If you think gaming is a man’s world, you need to think again. Women have been leading the way in various facets of the gaming industry for decades. In fact, the very first computer-based text adventure game, The Sumerian Game, was designed by a woman, the American Mabel Addis, way back in 1964. Today, there is a plethora of notable women working in the online gaming industry. Here are seven that are worthy of your attention.
Game developer Bonnie Ross has been with Microsoft since 1994. She began as a producer working on sports games for PC. Over the years, she helped develop popular titles like NBA: Inside Drive, Psychonauts, Dungeon Siege, Zoo Tycoon, and Counter-Strike. But her crowning moment came when she led the team that developed Halo, the blockbuster first-person-shooter sci-fi game that has taken the world by storm.
Shelly Sutter-Hadad began her professional career in the gaming industry when she worked at Mansion Group for three years, starting in 2008. In her roles as the chief operating officer and managing director with the company that operates several well-known casino brands, Sutter-Hadad was perfectly placed to take over as CEO of the popular online casino Casumo in 2019. A new era for the casino was ushered in with her appointment, and her drive and experience will enable Casumo to achieve bigger and better things.
NetEnt is a leading provider of premium games to the world’s most successful casino operators. In 2017, NetEnt went through somewhat of a transformation when Therese Hillman was appointed CEO. She had to make some difficult decisions in her first few years, such as reducing the workforce at the company’s Stockholm head office, but such actions have enabled NetEnt to enhance its efficiency and commercial growth.
Tanya DePass has always been a serious gamer, and as a woman of color, she realized the gaming industry could represent diverse groups of people much more. So, she founded the nonprofit organization I Need Diverse Games, to raise the visibility of diverse games and to support underrepresented groups. The organization has been hugely successful in helping to make video games a more popular pastime for women, people of color, and minority groups.
The online game-streaming platform Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, has revolutionized the way people interact with video games. The popularity of the site where people watch or stream video games, casino games, and other content is partly due to the work of the senior director of sales and sponsors, Amber Dalton. She is responsible for bringing together brands and influencers from around the world. Dalton is not just a cutting-edge businesswoman though. She is also a devoted gamer. In 2002, with her sister Amy Brady, Dalton founded PMS Clan, which is a community for competitive female gamers.
After working at Microsoft for over a decade, Kate Edwards began her own venture in 2005. She founded the consultancy company Geogrify, which advises game makers on how to go beyond localization and accommodate geopolitical and cultural concerns. Edwards is a keen gamer herself. She runs the game development hackathon Global Game Jam. And from 2012 to 2017, she was director of the International Game Developers Association.
Tanya X. Short
After designing the popular video game Shattered Planet, Tanya X. Short founded the game development company Kitfox in 2014, along with co-founders Xin Ran Liu and Jongwoo Kim. Since then, Kitfox has produced some marvelously wild games, like Boyfriend Dungeon, which has been called “Tinder for swords,” and the Henry VIII simulator game Fit for a King. Short also founded the nonprofit Montreal-based company Pixelles, which supports and encourages women to pursue careers in game development.