Green Man Gaming today released a new infographic that explores the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in video games to coincide with the forthcoming launch of its brand new Pride Run game. The infographic, which uses data from the Queerly Represent Me website, analyses and explores how the LGBTQ+ community has been represented over time to explore progress in the industry.
The video game industry has not historically provided extensive portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community. When characters representing the LGBTQ+ community did make an appearance, they were typically confined to stereotypical, one-dimensional roles and were often not playable characters. However, Green Man Gaming's analysis shows there has been a growing awareness of LGBTQ+ identities among video game developers and story writers.
Until 2014 there were less than 500 games that included some kind of representation of LGBTQ+ communities. However, in the past five years there has been a significant upturn in the numbers, and today there are over 1,500 games with LGBTQ+ characters and the trend looks set to continue.
What's more, video game designers seem to be becoming more sensitive to the diversity of sexual identities. In early games in the 80s and 90s, we mainly saw the LGBTQ+ community represented as gay, lesbian, bi or trans. However, in 2019, Green Man Gaming's research showed that four additional sexual identities were represented in video games in roughly equal proportions.
The research also showed that video game designers are increasingly giving gamers the option to play as an LGBTQ+ character. In 2019, 90% of video games that included an LGBTQ+ character gave gamers the option to play as that character. By contrast, 30 years ago, you could only play as an LGBTQ+ character in a quarter of the games where the identities were present. We have also seen a growth in the diversity of genres where LGBTQ+ characters appear and can now be found in practically all formats.
Other findings include:
- LGBTQ+ characters are most often found in the interactive & visual novel genre, representing 64% of all games with characters representing the community in 2018
- Almost no LGBTQ+ characters are found in fighter games today, yet in the 80s and 90s they were more common. LGBTQ+ characters are particularly rare or non-existent in strategy, simulation and puzzle games
- Playersexual characters are a regular feature of video games. This is where the player's character, regardless of their gender, can start romantic encounters with any non-player character — even in an otherwise heteronormative game
David Clark, Managing Director at Green Man Gaming Publishing said: "As a business, Green Man Gaming strongly believes that gaming should be for everyone. We are delighted to see an increasing trend in LGBTQ+ representation in the video games industry. There's still a long way to go but, we hope the recent increase in this report demonstrates that change is really starting to happen."
Clark added that: "We believe that the growth in LGBTQ+ characters in games is really important because it allows players to identify with, understand and empathise with the community - which can only help to encourage tolerance. This is why our publishing arm are always on the lookout for inclusive games to share with the gaming community. And, we wanted to make our own contribution too - we're really proud to launch our new Pride Run game, a celebration of Pride events all around the world, next month."
About Green Man Gaming
Greenmangaming.com is an eCommerce store and community platform offering millions of gamers a single destination for all things gaming. With customers in 195 countries, the store stocks a wide catalogue of multi-platform digital games at the best prices and provides the latest game data tracking, reviews and discussions on its community.
Green Man Gaming Publishing works with independent development studios globally to market their own games and increase the visibility of games in a challenging marketplace. The industry expertise and knowledge of the publishing team provide developers with hands on and collaborative support that includes in-depth market analysis, integrated Marketing and PR campaigns, finishing finance options and global retail strategy.
Green Man Gaming has been recognised by leading bodies in the video gaming, business and technology sectors with over 30 awards received since it was launched in 2010.
—From a press release