GLAAD says games are failing LGBTQ players

There aren’t enough games with queer characters and themes — and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy group, has the statistics to prove it. GLAAD’s first annual report on the video game industry found that nearly 20 percent of all gamers in the United States identify as LGBTQ, but only 2 percent of games feature LGBTQ characters and stories. The report highlights three critical truths: Representation matters Many The remaining gaming audience for LGBTQ gamers largely welcomes these themes, and new generations of gamers are only more open to queer content.

GLAAD has the numbers, so here’s a deeper look, along with a few bits of gaming news from last week:

This week’s stories

Xbox rumor mill

Xbox is set to address many rumors on Thursday about the company’s plans to bring its exclusive games to the PlayStation, Switch and other platforms. Focused on major releases such as Rumors Indiana Jones and the Great Circle and StarfieldBut according to The VergeTom Warrenare the first titles slated to make the jump Hi-Fi Rush and Penitentiary. Nothing’s been confirmed yet, but Xbox’s top game heads Phil Spencer, Sarah Bond and Matt Booty will talk about it all on the next episode of the Official Xbox Podcast. drops Thursday at 3pm ET.

Ubisoft promises to be good again

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said on an investor call last week that the studio will officially make good games again. Speaking about the company’s positive third quarter, Guillemot said “it marks the beginning of our return to consistently creating and delivering high-quality, long-lasting games,” a clear admission that Ubisoft hasn’t been making great games lately. This is something I have talked too much — I feel like the studio has been working on NFTs and free-to-play mobile titles since the financial crisis era of 2015, and I’m actually excited to see it return to its weirder, more focused roots. Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown It was a great first step. Ubisoft plans to provide more details on this Star Wars OutlawsThe new Assassin’s Creed is set in Japan and its mobile set in may.

The game has never been gay

“The gaming industry is beyond modern media in terms of LGBTQ representation and is failing LGBTQ customers.” This is one of the output lines GLAAD’s first annual gaming reportAnalyzes the state of the video game industry from the perspective of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender gamers in the United States.

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy group, found in its survey that 17 percent of the total gaming audience, or roughly one in five gamers, are LGBTQ. This figure corresponds to the statistics of generation Z. Still, only 2 percent of all games on the market have LGBTQ content, a saturation level well below that of film, television, and other forms of media.

GLAAD ran the numbers themselves: in November 2023, the Xbox store had 146 games with LGBTQ content, while PlayStation offered a list of 90 titles with these themes, and the Switch eShop had 50 games marked with LGBT. Steam had 2,302 English-language games under the LGBTQ+ label, but that number dropped to 1,506 when filtering out titles with “adult-sexual content only.” All told, odd games made up about 2 percent of stores’ libraries.

In contrast, GLAAD found that nearly one in three films from top distributors in 2022 featured an LGBTQ character, and that LGBTQ characters appeared as series regulars in 10 percent of primetime scripted broadcast shows in 2022 and 2023. GLAAD Gaming Director Blair Durkee said gaming remains at just 2 percent queer representation sorry behind other entertainment industry.

The report also tried to determine why this gap exists. It suggested that some developers simply didn’t think about including LGBTQ people, or worried about alienating a mainstream audience they assumed would be hostile to LGBTQ content. However, given that LGBTQ people make up nearly 20 percent of the market on their own, “this perceived core audience is a myth,” the report says. Critically, GLAAD said that more than 60 percent of non-LGBTQ gamers aren’t bothered by queer protagonists in their games, and 70 percent are fine with titles that offer the option to play as an LGBTQ character.

So this kind of representation doesn’t bother most straight, cisgender people, but it means a lot to LGBTQ gamers. 72 percent of LGBTQ gamers said seeing their gender identity or sexual orientation well represented made them feel better about themselves, and this number was even higher among younger gamers. Overall, 36 percent of LGBTQ gamers reported that video games helped them discover their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that percentage rose to 41 percent among LGBTQ gamers of color. More than 40 percent of casual gamers said video games helped them cope with not being accepted in the real world. These issues are more salient than ever amid the avalanche of anti-LGBTQ legislation: More than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills have already been proposed or passed in the US in the first few weeks of 2024, most of them targeting transgender youth.

While GLAAD reports that 66 percent of all LGBTQ gamers use gaming to express themselves in ways they don’t feel comfortable in the real world, that statistic rises to 75 percent for gamers who live in states with proposed or active anti-LGBTQ laws. .

The real bottom line is that more gamers identify as LGBTQ than ever before, and the resistance to these topics diminishes with each new generation of gamers. I am part of the LGBTQ community and I can say that overall the GLAAD report is true. It feels like the industry is saturated with games that aren’t made for me, and there’s a great joy that comes from discovering a new title that speaks to my own life or allows me to play in a world that isn’t traditionally straight. male power fantasies. Queer people have fantasies too, and the GLAAD report highlights how these stories are being forgotten in games. It’s not about LGBTQ people wanting all games to be gay – we just want proportional access and escape to the fantasy. Personally, I would like to see more LGBTQ people in positions of authority in video games, which is what GLAAD recommended in their report.

And really soon, because I can already hear the keyboards melting: Awakening ideas won’t destroy the gaming industry, but stagnation will, and as the GLAAD report points out, we’re closer to that reality than anything else.

Bonus content

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Children of the sun A dark and trippy puzzle game with an elegant shooting mechanic. Players find an angle, set up a shot, and then control the path of a bullet that takes out every enemy on the screen. That’s my kind of shooter. Children of the sun does Only available as a demo on Steam for now and comes from solo developer René Rother, published by Devolver Digital.

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