Nearly 80% of video game characters are men, new diversity study finds

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Nearly 80% of video game characters are men, according to a new survey from gaming site Diamond Lobby.

Over 100 games from 2017 to 2021 were surveyed, including 10 of the top-selling games from each of the respective years. The other games studied included all other major releases from major publishing companies like Activision, EA, Nintendo, and Ubisoft. Games that allowed the player to customize a character, as in titles like New world and Animal crossing– have been deleted, leaving a total of 93 games.

In terms of gender diversity, the study found that 79.2 percent of the main characters in the games are male; 54.2% of the main characters in the games are white, and only 8.3% of the main characters in the games are women of non-white ethnicities.

An image of a game character in Apex Legends.
EA Sports

Additionally, 63.3% of the games had both male and female playable characters; 31.7% of the games had only male characters; and 5 percent of the games only had female characters, meaning there are more games with only male characters than there are with female characters only.

In the diversity part of the study, 9.5% of games only have a playable white character, which means there is no other ethnic representation. 5.3% of games have no playable white character at all.

The most diverse game that has been studied is Apex Legends, where 50% of the playable characters in Apex Legends are female. The other half of the characters in the game consist of seven men and a non-binary character. Six of the 17 characters in the game are blatantly gay or bisexual, and 50% of the characters are black, Asian, or some other race.

The issue of diversity has been a heated discussion that has come and gone over the past few years. Rashad Redic, co-founder and creative director of Brass Lion Entertainment, said that regardless of breed, a quality product should be at the forefront at all times.

“Telling these stories isn’t as specialized as people think it is,” Redic told Tech Crunch in 2020. “Look at it. [the Marvel movie] Black Panther. Content is defined by being entertaining, period. “

Gaming industry reporter Gita Jackson described to Tech Church the backlash she received when she spoke about diversity and gaming.

“I think the presence of more video game characters who are women of color is good, but these statements shouldn’t be controversial,” Jackson said. “I’m just saying something that I appreciate, something that concerns me. And yet some readers have responded as if I have suggested that all players should amputate their little toes.”


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