New survey shows that players want more inclusive video games

Jan 26, 2019
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#1
Source: https://www.vgr.com/majority-gamers-support-inclusivivity-in-games/

Inclusivity in video games is a huge debate topic right now. Developers and publishers as well as gamers have been pushing for more inclusiveness and diversity in games, but there’s also a major backlash from other parts of the gaming community.

A new study by EA’s Global Consumers Insights team sheds some light on this issue and the factions within the gaming community.

It turns out that the majority of gamers feel inclusivity is important, and only a small percentage say they’d be less likely to play a game with more inclusive content.

You can read what the researchers had to say and more details on the data collected at the link.

What do you think of this study? How do you feel about inclusivity and representation in video games?
 
Sep 17, 2005
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I'll read it later, but I feel like this is a loaded question to ask a developer right now. They know they will be harassed to no end by the looneys over at REE if they come out and say anything else, whether that be that they believe this needs to be addressed or that they don't think about this stuff when coming up with game ideas.
 
Nov 5, 2016
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#3
What do you think of this study? How do you feel about inclusivity and representation in video games?


I feel like there have been numerous threads covering the topic and it’s typically a like in the sand with the same people on either side saying the same thing on repeat.

You got the “I don’t care, but watch as I proceed to explain why I care” people

You got the “well only a certain percentage of people in real life” people

You got the “let’s then this into a straight up political debate” people

You got the “stop shoving your evil left bullshit down my throat” people

You got the “drive by shit post” people

You got the “any representation is fine with me” people

You got the “I have a problem with forced diversity” people yet when asked when they feel diversity is “done right” they never respond

The threads go on for pages of the same discussion on rinse and repeat. I legitimately never see anyone change their mind.

My thoughts regarding inclusion in video games related to sales:

People didn't buy BF5 because EA told them not to. That was hilariously stupid. Had they taken a customer friendly approach and came at us with a "Hey, we hear you, and thanks for your input. We put a lot of work into this dream of ours, and we want to share it with you, let's see what you think once you play it. Please give us a chance" or something like that then I think the backlash would have been WAY tamer. Not only did they not walk back their DON'T BUY OUR GAME mentality, they doubled down on it with the Genderfield hashtags at their own showcases.

BF5 is a gold standard case of TERRIBLE marketing and PR decision making. I don't think inclusion was the real issue behind BF5's sales.
 
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#4
I think the developers should just let their creativity flow and bring us the characters they desire to make. This goes both way. This means that I dislike only having white heros who are muscle loaded and have easy to identify with moral values, but that also means forcing down only black and white characters to calm the concerns doesn't work either.

It should be a natural procress and it should make sense for a given game they are making. They should not enforce quotas or always have white male protagonists to cater to the biggest demographic of gamers.

I would actually love to see female asian protagonists in games. Especially in AAA story driven single player games in a scenario that makes sense.

What doesn't work for me is when they slap in some random black characters and females like Battlefield did from EA and then when people question their choice they start calling people toxic. If it is that important for EA then they should make games about the people they want to make in a way that makes sense and actually reflects those people instead of treating them like interchangable variables and just putting them in there "to cover a spectrum". (Which sadly only means black + white characters for most developers. Big hypocrites).

TLDR : Do new stuff with new characters. Don't do old stuff and slap in different characters and scream that you are a pioneer of bringing diversity to games. Give us new story with new characters that make sense.
 
Jan 7, 2014
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The headline and study is a bit disengenuois or at least too vague. Based on this info on how the survey actually came to this conlclusion, the bulleted items seem a little softball. Anyone would say they wanted these things.

https://medium.com/@Electronic_Arts/what-inclusion-means-to-players-db4522bdd8a0
Inclusion can mean many different things. For the purpose of this research, we provided the following examples to better define inclusion:
  • Being able to customize your character to have a wide range of skin colors 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
 
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Oct 26, 2018
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I think the developers should just let their creativity flow and bring us the characters they desire to make. This goes both way. This means that I dislike only having white heros who are muscle loaded and have easy to identify with moral values, but that also means forcing down only black and white characters to calm the concerns doesn't work either.

