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Nintendo: More women on development teams = greater diversity of ideas
News reported by 
Editor-in-chief
March 29, 2014, 22:04:02
 
This isn't exactly a shockingly novel idea, but it's nice to see someone from Nintendo openly stating it in a recent Wired.Com interview.

To be honest I wasn't even aware that the director of Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Aya Kyogoku) was female, let alone "almost half" of the development team, but it probably does make some sense that the Nintendo game that has seen the most widespread appeal between both genders has come from such a diverse development team.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf Director Aya Kyogoku

Some interesting quotes:

Producer Katsuya Eguchi (director of the original Animal Crossing):

“We wanted to make sure that the content allowed all the players to express their individuality,” he said during the GDC talk, “that it is was something men and women of all ages would enjoy. So in order to view the project from a variety of perspectives, we made sure the team was made up of people from various backgrounds and life experiences.”

Director Aya Kyogoku:

“Having worked on this team where there were almost equal numbers of men and women made me realize that [diversity] can open you up to hearing a greater variety of ideas and sharing a greater diversity of ideas,” she told WIRED. “Only after having working on a project like this, with a team like this one, was I able to realize this.”

I do have to admit, I am curious how much this attitude extends beyond the Animal Crossing development team at Nintendo? But it is a positive sign nonetheless.

Source: Wired.Com interview

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Posted: 03/29/14, 22:04:02  - Edited by 
 on: 03/29/14, 22:03:50    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
Just yesterday, you were telling me "If you're unwilling or unable to articulate how you feel yourself, I guess there really isn't much of a discussion here." I didn't take offense to it but it's funny in light of how you react now.

To be honest, I find "articulating views" to be overrated anyway. There is a lot more learning to be made by listening to others. Which is why I mostly link to articles in these discussions: people way more affected by certain policies, politics, etc. are much more apt to articulate certain injustices.


Posted by 
 on: 03/31/14, 22:29:51
Gee, as a moderator, I thought you'd appreciate me doing a little self-moderation and trying not to let the thread go off a cliff.


Posted by 
 on: 03/31/14, 22:36:22
Zero said:
@WrathOfSamus777 What is your plan to strive for it though? You're talking about "creating a culture of equality of opportunity" but you don't seem to back anything specifically that would lead towards more equality of opportunity. Rather, you seem to outright oppose any suggestions that would. Which is fair enough, no one has to support every idea out there. But what is your alternative then?

Things leading to a 'culture of equality of opportunity' have already happened though Zero. Yes there's still disparity in existence, but that's not for lack of trying.

Take Gui's example of the poor kid raised by a single mother because his dad is in jail. What's your solution there? Should the child receive extra money from somewhere because his dad is a criminal? Is that the sort of message the government should be sending? That whenever life gives you a bum rap, we throw money at it? That's a simplistic solution and there's valid reasons for opposing it. 'You haven't got anything better' isn't really a defence.

And here's the thing- That kid does have a lot of opportunity. He still has access to clean water. He still has access to education. He (most likely) has a roof over his head, and some food. That's a shit-ton more opportunity than he would have growing up in a poor African nation.

Inequitable situations exist. And yes it's crappy. And sure we strive to equalize things where we can. But it shouldn't be artificially forced, that just covers up the reasons why the problems exist in the first place.


Posted by 
 on: 03/31/14, 22:41:26
@WrathOfSamus777 I'm not sure that it is off-topic considering the basic question that spurred this line of discussion could probably be summed up as "Is it a good / bad / neutral thing for an employer to specifically seek out minorities to create a diverse team?" which of course leads to the questions like "Why aren't there more women making video games?" and such. It's all related to the article about Nintendo specifically trying to create a more diverse team for Animal Crossing.

But I'm not going to press anything, if you just want to hang out and talk about fun video games today there's always a place for that on NW.


