In a post on Medium, EA’s Jenny Shi reveals results of a survey on inclusivity in gaming.
EA’s Global Analytics and Insights team commissioned a survey in May 2018. In it, they asked over 2,000 individuals their opinions on a range of topics, from inclusivity and representation to online play and toxicity.
Specifically, that was 2,252 individuals, ranging from 13–54 years old. Participants own and play games on console/PC, and are decision makers in entertainment purchases. (That means they choose what they buy and play themselves; it doesn’t mean they’re decision makers in the industry.)
In their Medium post, Jenny Shi reveals the study’s findings, including that the majority of respondents, 56%, believe it is “important” for developers and studios to make their games more diverse. Contrast that with just 13% who feel inclusivity is “not important”, and with 31% who are “neutral” to it, that puts the dissenting voices in a tiny minority where inclusion is concerned.
“Inclusion” in the context of the study, for reference, means:
- Being able to customize your character to have a wide range of skin colours and body sizes
- Stories or plots with culturally diverse characters
- Healthy and friendly in-game chat experiences
- Offering features that allow those with special needs to play
Meanwhile, 45% of respondents said they would be more likely to play games with inclusive content, versus just 7% who said it would actively put them off and make them less likely to play. With 48% who consider themselves neutral on the topic, that once again puts the dissenting voices in the minority.
On a broader level, over 50% of respondents find that representation – of gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity – has improved across the board.
On the community front, toxicity was a key concern, with 61% of respondents placing it second only to game quality (67%) in their list of concerns. “Unfriendly player community” was the third biggest concern to actively put someone off playing a game, after the game being too difficult, and it being tough to join late and get caught up to earlier-adopters.
And for the sake of completeness, we’ll quote Jenny Shi directly for the key takeaways from this survey:
- “Inclusion is a pressing concern for many players, and backlash comes from a minority
- Representation is getting better in the industry, but needs to be authentic
- Fixing disruptive behaviour and toxicity is more important than ever
- Despite having interest in playing games socially, female players face more barriers to playing online multiplayer. Managing disruptive player behaviour can help knock down those barriers.”
With a summary statement that “inclusion is a pressing concern for many players, and backlash comes from a minority” which we couldn’t agree with more.