It should be a natural procress and it should make sense for a given game they are making. They should not enforce quotas or always have white male protagonists to cater to the biggest demographic of gamers.

I would actually love to see female asian protagonists in games. Especially in AAA story driven single player games in a scenario that makes sense.

What doesn't work for me is when they slap in some random black characters and females like Battlefield did from EA and then when people question their choice they start calling people toxic. If it is that important for EA then they should make games about the people they want to make in a way that makes sense and actually reflects those people instead of treating them like interchangable variables and just putting them in there "to cover a spectrum". (Which sadly only means black + white characters for most developers. Big hypocrites).

TLDR : Do new stuff with new characters. Don't do old stuff and slap in different characters and scream that you are a pioneer of bringing diversity to games. Give us new story with new characters that make sense.
As much as video games try to convey messages lately about being diverse, it's still about the money.

Every game company (especially public ones) would prefer more profits with draconian games, vs. modern inclusive games with gimped profits. That's wy the trend in the past 5+ years is nickel and diming microtrans and loot boxes. Everyone knows it's pretty shady to have that in video games, but if it makes good coin, do it.

With the way EA's BF5 blew up, I guarntee the next BF game will get back to its roots and stop with SJW stories. Guaranteed.

As for cookie cutter storylines and characters, I think it's combo of people void of ideas and they have to cater to the widest audience to maximize sales.

That's why the lead character is almost always a dark haired white guy..... (too lazy to find that old image someone made where it was 30 boxes of brown haired white dudes as franchise lead characters)........

- Dark hair = most common
- White person = play games a lot and this demographics buys tons of games
- A guy = gaming is a male skewed hobby, especially for competitive dude bro shooters and sports

As for the storyline, which for actin/adventure games is almost always the usual from writers.

- Start out as weak dude/a nobody/pissed off guy who wants revenge
- Find and kill the Evil Emperor
- Trudge through levels and quests to get stronger or find more gear
- Kill Bob the Final Boss
- The End

Clap, clap clap....... wow such original concepts. Basically the same shit since the first story was written by a caveman on a rock 30,000 years ago.

On the plus side, indie devs are the ones with obscure ideas. The storylines may still be the same kind of focus, but at least the graphics, ideas, and gameplay can be unique. And this comes from a group of low key devs who have gimped tools and budget.
 
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Likes: haxan7
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I don't believe the EA poll, especially after the BF5 debacle.
Most people simply do not care or even think about inclusivity while playing games.
I believe creativity should be the priority while creating video games.
Sounds like one of those polls that's worded so people will pick the friendly answer.

It's like the Syrian refugee crisis over the last few years with people fleeing and needing a new home.

Question 1: Would you like to help Syrians flee their country and settle in our country?

Question 2: Would you like to help Syrians flee their country and settle in our country if it meant taxes may increase and refugee camps might be built in your neighbourhood?

I bet almost everyone would say yes to Question 1, but less people would say yes if asked Question 2.
 
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Jan 26, 2019
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There's inclusivity and there's Inclusivity. Without a proper understanding of the questions and further probing, it's almost meaningless.
Can you expand on this if you have the time? I do think that discussions around these types of social topics should start with participants outlining their definitions, so I'm interested in what you have to say.
 
Likes: GnomeChimpsky
Feb 6, 2018
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#12
She is calling a couple of questions in a poll a "research study" :messenger_grinning_squinting: And the questions are very poorly formulated or intentionally tweaked to guarantee at least neutral results, on the first one she is literally asking people to make a guess, lol. The "level" of these people :messenger_open_mouth:
 
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Likes: Tahj
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And here I always thought gamers just wanted good games. You fuckers are playing games for all the wrong reasons.

