Electronic Arts (EA) is taking a further step to promoting gender equality after the company’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, was named part of a HeForShe program earlier this week.
EA revealed Wilson’s participation in HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 program through a tweet on Sept. 20. The Redwood City, Calif. company previously partnered with HeForShe, an gender equality initiative by UN Women, through EA’s Play to Give program.
— Electronic Arts (@EA) September 20, 2017
The IMPACT 10x10x10 program consists of three sets of ten governmental, business and educational figures across the globe to change a respective aspect of the world’s approach to gender equality. Wilson is the only business figure representing a video game company.
“With more than 2.5 billion people around the world playing games today, interactive entertainment is uniquely positioned to advance this movement,” Wilson said for EA’s news blog. “Gender equality is foundational to the culture and values of Electronic Arts, and we must champion it as a force for global change.”
The response to this announcement was overwhelmingly negative. EA tweeted twice more on the subject, one stating the company’s allegiance to promoting equality in the video game industry and another as a call to action.
— Electronic Arts (@EA) September 21, 2017
Each time, responses consisted of denouncing feminism, mentioning an “SJW” (“Social Justice Warrior”) boogeyman and complaining that EA is being too political. Such a response indicates the gaming community’s resistance to change and lack of privilege awareness when it comes to gender representation, despite women making up about 41 percent of gamers.
I agree with equality, but you're ruining you games, implementing equality into them. Games don't need political BS contributed into them.
— scott blackhurst (@Sceaser1788) September 20, 2017
Like I hope people don't take this wrong, I support women's rights but I don't support feminism. AT ALL. AT FUCKING ALL.
— TheRanger (@Mr_Mc_101) September 22, 2017
You mean making women more powerful then men? Hahahahahahh, were already equal, cut the sjw bullshit.
— SuperSpace (@Super5pace) September 20, 2017
@EA we buy your games to play and have fun, don't want to hear about your feel good bullshit.. stick with making games.
— Mike M (@iceshank) September 22, 2017
Gamers have been vocal with their anger towards the video game industry before, most notably in 2014’s #GamerGate controversy when video game journalism ethical standards were questioned and alleging developer Zoë Quinn muddied said ethics. Quinn then became the target of a hate campaign, with her personal information including her phone number and address leaked online. She then faced death threats.
With these previous actions, it is clear there is a problem that needs to be addressed. EA plans to change this mentality with three specific goals, by leading women’s representation in games, creating an inclusive workplace for employees, and reaching out to others in the industry.