EA has carried out a survey and analytics on how important inclusion and diversity are to players. Headed up by Jenny Shi, EA Global Analytics and Insights, this survey of 2,252 EA gamers was carried out in order to better understand the general player base’s feelings towards representation, diversity, and inclusion.
For the purposes of the study, inclusion had to be defined. Inclusive features include being able to customise characters with a wide range of skin colours and body sizes, stories with culturally diverse characters, friendly in-game chat, and features to assist special needs gamers.
The 2,252 gamers surveyed were all from the US, 13-54 years old, game on PC or console, and were responsible for their own gaming purchases. It would be nice to know some further specifics on the demographics but this all we've got to go on, sadly.
The first question concerned whether gamers were more or less likely to play a game if it had inclusive features.
According to those surveyed, the impact of inclusivity on game sales is a net positive. 45% said they were more likely to play a game if it has inclusive features, 48% said it would have no impact, and 7% said they were less likely to play a game if it lets you customise your skin colour and body size; features diverse characters, or has features designed to help disabled gamers play. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Happily, the games industry audience is only 7% averse towards inclusiveness according to the user survey. They’re comparatively loud, but they’re also pretty much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The overwhelming majority either like to have inclusive features in a game, or they’re not bothered about it at all. This is what we call ‘rational thinking’. 93% of the players surveyed fit this mindset, while the remaining 7% said they were actively less likely to play a game because it was more inclusive, AKA a selfish a-hole.
The second survey question was a little different, asking gamers how important it was that games were more inclusive towards diverse audiences. In reality, this isn’t much more than an empathy test.
The results paint a fairly similar picture to the other polled question, albeit it with fewer neutral respondents. Well over half of those survey said it was important for games to inclusive, 31% were neutral, and just 13% expressed their immense privilege in saying ‘Not Important’. Again, empathy test, with 56% capable of showing empathetic tendencies.
Between the two polls, we see a shift from 56% who think it’s important to be inclusive, down to 45% who say it’s likelier they’ll play a game if it’s inclusive. This 11% shift can be explained away by those who want inclusive experiences for others but they’re not particularly fussed if they themselves are given it.
In summation, the EA survey comes to the conclusion that inclusion is a net positive in terms of consumer interest in a game, as well as an important step for developers to take.