EDIT: the person who came up with this poll should be have those clips placed in their eyelids like the dude in Clockwork Orange and be forced to watch South Park episodes for a year nonstop.
 
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Need more alien inclusivity. Alien lives matter. Man I really want another good Mass Effect game.

Apex Legends is a good game. They got a diverse set of characters. But the characters designs are boring. In this case the character designs are underwhelming compared to gameplay. Game is good despite inclusivity.

Sum it up? Just give me good games. Don't sacrifice a good game at the altar of ideology.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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#17
Always take a company's own reserch studies with a grain of salt. As the article says, their Insights team
>2,252 participants from across the gaming spectrum
Does that include game journalists? Are all of these people from california?

>EA survey
Lmao. Fuck EA.
I'd like to know who and how the study was conducted. If it was purely an EA internal thing, I wouldn't bother with it too much. Internal-only studies are biased as fuck. But we don't know if they did it purely themselves or had outside help.

I've always worked for big companies and even our focus groups, surveys and polls are developed between our marketing teams and Nielsen. You never do it yourselves. These aren't cheap either. It takes a while to create good, non-biased surveys and then Nielsen executes the task and tabulates the data. From there, Nielsen will analyze the data and feed back their analysis in fancy presentations. The company can also use the data recap and form their own conclusions.
 
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#18
The survey might as well be completed by "whoever is trolling for game stuff tonight". If writers can't make a character interesting then by all means, add a create-a-character. I think its up to the writers and storyboard people to make it matter.

I'm at a loss with multiplayer games. Online games are becoming my least liked genre, so it's working out for me. I feel so far removed from enjoying multiplayer games and I really tried to like Halo and other various Steam, Xbox and Xbox 360 multiplayer games. We haven't exactly had another Master Chief type of character either. The super soldiers are a mixed bag of people with cool gadgets. I feel like its turning in a direction that I can't relate to anymore.

I agree, characters are being blended together. Online games have such randomness to them. Sure they look cool, but nothing has had an impact on anything. I just saw Apex's cast by playing it tonight. Its cool and its diverse, but its so bizarre. The smiley face android? Didn't Lawbreakers have a smiley face design too? Is this another android I have to like (wear their t-shirt) like R2D2 or something? It doesn't carry any good weight to it.

I'd say the industry has enough facets and enough outlets to cater to everyone. I don't think we're talking about a small group of people who make decisions. I believe that there's a part of the industry that is smarter than that. They don't need to look at a survey because their moral compass is already intact. I enjoyed seeing the dev video from DMC5 and RE2 so much because its actually from a studio who enjoys games. Instead of one who wants to run the polygraph test on a bunch of consumers so that they send their game to the next YouTuber for a bunch of views.
 
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Likes: zenspider
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#19
Can you expand on this if you have the time? I do think that discussions around these types of social topics should start with participants outlining their definitions, so I'm interested in what you have to say.
Sure!

When I mean inclusivity vs. Inclusivity,
I'm referring to the dictionary definition as opposed to the political re-definition. That's important in the framing of the question. So to ask a bunch of people if they think more people should enjoy games, feel safe, feel represented - it's relatively innocuous. When you come back with that as proof for people want "Inclusivity", i.e. equality of outcome, non-white/non-male/non-hetero bias, diversity of only phenotype and self-identity, it's suspect, and not at all rigorous. I'm confident they didn't not educate them on what the term means as defined by the academic left in its greivance studies, and as an action plan by these corporations.

Second, when you frame it as they did:

“for the purpose of this research, we provided the following examples to better define inclusion: Being able to customise 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.”

You are only exposing the benefits. There is absolutely no mention of possible costs.

When framed this way, you're almost held hostage by your own desire to be moral. There is no weighing of outcomes, because it's not been explored at all.
A more accurate picture would be: "gamers want inclusivity if it has absolutely no downside."

