While the video game industry is still dominated by men, the number of women in power at video game companies is growing. But it's not growing as quickly as it should, given the acceleration of female players around the world, says Wanda Meloni, founder of M2 Research. Women currently comprise less than 15% of the games industry.
In contrast, research firm Newzoo has found that of the 1.2 billion people playing video games globally, 46%, or 570 million, are female, with the highest share of women playing in Latin America (49%) and the lowest in Asia-Pacific region (43%).
"In the U.S., around 170 million Americans play online, mobile, PC, or console games," said Peter Warman, founder of Newzoo. "Almost half, 48%, of these gamers are female." Warman notes the majority of female gamers -- 55% of them -- is older than 30.
The most popular platform to play games on are smartphones and tablets, according to Newzoo research. Three out of four American female gamers, or 61.7 million women, play games on their mobile device.
In the video game industry, Meloni found that there are slightly higher numbers of women working in casual games. She also found more women entrenched in the non-entertainment serious games sector. Women tend to be more dominant in executive production and management rolls where they can oversee the process. Where they fall short is in the more technical capacity of programming and audio design.
"Aside from getting more women to view games as a positive career option for them, we need to support them in all areas of production, design and development," said Meloni. "Additionally, we need to work on pay equity and more positive mentoring activities."
Here are 10 powerful women in games today, any of whom would serve as good role models for female gamers looking to enter the interactive entertainment work force.