The gaming world, both in terms of the games themselves and the people who make them, remains heavily dominated by men. It's a situation that's changing, but slowly, and too slowly for the liking of Peter Moore, chief operating officer at Electronic Arts. But in an interview with Fortune, he said the company has made a conscious effort to increase diversity and inclusiveness in hiring over the past couple of years, and also pointed out that some of EA's biggest franchises are now being overseen by women,
Interestingly, Moore gave partial credit to EA's heightened focus on diversity to an unexpected source: Gamergate, which he said had highlighted the need for a more diversified industry. "We all need to step back sometimes and think about the environments we create for our people, the opportunities we create for people internally, and equally importantly how you bring new blood into the company," he said. "It can’t all be white males. As a result, I think that hiring managers at EA over the last couple of years have had a sharper focus on diversity. I know that my teams around the world have. If there’s been any benefit to Gamergate, whatever Gamergate is, I think it just makes us think twice at times."
Moore said EA recently held its first Girls Who Code program, which saw a group of more than 30 high school girls take part in a seven-week course in which they created their own apps while being taught by EA developers. He also revealed that the decision to include female players in FIFA 16, including as cover athletes, was actually made more than two years ago.
"We’ve invested heavily to get them in the game and we’ll continue to build on this moving forward with future games," he said. "We had the success with the US team winning the FIFA World Cup this year, and I’d argue more Americans can name members of the women’s soccer team than the men’s. And next year the women will be contenders for the gold medal at the Olympics at Rio 2016, which will be another marketing beat for us."
EA has already made strides toward increasing female representation throughout its ranks. As Fortune pointed out, Sara Jansson is the executive producer of Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir is senior producer on Star Wars Battlefront, Rachel Franklin is executive producer on The Sims 4, Samantha Ryan is a senior VP and general manager in charge of EA's mobile initiatives, and Amy Hennig is the creative director of Visceral's Star Wars games. Former Assassin's Creed Producer Jade Raymond recently joined EA as well to launch Motive Studios in Montreal and lead Visceral's studio in California, where she'll work with Hennig.
And while the internet voted EA as the Worst Company in America two years in a row, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named it among its "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" three years in a row. EA also maintains a well-defined Diversity and Inclusion program dedicated to creating "a welcoming workplace for our diverse global workforce as well as an inclusive gaming experience for our fans through programs, events, and community partnerships."