Kotaku has a very long and very well-researched piece detailing what it calls “the culture of sexism at Riot Games.” Work on the piece started in December, and writer Cecilia D’Anastasio spoke to 28 current and former employees of the League of Legends developer, male and female, for the piece.
For the most part, the article gives multiple examples of qualified female employees and potential hires being refused jobs or promotions because, as they saw it, they didn’t fit into the “bro culture” of Riot — defined by one person as “like working at a giant fraternity.”
According to multiple sources in the article, Riot’s definition of a “core gamer” is a nebulous concept used to exclude women from advancing within, or even being hired by, the company. One interviewee, who “has always played role-playing games” was asked if she “played ‘real games like Call of Duty,'” ultimately leading to this line of questioning:
“In the end, he asked, ‘If someone just met you, how would they know you’re a gamer?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m looking at my TV right now that has 16 game consoles plugged into it.'”
Several current Riot employees defended their company, acknowledging that while the company is male-dominated (80% of employees), efforts are being made to be as inclusive as possible. Another (male) employee, however, was dismissive of the claims. Kotaku summarizes his opinion, saying:
long-held ideas about who belongs at Riot are too entrenched to be fixable by interview training, repeated acknowledgements about the desire for change or rewriting Riot’s job descriptions and website copy.
A lot of the article is dedicated to the typical, though unfortunate, kind of sexism you hear about in a lot of companies: women being passed over for promotions, being talked over in meetings, and outright sexual harassment, like the sending of unsolicited dick pics. It’s the “core gamer” gatekeeping that bugs me the most, especially at a company that works for a game known for its toxicity and generally elitist player base.
The article is long but it’s worth a read, so go check it out.