In 2021, only 21.4 % of game industry workers in Sweden are women¹. While the number is slowly growing, it’s still nowhere close to corresponding with the distribution of gamers, which previous studies in Europe has clocked at an average of 43 % women.²
DONNA is a local initiative of the University of Skövde to bring more women into the industry – in part by means of getting more women into game development education. After all, as founder Jenny Brusk explains, “it’s obvious that unless we manage to recruit more female students to our courses, game companies will have a more difficult time recruiting women”
Every year in relation to Sweden Game Conference, DONNA DAY takes place: an event where students and industry can network and exchange experiences.
There are many important initiatives dedicated to furthering the cause of women and non-binary in the games industry, with DONNA being more local to our roots in Sweden.
We are proud to collaborate closely with DONNA to support their efforts to inspire women and non-binary students to pursue careers and entrepreneurship in game development. As Gold sponsors of DONNA Day 2022, we invest in the future of our industry by helping more applicants join regardless of financial situation, with travel, lodging and food all covered throughout DONNA Day as well as free access to Sweden Game Conference, one of the country’s biggest game conferences. We are also happy to contribute as mentors and speakers at DONNA Day, sharing our knowledge and experiences to inspire passionate creatives who share our ideals of diversity and equality.
We hope to soon be able to share exciting information about a new collaboration.
We remember the get-togethers with friends during lunch break, playing split-screen with choppy performance on CRT TVs. And the companions we only met online to slay foul beasts together. Now more than ever, in terms of socialization, the physical and digital worlds are pretty much the same. It’s easy to get why games represent something bigger than entertainment to many of us. Like friendship and a sense of community.
This is especially valuable for people with disabilities who run a heightened risk of social isolation. AbleGamers is an organisation that has spent nearly two decades fighting to remove the barriers to gaming that people with disabilities experience.
Working with more than 400 players with disabilities, AbleGamers created a set of 22 open source Accessible Player Experience DesignPatterns (APX) to help developers craft more accessible games. They also offer deep dive training programs. Those who complete the training become Certified APX Practitioners.
When anyone picks up a game from Kinda Brave, we want them to know it’s playable. Becoming a publisher that gamers can trust when it comes to accessibility is a Quest we don’t take lightly. To achieve this, we’re appointing Accessibility Champions to all teams in our group. Each Champion will get training through AbleGamers, to become Certified APX Practitioners. In turn, they’ll act as BASTIONS OF KNOWLEDGE for us all to lean on and learn from.
But this is just for starters. We need to advance alongside technology. And we need to act as members of the wider development community to share learnings and ideas.
We also need to be careful not to increase pressure on developers by adding features to an already filled backlog. That’s why all our games get extra, dedicated development time to implement key accessibility features and technologies. As a result, accessibility becomes a natural part of pre-production and planning rather than an afterthought.
In September of 2021, Gamingaktier.com ran a charity drive to raise donations for AbleGamers. Our studio Ember Trail answered the call and donated keys to their game Main Assembly. At the end of the drive, $26 905 had been raised.