The first title in Prima Games’ newly announced Gaming and Pop Culture line is Women in Gaming: 100 Pioneers of Play by Meagan Marie. This 352-page celebration of women who have made a mark in the male-dominated video game industry is set for release on November 6, 2018.
“It’s meant to entertain and educate readers about the major contributions women have made to the field of video gaming and always have, despite the perception of it as a men’s field,” says Mike Degler, Prima Games’ v-p and publisher, who says the book will appeal to both genders and to readers as young as 12.
Prima, an imprint of the DK division of Penguin Random House, originated the idea, which fits with PRH’s quest for more diversity and inclusion across the board, according to Degler, who serves as a member of PRH’s diversity and inclusion team. Initially, Prima did not have a platform to publish the book, because it was focused only on its strategy guides. But its new Gaming and Pop Culture line is the perfect home for the title, Degler says. “There are lots of opportunities out there in terms of gaming and pop culture that no one is currently addressing, and this new line gives us the freedom to do that.”
The core of Women in Gaming is interviews with 100 industry women, representing a mix of roles as well as geographic regions, diverse populations, levels of fame, and eras. “We want to reach as far back as we can, but it’s not just that. Some of the pioneers may not have been the very first, but they’ve all broken ground for women in some way,” Degler says.
“It was important for me as a woman professional working in the video game industry to support and highlight the stories of other women,” says Marie, who has written about the industry for Game Informer Magazine and promoted gaming titles for Riot Games and her current employer, Crystal Dynamics. “Even as someone who works in the industry, I wasn’t aware of how many women contributed in meaningful ways from the very beginning, including some interesting and unsung heroes. We want to cement that legacy and to inspire the next generation of women professionals.”
The book, designed to appeal to past, current, and future professionals, gamers, academics, and readers from outside the industry, has a lighthearted tone, features fun graphics such as digitized 16-bit headshots, and integrates strategy guide-like stat boxes calling out career accomplishments and favorite games.
Women in Gaming also acknowledges some of the difficult issues facing females in the industry, which is 74% male, according to the Independent Game Developers Association. Over the past few years, news of Internet trolling, discrimination, and threats against high-profile women by male industry members and fans—long recognized as a problem within the video game trade—has reached the mainstream media.
“We didn’t want to shy away from some of the negative-skewed commentary about women or gloss over the systemic troubles they face,” Degler says. “We do reference it because it’s part of the process and it’s what happens. But our intent is to provide a celebratory look at women in the industry.”