Business of Men

Inclusivity leadership strategies for the games sector


This guide outlines how inclusivity leadership has changed participation for women in the tech games sector, and strategies to improve  diversity and inclusion in the field.

While gaming may be stereotypically associated with men, female participation in gaming has been on the increase in recent years. This is in large part due to increased inclusivity leadership in multiple areas of gaming, including gamers and those working in game production. Female participation has helped to reshape gaming spaces and changed the landscape of the games industry.

So, what impact have these increased levels of female participation had on gaming, and how exactly has inclusivity leadership helped to make these changes happen?

This guide to inclusivity and female participation will cover the various effects of inclusivity on both the games industry and gaming communities, as well as its benefits for players and games companies alike.

Benefits of inclusivity leadership

Let’s take a closer look at what inclusivity leadership is, how it can be achieved, and why it should be a priority for any games company looking to widen their reach.

What is inclusivity in gaming?

Inclusivity in gaming means opening the door for people from a range of different backgrounds and with diverse experiences. This includes within the gaming community and behind the scenes – i.e., in game production.

While inclusivity comes in many forms, one area that has experienced an increase over the past few years is the inclusion of women and girls in the gaming world. This applies to both mobile games and other forms of gaming, such as consoles and computer-based games.

Inclusivity in the game production sector is often a forerunner to increased female participation in the world of games.

When more women work in leadership roles in the games industry, other women tend to see them as role models, leading them to start their own careers in the sector. Having people to look up to shows women that there is a place for them in the industry, encouraging them to pursue their ambitions and bring fresh perspectives and experiences to the table.

But it’s not just about the workplace. When inclusivity leadership is focused on and encouraged, games companies may experience an uptick in women buying and playing their games.

Being inclusive could mean adding more female characters to games, which results in female gamers feeling represented and more connected to the character and game while they play.

 What impact has inclusivity had on female participation in gaming?

Inclusivity in gaming has led to an increase in female participation. There is evidence to suggest that when women feel they will be welcomed by a gaming community, they are more likely to participate in gaming.

On a similar note, female gamers tend to enjoy games that feature female characters, as it shows them that the games industry recognises its female audience and values them enough to acknowledge them and create content they will enjoy.

This inclusivity leadership leads to more women buying, downloading and playing games, which generates an increase in revenue for the industry. Put simply, increased female participation is vital to the growth of the games sector.

What are the benefits of inclusivity leadership?

One obvious benefit of inclusivity leadership is that it encourages more people to get into gaming. This gives them the chance to develop a new interest or delve deeper into an existing hobby, allowing them to connect with other people, make friends, or simply relax and have fun.

In short, it introduces them to an outlet that they may not have previously been aware of – or, if they were aware of it, one that they may not have felt was open to them.

Increased female participation in gaming is also good for games companies, particularly for companies that are looking to grow their business, have their games reach more people, and expand their consumer base.

For example, consider the average customer lifetime value for apps and mobile games. The more people who download and play a game, the higher the average customer lifetime value will be. In other words, inclusivity isn’t only a good thing for gamers, but it has a positive effect on games companies, as it helps to increase their profits.

This means that for the makers of mobile games, promoting inclusivity is actually a really effective business strategy – particularly as female gamers may be more likely to come back to companies they perceive as inclusive, and purchase from them again in the future.

How can inclusivity be achieved?

As previously mentioned, there are several types of inclusivity, but this section will focus specifically on how gaming can be made more inclusive to female participants.

There are three areas in which a game can be made more inclusive of women: during the design and production stage, among the gaming community, and within the game itself.

Let’s take a closer look at how each form of inclusivity can be achieved:

  1. Behind the scenes

When it comes to boosting female participation throughout the gaming world, the first step often happens behind the scenes. When games companies hire women, it shows the public that they’re committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity, which can prompt more female gamers to take an interest in the game – meaning they’re more likely to download and play it.

There are lots of different areas in which a company could hire more women – inclusivity leadership means finding ways to include people across the board. For example, women in leadership positions could inspire others to follow in their footsteps, while female game designers are likely to have ideas on how to make the game more appealing to a wider audience, encouraging both men and women to give it a go or to continue playing.

This is particularly relevant to mobile games, which often have multiple levels for players to unlock – the game needs to be engaging enough for players to persevere with it, especially in cases where they have to pay for additional content.

When a games company strives for inclusivity behind the scenes and makes a point of hiring more women, it opens the door to new perspectives and ideas. This can help to shape future games and help the company to connect with their female audience, showcasing the company’s commitment to inclusivity at every level.

  1. In the game

One way to make games more inclusive and encourage female participation is to include more female characters in the game. This is a great way for games companies to make a visible commitment to inclusivity leadership.

It can also do a lot to attract new players, particularly women, as people enjoy games where they see themselves reflected on screen. It encourages female players to give the game a try, as it lets them know that the game’s creators are aware of their female audience and that they value them as participants in the gaming community.

This gives female participants in gaming a positive impression of the company behind the game, meaning there’s a higher chance they’ll download another game from this company in the future. In other words, acknowledging the female audience is a really effective way for companies to build brand loyalty.

This links back to the aim many companies have of increasing their average customer lifetime value: if the lifespan of a customer’s relationship with a company increases, their average lifetime value should increase alongside it.

  1. Among the gaming community

Promoting inclusivity leadership among the gaming community is another effective method for boosting female participation within gaming. Companies can do this by making sure their marketing is inclusive – for example, by designing and implementing advertising campaigns that will appeal to all gamers, regardless of gender.

One way in which companies can approach this is by conducting research into their customers, so that they can learn more about the demographics who play their games, and find out what it is about the games that encourages people to keep playing. They can then use this information when designing adverts, in order to attract as wide a range of people as possible.

On the other hand, if a game turns out not to have many female gamers, companies can take the time to find out what’s missing from their games and work on strategies to make their games more popular with women.

This benefits both the company and the gaming community, as it can help women to feel more welcome within gaming spaces, and has the potential to broaden a game’s audience, expanding it to a new demographic and driving up sales as a result.

In the past, women with an interest in games may have avoided pursuing gaming as a hobby, due to feeling unwelcome in gaming spaces. By fostering inclusivity, the gaming industry can help to encourage more women to explore gaming as a pastime, providing women with a new outlet and helping the industry to grow, widening audiences and prompting more people to get involved in gaming.


It’s worth keeping in mind that when it comes to increasing female participation in gaming, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Different gamers will have different interests, and female gamers – like the rest of the gaming community – will be drawn to games for an array of reasons.

Still, taking steps to be more inclusive has a good chance of boosting female participation, which has positive effects for both gamers and the games industry.

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