Posted by 
 on: 03/31/14, 22:42:15
@Shadowlink

Yes, that is a message the government should be sending. The whole idea of the government is to make this savage world we live in more fair. If you accept the premise that we need a government to avoid allowing the biggest and strongest to take whatever they want by force, then we should use that system to attain actual equality instead of just empowering the same group forever through nepotism, croneyism, and the enforcement of property rights.

Actual equality means giving opportunity to a child even if his father is a criminal because no one gets to choose their parents. If you're looking for where to get the money you can start by looking at the United States record setting incarceration rates, particularly for non violent drug crimes, which destroys opportunity for the poor and minorities while enriching private corporations.


Posted by 
 on: 03/31/14, 22:55:32  - Edited by 
 on: 03/31/14, 22:56:02
@Jargon

I don't buy the idea of 'make fair by giving you money' approach though. Yes in certain circumstances it might be the best way, but I hardly think it's a catch-all solution.

It's an extension of the whole 'Give a man a fish...' thing I guess.

The incarceration thing you mention is a good example of looking for a solution to the actual issue rather than just covering it up with slabs of cash. Sure, absolutely look at whether or not the justice system is solving more problems than it's causing. Work on fixing that. But if you set a precedent of giving little Johnny and his mother 'compensation' because his weed smoking hippy father was tossed in jail, what happens when a child of a more violent drug dealer, maybe one who's shot a few people starts getting a government payout too? Yes you can argue that it's not his fault he had such a crappy father, but does that mean he should get a payout?

In situations like that you'd probably have to be looking at putting the kid in state care or something- Which of course would then come with it's own issues which have to be worked out. It's a complex thing to be honest, which again, is why I don't buy the whole 'just throw money at it' approach. It's far too simplistic.


...Anyway as has been noted, the main topic seems to have been lost here. We now return you to 'Women in Gaming' .


Posted by 
 on: 04/01/14, 00:00:01
@Shadowlink Well, yeah, if the kid is put into a horrible situation beyond his control society should definitely step up and do something about it. Make sure he has decent food, clothing, schooling, etc., whatever support he needs to step up from his situation. And we should be doing this for all of our poor and misfortunate, that's kind of basic human decency to me. Even many conservatives in America don't disagree with financially contributing to the plight of the poor / etc. per se, they just think it should not be forced but instead come freely through donations and such because it is "unfair" to do it through taxes. Yet just relying on donations rarely even begins to touch on the real need, for a variety of reasons, the main one being that most of the people who have wealth try to horde wealth instead of give to those in need.

The main argument I see (and actually agree with more than it might seem) against welfare is "why should others get what I earned?" I just tend to look at it from the other side of things... why are we defining fair earnings to mean that millions of people work at creating the economic structure that can lead to a few at the top gaining a majority of the wealth our society collaborates to create as a whole, while the rest are generally given as little as possible (to the point where many businesses start looking at employing overseas instead of having to pay living American wages?) How is that fair? But that's all debatable. Let's throw that aside and just talk about straight up government assistance. The fact is that not counting basic medical needs, in America the wealthy actually get more financial assistance from the government than the poor do. If people need to just learn to make do with the wealth they can generate on their own, why aren't we applying that to the wealthy? Instead we throw money at their businesses left and right, including bailouts of failing businesses. Bail out the failing rich, but when the poor fail... it's their own damn fault? Bah.

I think when we have to start talking about how our poor have more than poor African kids, we're kind of failing as a 1st world nation. Why should we have these mountains of poor people anyway? We have an economic system that creates enough wealth for everyone. We just aren't really concerned about spreading the wealth around in a more fair and equitable manner.


Posted by 
 on: 04/01/14, 00:06:48  - Edited by 
 on: 04/01/14, 00:11:10
@Shadowlink

You should absolutely punish violent killers, but not their kids. The goal is to create a society where the reasons for crime are eliminated. Just throwing people in jail doesn't do that. What does do that is reducing poverty and providing material security. And the evidence strongly shows that the way to do that is to throw money at the situation, via government transfers. It's more efficient and effective than charities.