We can discuss those possible downsides here if you don't think it's a derail, but I would point you to any discussion of 'Dark Souls should have an easy mode' to catch a glimpse of the very tip of the argument against inclusivity - or more appropriately, the argument for exclusivity - at the furthest point from politicization.
 
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#23
A survey with 2200 participants nobody has heard of to this date.
I assume they did that in the US and mostly focused on campuses or something.
Make a global online survey, lasting for a few weeks and see a the true result.

To answer the thread:
Do you see how many of the fantasy games with LotR races end up? You have a group cosisting of a few humans (wizard, swordsman,...), both male and female, a dwarf, an elf and some custom race(s) unique to that universe.
I fee like particular groups want to push something similar with inclusivity, but for every game genre, menaing a cast of characters consisting of a strait white male, straight white female, a person of color, a trans person, a gay person and whatever else they come up with.
We are not living in a fantasy world. Devs should stop trying to fulfill diversity quotas.
 
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I feel like there have been numerous threads covering the topic and it’s typically a like in the sand with the same people on either side saying the same thing on repeat.

You got the “I don’t care, but watch as I proceed to explain why I care” people

You got the “well only a certain percentage of people in real life” people

You got the “let’s then this into a straight up political debate” people

You got the “stop shoving your evil left bullshit down my throat” people

You got the “drive by shit post” people

You got the “any representation is fine with me” people

You got the “I have a problem with forced diversity” people yet when asked when they feel diversity is “done right” they never respond

The threads go on for pages of the same discussion on rinse and repeat. I legitimately never see anyone change their mind.

My thoughts regarding inclusion in video games related to sales:

People didn't buy BF5 because EA told them not to. That was hilariously stupid. Had they taken a customer friendly approach and came at us with a "Hey, we hear you, and thanks for your input. We put a lot of work into this dream of ours, and we want to share it with you, let's see what you think once you play it. Please give us a chance" or something like that then I think the backlash would have been WAY tamer. Not only did they not walk back their DON'T BUY OUR GAME mentality, they doubled down on it with the Genderfield hashtags at their own showcases.

BF5 is a gold standard case of TERRIBLE marketing and PR decision making. I don't think inclusion was the real issue behind BF5's sales.
You do know you don't have to read the thread, right?
 
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i'm not against it. i mean i don't have anything against whatever gender/sex/race/religion people are but i'm really sick and tired of all this social justice bullshit. it's ruining the video game industry.

You do know you don't have to read the thread, right?
you know people are free to post if they want to, right?
 
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Of course everyone is for inclusivity until you try so hard to be "woke" it turns people off. You lose your target audience and you don't appeal to no one. You're left pandering to people that don't buy games.

We all know those woke activists don't play games (or are just a tiny, meaningless number).

Dishonored, Prey, Andromeda and BF5 all tried to appeal to them and they all bombed compared to their predecessors. It seems like the industry didn't learn their lesson yet.
 
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Of course everyone is for inclusivity until you try so hard to be "woke" it turns people off. You lose your target audience and you don't appeal to no one. You're left pandering to people that don't buy games.

We all know those woke activists don't play games (or are just a tiny, meaningless number).

Dishonored, Prey, Andromeda and BF5 all tried to appeal to them and they all bombed compared to their predecessors. It seems like the industry didn't learn their lesson yet.
Not only that but the competition took advantage of it to increase their sales. They think video game companies are their playtoys
 

Kadayi

Probable Replicant
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#29
Inclusivity is fine as a principle, but it has to make sense within context versus being shoehorned in like some box-ticking exercise, otherwise, it risks breaking immersion within certain scenarios, especially historical ones. I also question whether inclusivity truly adds any market value to games. I think ultimately people want good storytelling and characterisation first and foremost in their entertainment media. When you look at Film & Television, success has much more to do with those things, than the background or colour of characters skin. I can enjoy City of God, or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or The Wire just as much as say Casino Royale, North by North West. or Spaced.
 
