But assuming that number is even vaguely accurate that’s a problem for everyone not just the majority of the population (women). I mean 5 years average for all game devs? Scary.

I saw something recently that puts 5 years as the average employee retention length in the game industry as a whole. I expect that it’s worse for women, especially given the horror stories I hear out of specific companies, but there are definitely systemic problems affecting the entire industry.

5 years is apparently also the norm for lawyers, but I don’t remember if all fields or just specific ones. I distinctly remember reading first hand accounts from corporate lawyers who said it’s a soul crushing job that completely drains you.

Part of what turned me off from career changing into teaching was that roughly 50% of teachers burnout and change careers after 5 years also. And as someone already burned out after 15 years in my current job, it wasn’t all that promising.

I should add that teaching in Australia isn’t like in the US where things sound even worse for anyone choosing that profession.

Yes, this! My wife is a high school tutor & we’ve seen the good teachers retiring and leaving in droves because the system has gotten so bad. It started with Bush and “No Child Left Behind” but has accelerated since.