Even if that means paying "undeserving people", it allows parents with enough security to be good parents. That parenting is absolutely necessary for the development of children because cognitive development occurs before schooling age. If those children get that attention and are materially secure and get a good education, they are much less likely to become criminals themselves. Money that would be spent on incarcerating them has been spent on allowing them to develop.

Unfortunately, with the rise of automation and general inadequate demand, even well educated and skilled people aren't always going to be able to be employed. That's why society has to provide for those who cannot be a part of the general workforce. It will at least allow them to be otherwise productive members of society with a chance to exercise creativity, volunteer, etc.


Posted by 
 on: 04/01/14, 00:47:34  - Edited by 
 on: 04/01/14, 00:56:42
Never leave a man to do a woman's job. #teamrockettuesday



Posted by 
 on: 04/01/14, 17:37:22
@WrathOfSamus777

For a while I was debating whether or not to answer you but I'll bite. I was never being hostile, if anything, it was you that was being hostile with that "fact" talk about videogames being more male-centric by design. Then you proceeded to say that women haven't been kept out of gaming when any visit to your average videogame forum or online deathmatch on Xbox either has sexist/homophobic/racist posts either jokingly/serious. It seems that the automatic insult nowadays is (fag) but I'll try to not go on a rant and keep it about women in gaming. Going back to my original post, misogyny is all over gaming, specially in Xbox/PS online community. In the industry as well. Don't ask me to provide an example since there are too many to count, like I said, just play a match on your average dudebro game on Xbox or PS and a barrage of prejudice will start to flow. Or google discrimination in the industry (that is typically perpetrated by your professional dudebro workgin in the gaming industry. Unfortunately they travel in packs. By the way, I don't buy that it falls within the confines of trash talk, since you could have a perfectly valid verbal rout without the use of such derogatory words aimed at females.

Furthermore, not that it is any of your business, but I needed to finish multiple mid-term projects for college and at the last time I wrote to you I literally had to go to work. So it was a decision between having a typical internet argument that never goes anywhere or go out and earn some money/finish my school projects. Since I finally finished my projects I have some time to go on an time-wasting argument/debate.

And it's funny how you label me as a liberal. I guess if I had to define myself, being a liberal is slightly preferable to being called a democrat or republican, although all of these terms are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Just like there are democrats that support immigration, there are republicans that are pro-choice or what have you. There is really no distinction and this tribalism needs to stop, perhaps if we actually start working together things might actually be accomplished.

Nevertheless, like I said before, I owe my allegiance to reason alone; I hope to make sense of this crazy world by challenging things, finding out why things are the way they are and then trying to think about ways of making them better. I also allow myself to be challenged and seek knowledge. That is why you will find that my views change from time to time. That does not mean that I'm flip flopping but rather that I've found new evidence that changes my or how I think about certain situations.

I also wouldn't consider myself a feminist, even though I advocate for the equality of women in every sense of the word. That is because I think that identity politics are usually a dead end since you're talking the label given to you by the oppressor (i.e. I'm black and I'm proud) and demanding equal rights, when in reality the label (and thus yourself as an individual, or group of people) were/are inferior by nature. The term negro was specifically created to denigrate and dehumanize people formally known as black. "Reclaiming" that word like many rappers (and by extension inner city youths) claim to have done is disingenuous. That is specially true since the social construction of race is still a thing. I'll stop here though, since this is not part of the videogame section.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 13:24:39
For what it's worth Feminism is defined as follows:

dictionary.com said:
the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

No one should be ashamed to label themselves a feminist and labeling others as such to try and discredit them really doesn't make any sense.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 14:55:46
Stephen said:
For what it's worth Feminism is defined as follows:

dictionary.com said:
the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

No one should be ashamed to label themselves a feminist and labeling others as such to try and discredit them really doesn't make any sense.
All of this. All of this so much. Thank you, Stephen.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 15:38:21