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#32
I think being inclusive is important, but do your market research first. Not every game needs it.
They should be focused on creating inclusive alternatives instead, kinda like how Fortnite is to PUBG.
That way there's less backlash and everyone has a good time.
 
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Likes: Kadayi
May 15, 2018
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shit article. shit survey. they came to their own conclusions from a biased survey and are now presenting it as fact

they will back it up with "see X games sells well" ignoring the fact its a game in with a long history apart of a long series. if you need someone who is selling you something to sell you something then fuck just buy it. the salesman has done his mother fucking job. hes telling you WHY you need this product "i can sell anyone a pen"
 
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Likes: llien
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#36
Of course they fucking do, because bitching about “inclusion” is one of the gaming press planks. After getting inundated with enough bitching about it, at least some players will believe there’s some sort of problem or whatever. It’s a “problem” that gaming press helped to perpetrate, and now people have been conditioned to bitch alongside their favorite writer or whatever because they don’t know how to simply enjoy a video game anymore.

Virtually nobody fucking cared about this shit for years. When I was in arcades in the ‘80s, I never once heard people ask why the Mario Bros. had to be white, or why Dirk the Daring couldn’t have been saved by Princess Daphne instead. We were just happy to be playing video games. Crazy thought in 2019.
 
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As TRUE FACTS PROVE in every cultural media, forced inclusivity equals to crap characters and crap stories. The day it starts happening the other way around, I will change my mind. Ill-intended inclusivity has destroyed Star Wars, Ghosbusters, Doctor Who and is about to do the same to the MCU. Before someone mentions Ellie: NO, Ellie is not a forced inclusive character but a well-developed one that makes the story more believable. Story first, inclusiveness second.

So, NO. I don't want it.


By the way, that EA among all companies ( being the one with some of the most hideous business practices) so eagerly uses the inclusivity card it's beyond ironic. Such a blatant reputation whitening that only brainwashed morons can buy into it.
 
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To be fair there's nothing wrong with inclusivity (it's good!). Problem is, it can make things rigid if handled poorly.

For example, I work for a college and practically everything we do has to ensure we're representing an inclusive campus through our marketing material. What that means is every video/photoshoot we do with students has to make sure we have X amount of X types of students. It becomes like a box ticking exercise and there's no real particular reason for it as it doesn't accurately represent the student-base. Stories about BAME academics get heavily represented on our website (good!) but a lot of non-trendy topics won't get mentioned (bad!).

Obviously it's higher education so not exactly a creative environment. Problem is, EA or Ubisoft or Activision's management team aren't creative either. As soon as the design/creative/dev team are instructed to meet certain markers then they're dealing with too much interference. It doesn't mean we'll be getting actual well-developed characters, say like Kate Walker from Syberia or Clementine from The Walking Dead. That requires more vision and a better cohesive team, starting from the ground up.

Beyond that, I'd much rather people were crying out for original, innovative and clever ideas in games rather than the same games over again but just with an Asian protagonist.
 
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As much as video games try to convey messages lately about being diverse, it's still about the money.

Every game company (especially public ones) would prefer more profits with draconian games, vs. modern inclusive games with gimped profits. That's wy the trend in the past 5+ years is nickel and diming microtrans and loot boxes. Everyone knows it's pretty shady to have that in video games, but if it makes good coin, do it.

With the way EA's BF5 blew up, I guarntee the next BF game will get back to its roots and stop with SJW stories. Guaranteed.

As for cookie cutter storylines and characters, I think it's combo of people void of ideas and they have to cater to the widest audience to maximize sales.

That's why the lead character is almost always a dark haired white guy..... (too lazy to find that old image someone made where it was 30 boxes of brown haired white dudes as franchise lead characters)........

- Dark hair = most common
- White person = play games a lot and this demographics buys tons of games
- A guy = gaming is a male skewed hobby, especially for competitive dude bro shooters and sports

As for the storyline, which for actin/adventure games is almost always the usual from writers.

