Female representation low at E3

Among titles presented at E3, only 5% of games featured female protagonists. As far as E3 stage presenters are concerned, women accounted for 21%.

The stats were published by Wired in colloboration with Feminist Frequency, an initative that has analyzed the games industry from the gender perspective since 2015.

The study included Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, Bethesda , and Square Enix conferences, along with the PC Gaming Show. Just six out of 126 games presented at the show centered around female protagonists. This stat showed the second lowest result since 2015, when it was 3%.

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However, 65% of all games featured at E3 either have protagonists of different genders or allow players to choose whether they want to play as a male or female character. And that is the highest result in five years.

“It’s also essential to note that the raw numbers say nothing whatsoever about the quality of these representations. The mere fact that Youngblood’s protagonists are women is no guarantee whatsoever that those representations will be good ones. Games can and often do centre women while also reinforcing harmful stereotypes or turning those women into sexual fantasies for the benefit of straight male players. Still, we can hope.”

Anita Sarkeesyan and Carolyn Petit, Feminist Frequency

The study also pointed out among all E3 speakers, women only made up 21%.

On a related note, the report analyzed the 126 E3 games from the standpoint of violence as part of their gameplay. It turned out that 107 are based on combat of some form.

“It would be easy to get disheartened by the lack of significant statistical change we’ve seen over five years of collecting this data, but we choose simply to take it as an indication that there is still work to be done,” the report says.

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