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 16:05:53
@Stephen

The only problem is when people/groups use the moniker of feminism for purposes other than the ones described. The number of folks who do not subscribe to ALL "feminism" and the number of folks who do not want equality are very different - though largely assumed to be identical.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 21:24:22
@Stephen

Semantics. While it is true that feminism at its core is nothing more than advocacy for the rights of women, many women (and men) seem to think that feminism is doing away with all the things that make them 'feminine' or by women liking things that are traditionally 'feminine' they are setting women back 100 years or something like that. When in reality, that is not really the case. That is one thing you have to be careful about with identity politics. I keep bringing up people formally known as black because that is a topic I'm most familiar with but the same thing applies. It wasn't until 51 years ago that true integration finally started. Up until then the government not only permitted prejudice, but encouraged with things like the aforementioned segregation and Jim crow laws, etc. That's without even mentioning decades/(centuries) of selective breeding where the plantation owner had the less bright blacks mate with each other, discouraging the more intelligent ones to breed.

Psychologically, the masters would further demean the slaves by telling them that they were ugly, nappy-headed sub-humans. Of course they had little education, and even after slavery, things like Jim Crow Laws and segregation ensured that it would stay that way since we all know separate was not equal. Black schools were decrepit, with little funding for books or proper learning halls. All of this contributed to a cancerous environment (generational poverty and widespread ignorance) we are still trying to recover from today.

Like I mentioned earlier, the paradigm was that the term negro, later black and now African-American was specifically created to describe an individual as sub-human, stupid or sometimes not even. I also want to add that religion was added as yet another tool to keep people docile; "if you don't behave you will burn in hell for all eternity!" And now most black people are catholic, (or Christian, however you want to say it) ironic really. I keep trying to think of a good analogy, but I can't. The best way to describe it would be a loosing battle that you can never win. That's why you have to change the rules.

That was a wicked aside, but I did it to draw a parallel with 'race' and 'sex or gender' discrimination. Sure, there are intrinsic differences between 'races' just like the are 'genders' (as rigidly defined as the latter is). Although the former is specially interesting since apparently having one drop made you whole even if you looked largely white, because really at the end of the day that is what it was all about, looking different. There are many people that look white or from other race but are still defined as black for some arbitrary reason. That my friends is why black is a state of mind, or otherwise social fabrication.

Going back to the gender side of things, physical differences aside, scientists had a certain idea of what a woman or men ought to be and then set out to prove those claims. Ergo, now we have what we have. Could it be that women have a tendency to be more emotional, and men more aggressive, that is true based on the current evidence presented before us. But, science not too long ago didn't even recognize the fact that women could orgasm. What does that tell you? To me it says that science is an evolutionary method of discovery and rediscovery. Things like race which are supposedly based off of facts about science are not really true either. Now we're at the point where the supposed fact about something we believed to be true, no longer is.

The other day I overhead a conversation about, let's be honest here, white dudes making a joke about black people not knowing how to swim. Internally I shook my head (I was at work) That's the sort of environment we live in. Because we have created all of these sci-fantasies about a supposed group (or multiple groups) of what an individual ought to look or ought to behave like, we have the society we have.

Lastly (since I want to end this because it's getting too long) I want to leave by saying that I don't want to discredit the work of people like Malcom X or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, (or any feminist you care to name since I can't think of a prime example at this point) but rather I realize that identity politics are usually a dead end since the rules set in place were specifically designed to see you fail. Women being more or less interest in gaming has less to do with the supposed inherent masculinity of it, and more to do with the fact that women are more encouraged by society to do something else, via marketing, social pressure, traditional parental roles, etc. Furthermore, if we add to that your average dudebro acting like an idiot and discouraging women from even gaming, then you get what we currently have.