- Start out as weak dude/a nobody/pissed off guy who wants revenge
- Find and kill the Evil Emperor
- Trudge through levels and quests to get stronger or find more gear
- Kill Bob the Final Boss
- The End

Clap, clap clap....... wow such original concepts. Basically the same shit since the first story was written by a caveman on a rock 30,000 years ago.

On the plus side, indie devs are the ones with obscure ideas. The storylines may still be the same kind of focus, but at least the graphics, ideas, and gameplay can be unique. And this comes from a group of low key devs who have gimped tools and budget.
So;

Archetypal story arcs work - yup

Big companies put big investment into satisfying the big segments in the big markets - yup

Small companies looking to grow volume and value can afford to put smaller investment into smaller segments of smaller markets - yup

Those small companies can build profile, resource and experience and may well broaden their approach over time and go for bigger segments - yup

I'm not sure what's really broken? The tensions occur when a segment is either underserved, or badly served. Overserved just means saturation and less value (basically the FPS market and, soon, battle royale options). With BF5 it was a case of badly served, and it's fair to say some really niche segments are underserved.

So if you ask any reasonable person who gets this if inclusivity is a good thing they will of course say yes : however if 10% of the market needs particular representation and you pitch that at 50% of the market whilst getting the message wrong, you're screwed and badly serve one or both (these aren't real stats specific to the BF5 situation btw, just illustrating a point).

Fundamentally there's nothing wrong in wanting something that you're comfortable with and being pissed at either not getting it at all, or getting something else dressed up as it. What these big companies need to get their heads round is they can serve both needs but need to STOP BEING LAZY and trying to do it with a single product. It's like selling steam-rollers to people who need to press trousers.
 
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#43
Inclusivity is fine as a principle, but it has to make sense within context versus being shoehorned in like some box-ticking exercise, otherwise, it risks breaking immersion within certain scenarios, especially historical ones. I also question whether inclusivity truly adds any market value to games. I think ultimately people want good storytelling and characterisation first and foremost in their entertainment media. When you look at Film & Television, success has much more to do with those things, than the background or colour of characters skin. I can enjoy City of God, or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or The Wire just as much as say Casino Royale, North by North West. or Spaced.
Yeah man. I've had conversations with people who won't watch foreign movies but then turn around and say they want more American movies to feature more foreign actors. As a self-identifying pretentious film buff, it really rustles my jimmies.
 
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Likes: Kadayi
Oct 15, 2018
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#44
i dont trust that survey one bit. it feels like it has a deliberate agenda. im a minority and i am content with games as they currently are. i dont want any minority token characters in games just so devs can tick off a box. leave games alone.
 
Likes: Jubenhimer
Jan 5, 2012
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#47
If inclusivity in video games was done like they say in examples no one would be protesting. I haven't seen outrage about options in character creator

But in reality it's usually all about changing established characters (like Geralt) , censoring attractive characters or putting token non white or non hetero characters in every game even if it doesn't make sense (Kingdom Come).

Personally I'm lot more interested in seeing video games made by developers from whole world than another American/West European made product with proper quota of non white non cis characters.
 
Likes: Fuz
Apr 18, 2018
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#48
"Do you oppose murder?"

I don't think this is a good question since it doesn't accurately represent the For and Against sides very accurately, though that is the intention. "Inclusive" is considered a "virtuous word" by our society even if the meanings are numerous and splintered. They admit as much in the study:

"Inclusion can mean many different things,” writes Shi; “for the purpose of this research, we provided the following examples to better define inclusion: Being able to customise 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.”

It appears their goal was to do a survey and then pump it through various game outlet headlines to drive home their ideological point.

Generally, when you ask customers "do you want [thing]?", they will respond positively. It's just another marketing trick, kind of like "beta access for preordering" but the beta takes place a month prior to the launch of the full game.
 
Likes: Fuz