Diablo II Producer Weighs in on Female Presence in Gaming; It’s “1000x Better” Than Ever

What a week in gaming, if journalists weren’t screaming harassment against the alleged quitting of a pro-female Overwatch player, then they’re backtracking when they found out that it was all just a setup. Anything to get the blood flowing, am I right? The battle for more females in gaming has been an ongoing struggle for journalists to report on as they paint the picture of a world where 50% of gamers are female, based on statistics, and that means game developers should stop catering towards an audience of male gamers.

However, not everyone in gaming is so quick to suggest that this is the world we live in or even that game developers cater to males entirely. Mark Kern, the producer of games such as Diablo II and Starcraft, has provided his insight based on the years of work he has put into the gaming industry.

On Kern’s Twitter, the creator says, “Game makers have been trying to cater to women for a LONG time. There were even a couple of dedicated game startups for women back in the 90’s that all failed. I can tell you exactly when it changed. Facebook and mobile games.” and followed up with, “Game devs saw female gamers as a vast potential and beneficial market. When these startups happened, nobody said it was ‘to smash the patriarchy’ they were just excited about getting women into game. Gamers didn’t care, we all wanted more women to like our hobbies and jobs.”

These statements are in response to reports that almost 50% of gamers are women, but what the stats don’t include are females who play casual browser or mobile games. Furthermore, it seems that the media wants to suggest that toxic harassment and behavior are stunting the growth of women who feel marginalized in an industry dominated by males.

However, what reports don’t highlight are the points that Kern brings up in his thread as he points to the creation of online multiplayer as the moment when females would find themselves entering the gaming space more easily. Kern added, “WoW had more women than any prior Blizzard game and we were HAPPY about it. It’s a BS myth that game devs don’t want female gamers.” An angle that Kern suggest media don’t touch on enough is how toxic females were to males considering them “undesirable nerds” or how females often look down on female gamers.

Kern concluded his input on the subject by blaming media, more specifically “games journalists”, who present the problem of females in gaming as “worse than ever” and corrected the headline to read “it’s actually 1000x better and still getting better.” Kern suggests people don’t seem to bring attention to female creators in the 80’s and 90’s, such as  Roberta Williams writer of King’s Quest, which released in 1984.

The subject is a slippery slope and one that most game developers stay away from. It shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing that some people prefer these games over others. Even if that means that more females prefer this genre over that one. Pushing for an industry that attempts to make their game for “everyone” doesn’t really seem to be the correct direction.

You can read the entire thread below:

mark kern 1 mark kern 3 mark kern 2

Author’s take: There are bad apples in every batch. Let’s address the bad apples and not the extremely large majority of gamers who understand how to treat their fellow gamers.

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