We looked at 20 years of E3, analysing three key categories: Best PC Game, Best Console Game, Best of Show. When looking at individual titles, games that won multiple awards were only counted once. Discover our methodology at the bottom of the page.
PC winners at E3 shows are more diverse than their console brethren. Almost half the games on PC had good/very good levels of diversity versus 32% on console.
Bundle all the games together and rank them by genre, and first-person shooters come out the worst. Two-thirds of all shooters had “No/low diversity”. Doom 3, Crysis and Rage are all examples of this. Role-playing games (RPGs), on the other hand, provide the sort of freedoms that mean they cater to just about anyone.
Canada is the country to follow when it comes to developing diverse games. The long-running Mass Effect series is a flagbearer, but Star Wars: The Old Republic and Anthem are other notable additions to Canada’s growing portfolio of diversity-friendly games.
Games with “Very” or “Good” levels of diversity have increased by 225% in the past ten years.
The Gears of War games have been a mainstay of E3 shows, but they’ve never done diversity particularly well. The good news is that Gears 5 will, for the first time in the series, put you in the shoes of a female protagonist (Kait). Can we say progress?
Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Fallout 4, Spider-Man
Doom 3, Gears of War, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Crysis, Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Resident Evil 2 does a lot right, letting you play as either Leon or Clare, and putting both characters front and centre on the cover of the game (for more on how game covers are guilty of not always doing this, head over to the “Women in gaming” section).
However, Capcom undoes a lot of its good work late in the game when Ada Wong enters the fold dressed as if she’s about to go on a hot date. Why a government agent would come to work dressed in a body-hugging racy red dress is never properly explained, nor does it really need to be. There is no real reason beyond the lazy assumption that the majority of the game’s audience would enjoy such thing.
Our scoring system assigns numerical points to games that tick certain diversity boxes: female representation, LGBTQ+ themes and so forth. 20 points are on offer, but games are only judged out of 10. In theory, a game can score 20/10, but games with this level of diversity are the exception rather than the rule, and we also want to reward games that tick one or two boxes very well.
“Very diverse” = 10 or more points; “Good diversity” (8-10 points); “Somewhat diverse” (5-7 points); “No/low diversity”(0-4).
Read all about the scoring system methodology on our about the campaign page.
Hosted by Goff Keighley, The Game Awards is a glitzy annual celebration of the very best games of the year.© Blizzard Entertainment
Do games cater to diverse ethnicities? To pull our data, we’ve scrutinised every game nominated for a Game Award from 2003 until 2018.© Telltale Games