With discouragement abounding in many shapes and forms, a woman’s struggle with reaching higher statuses within the workplace is still a very real issue. It can be said that the ethical toll this has on women entering or who are already working in the gaming industry can be enough of a deterrent for females to shy away completely. While many women already working in this competitive industry have their own personal experiences, I caught up with PMS Lumos in order to get her spin on breaking into the interactive gaming field, her biggest motivations, and some tips and tricks for aspiring, female game industry leaders.
PMS Nova: What positions do you hold in the gaming industry? What are some day-to-day activities you’d be able to share with us?
PMS Lumos Currently, I am a brand ambassador for TAPPromotions and a Frag Doll Cadette at Ubisoft. I am also on the Event Staff for PMS. I am very lucky to be able to work the many gaming and/or tech events that happen year round. As for my day-to-day, I do not yet have a full-time job besides being in school. I am studying Computer Science and it's enough to keep me busy everyday!
PMS Nova: Were there any specific motivational factors that drew you to the video game industry and have you always known that you wanted to work in this competitive and fast-paced field?
PMS Lumos I've always loved video games, but I was a Biology major going into college and my parents are pretty traditional in that they did not believe working in video games was even a viable option. When I started gaming heavily again during my freshman year and joined the PMS Clan the year after, I was reminded of why video games were so amazing. I met all of these people that eventually became some of my best friends and for the first time in a while, I was able to really be myself. I wanted to go to these events that for years I was only able to watch on TV. I made the decision to begin studying Computer Science and pursue a career in the games industry, and haven't looked back since.
PMS Nova: Where do you see yourself in terms of advancing within the gaming industry? What is your ultimate goal?
PMS Lumos Since switching my major to CS, I've fallen in love with code and what it can do for the world. Working events has been so much fun and it's given me a look into what the "front end" does; that is, marketing, PR, biz dev, etc. My ultimate goal, however, is to become a game programmer. In that sense, I am definitely a "back end" person. I want to give back to the community what video games did for me. I would love to code for the rest of my life, especially video games.
PMS Nova: Being a woman in a largely male-dominated field introduces a unique set of challenges. Have you experienced any animosity in being a female working in this competitive industry? Have you dealt with sexual harassment or negative attitudes related to your sex?
PMS Lumos Women in gaming have been on the rise and sexism is not tolerated by the community anymore. I am proud to be in the league of women that stand against that and support each other (PMS Clan and FDC). I am thankful to not have experienced any form of sexual harassment besides on XBL, but I could also attribute that to the gaming industry for just being awesome.
PMS Nova: How would you use your position to educate other ladies entering this field on how the gaming industry works? Any words of advice?
If you really want it, take the necessary risks and steps to get there. Get your BA. Go to events. Get experience. Network. Never be afraid to ask for advice or help from people that are already in the position you wish to be in.
PMS Nova: What keeps you inspired at this point?
1) My parents. I want to make them proud especially now that they realize that I am happy with where my life is going and support that.
2) The people I have met on this journey that have become my second family.
3) School kicks my butt, but overcoming challenges and being excited about what I'm learning lets me know that I am on the right career path.
A 2005 study by US researchers on the subject of inequality in the gaming industry workplace shows that females are accountable for over 47% of the consumer audience for the video game world, yet 88% of employees in the gaming industry is male. This has essentially become an arena where sexism and inequality run rampant; a brutal and very real and biased industry that has continued to promote more to males than females. Women in games is certainly not a new trend. With the percentage of females as game consumers on the rise, it is baffling to some how the industry can still appear to be blind to catering to a more feminine audience. While this does not mean everything should be rainbows and ribbons, some wonder if the lack of females working in the gaming industry is responsible for an inherent lack of female heroines in AAA titles for players to relate to.
With positive examples like PMS Lumos already shaping the way for successful females in gaming, there is sure to be a bright future for aspiring women game developers. Looking for insight on what it’s like to work in the gaming industry yourself? Be on the lookout for more features of women in the gaming workforce and for tips, tricks, and motivation for the impassioned female gamer!
A huge thank you to PMS Lumos for her time and participation in this feature!
Written by PMS Nova, member of the PMS|H2O Editorial Team. Follow her on Twitter!