If 2020 had been a standard yr, then the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo would have occurred this previous summer time in Los Angeles. If E3 had taken place, then a few of the gaming business’s greatest studios and publishers would have held press conferences watched by thousands and thousands of players around the globe heralding a lot of their greatest upcoming releases. And if that had occurred, then for the sixth yr 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.
However, 2020 has been something however a standard yr, 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 displays they may launch to keen audiences of players at any time of yr; however this yr, studios wishing to succeed in potential gamers through the summer time months had no different possibility. So we, too, have tailored. This yr, our collected information displays video games featured in video displays by main studios and publishers that came about between June 11 and September 10. Specifically, we checked out two Sony occasions, two Ubisoft occasions, one by EA, and one other by Microsoft.
Last yr, our fifth yr of accumulating information from E3 press conferences, we concluded that, for all of the elevated consciousness and dialog about representations of ladies in video games that had occurred over the previous decade, when it comes to the uncooked numbers, feminine illustration was simply not getting any higher, with solely a paltry 5 p.c of video games featured eventually yr’s occasion particularly specializing in feminine characters. Now, right here’s the excellent news: Statistically, this yr represents a major enchancment, with about 18 p.c of video games proven that includes feminine characters. In truth, this represents a brand new excessive, virtually doubling the earlier (dismal) file of 9 p.c from 2014, our first yr accumulating this information.
This yr 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 yr’s whole, or simply 5 p.c extra video games general. In earlier years, there have all the time been no less than thrice as many video games centering males as there have been centering girls, so the truth that this yr each values are no less than in the identical ballpark is certainly a welcome growth. However, whereas we should always maybe be cautiously optimistic about these numbers, we additionally shouldn’t escape the champagne simply but. It will naturally require one other yr or two earlier than we are able to start to find out if this shift displays precise modifications which are happening, or if 2020 is a one-off statistical anomaly that can rapidly see a return to the established order.