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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    
 
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@NinSage
@Zero
Animal Crossing: New Leaf had around 100 (might have been 95, might have been 105, I screwed up the count at the end) staff members on the core development team, according to the game's credits as summarized by people on GameFAQs, in a tab that I accidentally closed down and am too lazy to open back up.


Posted by 
 on: 04/03/14, 23:22:11
@Tranquilo

That post was pretty all over the place. I'll keep the response focused on what I said.

Regardless of what differences actually exist between men and women or between different races the key thing to remember is that they are all people. People should all be given the same rights and opportunities regardless of their skin colour or what gender they are. It is in keeping with that that feminism by its very definition shouldn't be seen as anything outside the norm for a reasonable human being in today's society. Sure some people have given the negative connotation it currently wrestles with but it needs to be made in to what it used to be. The idea that womens' rights cannot be agreed upon without caveats should trigger some major alarms for you. If you think women deserve equal footing to men in our society then you are by definition a feminist.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 00:14:42
@Zero

The comparisons in that quote are ... awkward. Graphic design =/= game developer, computer programmer =/= technologist. Of course, 3 and 11% are very low. But that gets into the entirely separate topic of whether women are being kept out of those fields, or if they are just not as interested in them.

Regardless, what I was looking for was how numbers like those corresponded to a given game's target demographics. Animal Crossing was always going to have a split male/female target demographic. Probably even leaning female, I would assume. So that should absolutely have a representation of female input. Not even necessarily on development team (though that is fine, of course), but at the very least from a market research perspective.

Now, if they make the next CoD or Halo or GTA with a half female team and it leads to huge spike in female players, THAT would be a ground-breaking occurrence.

@r_hjort

OK, and is that the number being referenced in places like Wired's article?

@Stephen

A while back I started using the term "humanist." Largely because I don't believe anything operating under the pretense of gender equality should have a gender-specific name. That seems really counter-productive to me. Like, we call it ethnic/racial equality, not African Americanism. Of course, part of that is because multiple ethnicities have inequality issues, right? Well, as it turns out, life for men is actually not perfect. No, it's true, there are negative gender roles society places upon men that should also be addressed. Which is why it's not just about bring women up to meet men in the land of happiness. It's about getting both genders to a better place. Thus, "humanism."

Unfortunately, "humanist" has already been coined for other purposes. Fortunately, it would not be the first time someone used one term for two meanings. So, humanism! Who's with me??


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 01:07:06
@Tranquilo I read the whole thing, just don't have too much to say about the rest. If pressed I'd probably say I think the semantics go in the other direction... "feminism" as a whole is more akin to what Stephen posted, it's just fringe feminism that gives mainstream feminism a bad name.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 03:50:49
@Stephen

This post is a bit more concise:

Like I said before, you're arguing semantics. I am not a feminist because identity politics are filled with pot-holes. Being a female, or woman is something that was largely fabricated based off of science, that while it does play a part, it would be disingenuous to paint a broad spectrum of what a woman is and/or shouldn't be. Thus calling myself a feminist is something a wouldn't do.

Just like I wouldn't call myself a black nationalist since black is another fabrication of society loosely based on scientific discoveries that we find out a while later weren't all that accurate to begin with. Furthermore, the whole black deal was created solely to demean an individual. For anybody to actually then turn around and say to a person calling him or her stupid to say: "I'm stupid and I'm proud!"

This was partly a result of a few scientists' proposed theories as to why somebody is stupid, citing things arbitrary/superficial things like large ears or bushy eyebrows. Then you can add in some arbitrary restrictions like being unable to swim because you have large ears and not because you've live in an urban environment all your life, and so has most of the population with large ears.

The case is specially delicate with women since they are different at a genetic level, but even so like I said before the problem comes from trying to define what makes a woman a woman or vice versa, but then again that is what scientists set out to do when they wanted to identify womanly or manly traits. Now we have what we have. Like I said before, we're fighting a losing battle since the game was designed for women, blacks and basically any other minority to fail. I do want equal rights for everyone, but I just explained what is my issue with identity politics, and I reject your label.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 03:51:05
@NinSage

The definition I provided last page specifically mentions social, political and economic equality to men. You can pick specific examples to show that men get a raw deal sometimes but in the face of political and economic power that influences all of society those issues are much smaller. As for the whole humanism idea it doesn't work because people are not treated equally. There is still racism, sexism, and homophobia. Saying you want people to be treated equally is nice but it doesn't happen based solely on ideals. Advocating these values is absolutely necessary to change things. Advocating the rights of women to be equal to men is by definition feminist.

@Tranquilo

Regardless of what makes a woman a woman or who identifies as what the key thing is that people of all makeups are at the end of the day people. They should be treated equally and given as much of a fair shot at life as society can allow. This isn't happening based on aspect or another. Skin colour, gender, sexual orientation should not matter.

It might be arguing semantics to some degree because the notion seems to be that being a feminist is something that is dirty or undesirable in a person. That's somewhat concerning wouldn't you say? That someone who wants women to be treated fairly would be derided or discredited? That people would be hesitant to wear that label? Whatever the reason for that is does not change the fact that the word means what it means.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 04:02:43  - Edited by 
 on: 04/04/14, 04:15:20
@Tranquilo But feminism (at least mainstream feminism) doesn't try to dictate what a woman is / should be. It just tries to give women, however they are defined, equality with men. You can recognize the flaws with our binary gender system and still simultaneously recognize that women are at a disadvantage in many areas.