At this point, a lot of feminist believe that what they ought to do is wear pants and somehow assume the roles or adapt the qualities of what are believed to be male traits, (headstrong, aggressive (when it comes to getting a job, etc.) while downplaying the supposed female qualities (emotional, weak, etc.) Not only that, but some may even want to burn at the stake any female that wishes to be a housewife or otherwise adhere to traditional gender roles because they believe they set women back 100 years while that is not necessarily the case. Some women will like pink and that's fine, but some women will also like fighting and other alleged boy stuff and I would like that to be seen with the same normality as a woman liking, idk painting nails? We're fighting a losing battle, that is why I don't wish to wave the flag of feminism, or black nationalism.

I also want to add that we do need more well rounded characters in gaming that happen to be female, and not having female be their defining factor.

As an aside, when and if I get married, I would take my wife's last name. I will probably get weird looks but I don't really care. I also don't really want a meek housewife, but that has to do more with the fact that I like a certain type of female that is more, shall I say, headstrong and not necessarily domestic.

That was a long winded exposition, and admittedly it is not as well written as it could be, but I was just writing off the top of my head with little structure. Hopefully this crash course will help you understand myself as well as my views and why they are the way they are. I have to finally search some of the articles I read about the subject from my ethics class.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 21:44:50
I don't think a man taking a woman's last name is particularly strange now, I have a few friends who have done it, especially in cases where the woman has some kind of established career connected to her name and doesn't want to change it (artists, writers, etc.) Of course, more common is combining the two with a hyphen, though of course there is the fact that this is sort of a dead-end path longterm if you're passing the hyphenated names onto your kids... what happens when two of these kids grow up marry each other combine the 4 names into one? Then 8, 16, etc. down the road? EXPONENTIAL!

I even have one friend who (with his wife of course) just plain made up a brand new last name using letters from both of their last names. I'd never seen that before, but it makes some sense.

Basically, I'm saying that at least in my circle, the "norm" of the woman taking the man's last name is quickly being replaced by a variety of things. Of course it is still the majority, but the minority choices are becoming pretty common too. Common enough that everyone isn't all like WHAT IS UP WITH THOSE WEIRDOS!?

Shirley and I have talked about this and neither of us would want to just have her take my last name. Not sure what we would do, but some alternative for sure.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 22:04:52  - Edited by 
 on: 04/03/14, 22:06:56
@Zero

It's not unheard of, but I think the majority of the US population should do a double take. Honestly though, I'm still debating what is going to happen. Maybe I'll adopt a new family name, depending on what ends up happening.

By the way, did you actually read my fall of text or just the last paragraph?


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 22:09:53
A few questions occurred to me that are close to the original point of the thread:

1. How many people make up "the development team" in this conversation? I may have just missed it (it's a long article). To have about 50% in 300 people is quite a feat. To have about 50% in 5 people is less so.

2. Does anyone have some stats on an average dev team's gender % compared to a game's target gender demographic? That ratio would be very informative to this conversation. To keep things simple, let's narrow the scope to Nintendo games alone.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 22:13:50
Zero said:
Of course, more common is combining the two with a hyphen, though of course there is the fact that this is sort of a dead-end path longterm if you're passing the hyphenated names onto your kids... what happens when two of these kids grow up marry each other combine the 4 names into one? Then 8, 16, etc. down the road? EXPONENTIAL!

We call those "Adelaide" names here


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 22:40:31
@NinSage Hard to say on the first, but I imagine Animal Crossing is at least a mid-sized team.

Not sure about the second, though a quick search of an early 2013 article says this:

Women account for only 11 percent of game designers and 3 percent of programmers, strikingly low even when compared with the broader fields of graphic design and technology, where women make up about 60 percent and 25 percent of employment respectively, according to surveys.

No clue how accurate that is, how it relates to the Japanese industry, what the numbers for other jobs on the dev team would be, etc.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 23:10:00
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