Professionals and community at annual Australian Penny Arcade Expo express changing attitudes

Australia’s fast-growing games industry is crying out for women and special interest groups – including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and even religious bodies – to get involved. That was the strong message that came out of Australia’s biggest gaming event, PAX AUS (The Penny Arcade Expo), held over three days in Melbourne last week.

Tens of thousands of video game fans from around the world converged on the Melbourne Convention Center to celebrate their love of games and gaming culture.

Across the weekend, industry figures discussed present and future issues across all walks of gaming culture on public panels, and the diversification theme consistently resonated regardless of the core topics. In an industry that is still largely dominated by men, panelists frequently expressed their desire to see broader representation of women in games, as well as LGBT interests and other minorities.

There’s a huge demand for more women and minorities in games development, to the point where Gearbox Software (the company behind the popular Borderlands series) CEO Randy Pitchford said that if two equally skilled male and female coders applied for the same job at his company, he would hire a woman.

Overall, the general atmosphere at PAX was one of acceptance towards anyone interested in games and geek culture, with no better example than the diversity lounge – an all-inclusive gaming space. While partially a space for gamers from all walks of life to come and play, it was also a hub for charities like Medic! whose volunteers were raising money for the UK organization Special Effect, which builds custom controllers for disabled gamers.

PAX AUS is the only international (so far) branch of the annual expo, but the success of this year’s event represents the growing call for diversity in the global games industry.

Source: Choice