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50% of developers will be women "five to ten years from now", says Lionhead boss

"I don't want to sit in a studio full of blokes," opines Gary Carr

Here's a happy fact for you: according to a recent Game Developer Magazine survey, only four per cent of game programmers are women, and female games developers in general are paid thousands of dollars less than their male compatriots. Evidence that women just aren't as interested in videogames, or the creation of videogames, as men? Apparently not: the Electronic Software Association suggests that 45 per cent of games enthusiasts are female.

Whatever the underlying causes - as OXM forumite Chameleon notes, it's possible the pay gap reflects the fact that male developers have been around for longer - that's an imbalance that appears to be changing, fortunately. Speaking to OXM at the Kodu Kup final, a game development competition for UK school students, Lionhead's creative director Gary Carr has predicted that workforces will be "pretty much 50-50" male and female, a decade or so from now.

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"Isn't there a stat now that says that 55 per cent of gamers are now girls?" he told us. "I think handheld devices and things like the Nintendo DS, these are really accessible, and girls are drawn to the market perhaps more than in our day, where it was either a console or the Amiga or something like that, a PC.

"I think as developers, in terms of job applicants, we're noticing now that we're at last getting the diversity we want when you're coming up with a creative team," Carr continued. "I don't want to sit in a studio full of blokes, I want to be part of a diverse team.

"I don't just want guys making games for guys. I want guys and girls making games for guys and girls. You have to reflect that in your workforce, and it's starting to happen. I think that five to ten years from now, it'll be pretty much 50-50."

This is an encouraging claim, I'm sure you'll agree, given such depressing turns of events as Dontnod's initial failure to find a publisher for Remember Me, and Epic's caginess on the subject of a female Gears of War protagonist. Still, Carr's suggestion that the transition will simply take place without any conscious action on the part of employers deserves a bit of scrutiny - given that publishers actively position gaming as a boys-only club (see also: every FPS marketing campaign ever), isn't action in the other direction required to establish the balance?

Carr offered up a number of thoughtful, thought-inducing thoughts in the full interview, including a defence of Microsoft's Xbox One U-turns and some musings on the manufacturer's studio acquisition strategy. You can read it in our latest Watch Dogs-flavoured issue, which is on sale now.

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