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Last Updated : Sep 13, 2019 11:09 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Women as game developers: This job sector is welcoming more female participation

Gaming companies feel the need of hiring more women to make games and this is because the population of female gamers has increased.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

Taapsee Pannu plays the character of a game developer/designer in her latest offering, Game Over.  Interestingly, the movie coincides with a recent trend in the job market.

Meenakshi, a coder by profession, was contemplating her choices of joining a company after completing her studies. She ended up as a game developer.

Ask her why and she says, “instead of going to any corporate space, I thought games would be more creative, fun and challenging.”

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Currently working at Hammerplay, a game development studio, Meenakshi says a career option in developing games is something women can explore.

And, women have been exploring it especially with the online gaming space seeing strong growth in India.

Look at Meenakshi who has designed games like Road Rage and Tuk Tuk go.

Now, how big is the online gaming space is not unknown. But, what is interesting to know is that, along with more gamers coming on board, more game developers will be added in the next few years.

A Google-KPMG report estimates that over 100 online game developers will be added in the next four to five years.

Gaming becoming a welcoming space for women developers

This is why Keerti Singh, the co-founder and VP-Growth at Hitwicket, believes that as “the industry is growing big, women will feel confident in taking up making games as a career path.”

“The awareness of the industry has increased a lot. The exposure to games amid college students is a lot more than it was like five years back. Now, whenever people are interacting with a product they can visualize a career in that,” she added.

She added, “Last week we went to VIT for campus placement and we made people participate in our e-sports tournament. And out of 1,700 there were around 400 girls who participated in the tournament. Even for our interviews we saw that many girls were interested in getting into the gaming space. The girl students that we have selected, some of them applied for the tech role, some for product role and some for game data role.”

To this, Saumya Singh, co-founder - WinZo Games, said, “If you look at the gaming space there are women leading gaming companies altogether.”

Take the example of Mohini Dutta, the co-founder of Antidote Games or Anila Andrade at 99 games, and even Keerti and Saumya who broke into the boys' club. After all, from playing games to making them, men have been dominating the space.

But the scenario is changing.

“There were not many organized companies so far which were operating in this space. There were only few studios and they to were not very organized. Now things are changing a lot with so much of influx of companies coming in this space, so much of capital coming in this space,” said Saumya.

“We had recently announced funds for game developers and we did get a lot of requests from female developers who were independently making games. Scenario is changing drastically with organized companies, better monetization model,” she added.

Saumya also spoke about a game designer at WinZo who, despite being passionate about designing games, was confused whether or not to take it up as a profession.

“Komal interned with us when WinZo started and now she is far more secure after seeing how gaming as a sector is moving and the designs that you see on WinZo Games she has a lot of contribution in that,” said Saumya.

Making games is not only about coding

While Saumya sees a lot of applications from female game designers and coders, she noted that lot of women were coming into game design but fewer in coding and far more in content creation.

And, this shows that there are diverse roles in the gaming space for women.

Mukta Aphale, who is the DevOps Lead at Mobile Premier League (MPL), has been a hands-on developer for close to a decade. Now, she deals with automation and does load testing which is the ability to host millions of players and games without crashing.

Asifa Sunar who has over 11 years of experience and has worked with firms like Ola, Oracle, currently works as a product quality lead at MPL.

She said, “Game development does not only include coding where the participation of women would be probably around 10 percent. But when it comes to designing or quality checks which also comes under the technical space then the participation of women would be around 30-40 percent.”

Gaming companies looking to hire more women

Even gaming companies feel the need of hiring more women to make games, and this is because the population of female gamers has increased.

“Any global game will be inclusive. It means that it can be played by both men and women and inevitably you need in your team both men and women because when it comes to designing the art of the game what may appeal to a man may be repelling to a woman. Hence, in coming up with a common taste, women will have an important role in all aspects of game design because the game you are making, of that, women are also a target group,” explained Keerti.

This is why Hitwicket is planning to introduce female characters in the online game of cricket on their platform. So, soon you might see a mix of male and female cricketers in your team while playing cricket on Hitwicket.

Globally, the top studios are making sure that there is a healthy ratio of women in their team.

India may not be too far in doing that now that the space is flourishing.

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First Published on Sep 13, 2019 11:09 am
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