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Women in Games and Ahead Partnership

3rd October 2019Posted by: Sumo Digital

This September, we had the pleasure of attending the Women in Games European Conference, sending 10 of our staff from across our studios to the 2-day event held in South London.  

The event provided an incredible opportunity to explore and support the work of women in the industry and to contribute to the ongoing dialogue of women in games.  

It also marked Sumo Group’s commitment to work with Women in Games for the next 12 months as Corporate Ambassadors. As Corporate Ambassadors, our studios will be encouraging and supporting Women in Games by raising awareness, facilitating networking and knowledge-sharing events and furthering the work of this fantastic organisation in any way that we can – so expect to see lots more in the future! 

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“We are committed to addressing gender inequality in the video games industry by inspiring the next generation of female game developers to enter the industry and by ensuring that the women already working in games are empowered and supported to reach their potential,” said Karen McLoughlin, Sumo Group Director of HR, “We are proud to support the WIG’s fantastic work and join the community of studios and organisations that share our commitment.” 

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Women in Games European Conference played host to a huge variety of talks, panels, practical seminars and summits, all designed to continue the conversation in support of women in the games industry. 

The talks also put a spotlight on some of the positive changes women are making in the areas of game development, human resources and technological advancement. Topics included how games can be a powerful force for good, exploring how to create a diverse and inclusive company culture, and how new technologies are transforming digital entertainment.

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Attendees also had the chance to celebrate the work of women throughout the industry at the first Conference Awards & Party, hosted at The Ministry. We had the honour of sponsoring the Corporate and Individual Ambassador Awardrecognising individuals and companies who champion the importance of increasing diversity within the games industry and the opportunities within it. 

A huge thank you to Women in Games for hosting such an inspiring event. We can’t wait to work closely with them in the future! 

How else are we encouraging diversity in the games industry?  

One of our beliefs is that diversity begins with education, which is why we recently took part in a school initiative that aims to educate schoolchildren about what truly goes into making games. 

Throughout June, studio volunteers from Sumo Sheffield in collaboration with Ahead Partnership visited three local schools – Ecclesfield School, King Edward VII School and Outward Academy City. They spent a day at each hosting workshops and teaching students aged 11 to 14 about the core areas of game development. The students were then tasked with creating a game idea from scratch and pitching it to a panel of judges. 

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From our experience, we know that a career in the games industry is rewarding, creative and fun. But for lots of schoolchildren, especially young women and people from BAME and working-class backgrounds, following a pathway that leads to games is often something they’ve never considered. We want to change this and show children in school there are many different career paths open to them within our industry.   

It was important to approach game development from the ground up to create a shared framework of reference between everyone involved. Essential skills including the use of concise instructions, creative ideas and solutions, and planning and teamwork were all emphasised. These are things students are already familiar with, allowing them to use their skills in a game development setting with ease. 

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The first half of the day saw our Sumo volunteers lead workshops centred around the core areas of audio, design, art and code, with schoolchildren forming teams with at least one member from each of these areas. Together, they were tasked with creating a single game concept incorporating all the skills they’d just learnt into one. As the day progressed and the game ideas developed, we chose one winner from each school to go forward to the grand finale, hosted at our Sumo Sheffield studio. 

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It was an awesome experience to welcome the next generation of game makers to our studio! The three teams of finalists were given a behind the scenes tour of the studio and a chance to see what their workday might look like if they pursued a career in games. The game makers then neatened their pitches, ready for an afternoon of showcasing their ideas to our Sheffield staff for one final round of voting. 

Once the votes were tallied, we had the pleasure of announcing that the team from King Edward VII School had won the competition with their unique game concept based on the medieval feudal system. The all-female team had worked hard to balance each element of game development and communicated them clearly and with confidence during their pitch! 

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Taking part in this initiative with the Ahead Partnership was an incredible opportunity to give back to the schools local to our Sheffield studio, and inspire the next generation of developers into the industry.   

We’d like to thank the team at Ahead Partnership who helped us arrange this brilliant initiative and the inspiring teams from each school who took part!

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Want to catch up with us at other events? We send our Sumo Digital team to lots of industry events throughout the year – check out our social media channels to find out where we’ll be next!  

Twitter: @SumoDigitalLtd
Facebook: SumoDigital

LinkedIn: Sumo Digital Ltd

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