Although gender is pretty fluid, I think sex is a lot easier to define than race is. In many places simply being born with a vagina, whether you identify as a female or not, will lead to certain disadvantages.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 04:03:25
@Stephen

The only theoretical difference between ideal feminism and what I call humanism is that it wouldn't have a gender-specific name and it would be a more collaborative approach to all gender issues. Instead of just inflating the tires on one side of the car and assuming that would make the car balanced.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 04:18:32
@Zero

Your second paragraph is true. Then again the same could have been said for women 100 years ago in this nation. The good thing about it is that at least here, there are changes being made. Islamic nations were more advanced at at certain point (when Islam was first introduced to be honest) but now it is woefully outdated. The issue is that people still cling to the same teachings that worked 700 CE but not necessarily today. Times change, and laws should change with them. The issue is that Islam is by all accounts a specific guide of how one should conduct everyday life. If you were to denounce certain aspects of it, it wouldn't be Islam anymore.

Like I said before though, what I can (to a certain extent) respect about Islamic nations is that they are upfront with their laws even if they seem retrograde. As opposed to the good 'ol US of A where although it is supposed to be a secular country, whenever you are sworn in at any public office, they always use a bible by convention (and also say "so help me God". Furthermore, it seems that you cannot be (or even claim to be) anything other than a Christian if you want to get anywhere. Less we mention all the rules or laws that are made or not made because of a group of rulers' belief; abortion, homosexual marriage. It makes me sick. That's why I say that the US is a nation of hypocrites.

@Stephen

You know what man, call me what you wish to call me, I cannot stop you. I'm just letting you know how I feel. @Zero Does make a point about people wanting equal rights at the end of the day. On the other hand, I'm really not offended when you perceive me as a feminist, I'm just letting you know why I don't consider myself as such and that I do not agree with gender or identity politics as a whole. I can understand and support them to a certain extent, but I will not partake.

Nevertheless, I will agree that at the end of the day, we all want equal rights as well as equal status in society which I believe is the second step. When I say equal status, I mean getting to a point in society when it is not odd for a man or women to do whatever they please and not seem odd because they are beholden to any particular gender stereotype (as long as it is something legal, of course) Like a woman working as the head of a videogame studio without having your average dudebro come out and harass her. I'm probably asking for the impossible here, but why not?


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 10:23:22  - Edited by 
 on: 04/04/14, 10:30:49
@NinSage
I would assume those are the numbers they refer to, yes.


Posted by 
 on: 04/04/14, 11:43:30
A Slate article (originally in New Scientist) linking to some more recent studies about the differences between the sexes at a young age.

Hopefully toys will turn back to being a bit less gendered and @kris' kid will be able to have his tea parties.


Posted by 
 on: 04/08/14, 23:36:55  - Edited by 
 on: 04/08/14, 23:39:16
The Wired interview seems like the typical article that happens simply because it's different from the norm.
Those kinds of articles are targeted towards the people that think that way. If you don't think that way, of course you'll be offended...

But if the articles are targeted to those still in the dark, I would hope they find it interesting and it opens their eyes to the benefits of having a diverse team. Once you read enough of those articles, you'll stop thinking that it's so far out of the norm that it is shocking news, but treat it as just plain news.

Yeah, for equality you need more women in gaming/tech/corporate ranks/etc, but if there's no interest in joining male-dominated fields, you're going to have a high dropout rate even if you push them into those fields. For now, you gotta like what you're doing, more than who you're doing it with.

If there is interest but not an environment for it, yeah, society can do something about it if the right program is there at the right time, but it's not going to guarantee it for *everyone*. Life's not fair, and it's still based on opportunity, circumstances, and luck. Some people may just be stuck in situations that they can't get out of unless someone outside takes a special interest in them and fights specifically for that individual or group.

The recruiting I see in the tech world is based on encouragement and support, to stop girls from dropping out of a field due to lack of role models or being uncomfortable in a 'man's world'. There is a lot of targeting towards the youth, since they're all still bright-eyed and full of hopes and dreams. Show them the cool stuff in the field to change their impression of it, and maybe you can increase the number that desire to go into and stay in the field. I kind of wonder whether we have more girls into tech/games now that we're in a pretty digital world?

Corporate or government pressure to force equality can lay the backbone, but it can't be the only thing that's done. That gets the higher numbers so that statistically you'll get more people that stick around, but promotion by numbers could just land you in a worse place than you started if you're not paying attention to ability. I'm a fan of promotion by merit or need -- whether it's the need for balance, outlook, expertise, specialty, or just change.

Stereotypes exist for a reason, some people may be more naturally suited for certain things, but as long as someone right is doing the job, I don't think I care whether they're there by affirmative action or by natural means. Personality is gender-independent and probably more accurate to separate by than gender. Life has a little bit of luck in it, and sorry, you can't be lucky all the time.

(take me to Vegas with you if you are!)


Posted by 
 on: 04/11/14, 08:53:01
Ooo, what a twist!

A feminist dude's perspective is kind of limited, because you can empathize, but you can never really sympathize. I can kind of sympathize, being part of a minority that doesn't really receive any minority benefits. But I feel like a decent chunk of the female population gets offended by men telling them how to feel and what to think, even if the motive is admirable.

As far as Affirmative Action, I dunno. India takes it incredibly far, to the point that people from the Brahmin cast have to come to America for a good education, since only a tiny percentage of admissions in Indian colleges are allotted to them. I understand the intent, but I feel like that kind of thing should be more about the individual circumstance than the class or race. Why should a rich black guy be eligible for a scholarship that a poor white guy can't get?

Then again, cronyism definitely exists. Thorny!


Posted by 
 on: 04/14/14, 16:04:58
@Anand

I have thought for a long time that Affirmative Action would probably go over better if it was done via economics and not strictly race. It'd still benefit minorities that have been stuck in generational poverty but you could declaw the usual white guy moan about reverse discrimination. Theoretically everyone could win.

Well, except rich kids who don't have the grades, but they'll probably be alright.


Posted by 
 on: 04/14/14, 16:47:54
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