Platinum Sponsorship Launching at the 2018 Game Developers Conference with Inaugural Programming Aimed at Increasing Representation and Advancing Opportunities for Women in Gaming
SAN FRANCISCO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — March 7, 2018 — Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA), a leading social game developer, today announced their platinum sponsorship of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Foundation’s Women in Games Ambassador and IGDA Scholars programs, kicking off during the largest gathering of game developers in the world, the 2018 Game Developers Conference (GDC). The partnership is one pillar of Zynga’s presence at this year’s GDC, where the company will be the platinum sponsor of the GDC Mobile Summit, March 19 - 20.
Led by Women at Zynga, whose mission is to foster an inclusive work environment that values diversity and empowers women to succeed and become leaders in their careers and community, the sponsorship of the Women in Games Ambassador program will enable the IGDA Foundation to expand their programmatic outreach, which helps women find their first professional opportunities in game development. In addition, the partnership supports IGDA’s Scholars, empowering students to further their careers and education through scholarships and access to industry events and activities, like GDC, with IGDA’s volunteers.
“Our goal at the IGDA Foundation is to inspire potential and current developers from all walks of life and around the globe to embark on successful and fulfilling careers within the gaming industry,” said Jen MacLean, Executive Director, IGDA Foundation. “We’re honored to partner with Women at Zynga, as their mission to empower and support women across the gaming industry aligns with our core values of mentorship, access and advancement for everyone. Through our deep partnership with Women at Zynga during this year’s GDC, we’re excited to pair our program participants with a fantastic cross-section of leaders at one of the industry’s leading social game developers.”
In addition to hosting nearly 60 IGDA Foundation program participants during GDC, Woman at Zynga will also provide GDC scholarships to 6 female students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division and Marshall School of Business. The scholarships will give access for the students to attend GDC while receiving on-site career mentorship from Zynga game makers. The GDC scholarship program is one component of Zynga’s partnership with USC to support the creation of innovative social mobile gameplay. Announced in May 2017, Zynga’s USC initiative funds three years of class curriculum and an event series of panels and lectures on inclusivity and diversity in the video game industry. The program is open to students from across the USC campus who are interested in innovative game design, as well as inclusivity and diversity in the development of social mobile games.
“As a leading mobile social game developer, Zynga is committed to creating and supporting initiatives that build an inclusive environment for women working in the mobile games sector, as well as those interested in pursuing a future career in our industry,” said Frank Gibeau, CEO, Zynga. “At Zynga, we aspire to be a top destination for women in gaming and I’m proud of how our own industry-leading Women at Zynga initiative has partnered with IGDAF and USC to support the next generation of game makers. We look forward to joining the conversation at this year’s GDC on how to meaningfully empower and advance women in gaming and foster a thriving industry for all game developers.”
According to a 2017 Google Play and Newzoo study, 65% of women aged 10 to 65 in the U.S. play mobile games, with women making up nearly half of all mobile gamers. To facilitate a discussion on the state of women in gaming, Women at Zynga will host an esteemed group of industry leaders for a GDC panel focused on building diverse entertainment audiences and inclusive points of view in gaming. Moderated by Lucy O’Brien, Games and Entertainment Editor for IGN, the panel will feature Jen MacLean, Executive Director, IGDA Foundation; Lisette Titre-Montgomery, Art Manager, Double Fine Productions; and Nicole Opas, Vice President of Games, Zynga.
Established in 2011, Women at Zynga embodies the company’s belief that an organization is stronger when it values diversity, equality, inclusion and respect. The employee-led group develops female-focused enrichment programs around education and training, professional development and community building. In addition to advocating for women’s achievements and advancements in gaming, the group is also focused on the retention and recruitment of female game makers across the industry.
As the platinum sponsor of the GDC Mobile Summit March 19 - 20, Zynga will also hold an industry panel on building entertainment experiences for emerging mobile platforms. Moderated by Craig Chapple, Senior Editor of PocketGamer.biz, the panel will explore the exciting growth of emerging mobile platforms for instant entertainment experiences, including a state of the market and what’s next for Facebook’s Instant Games and Android’s platforms. Open to all GDC Summit attendees, the panel featuring Leo Olebe, Director Global Games Partnerships, Facebook; Benjamin Frenkel, Android Product Manager, Google; Nicole Opas, Vice President Games, Zynga; and Michael Carter, CEO, Blackstorm Labs, will take place on March 20 in the West Hall (Room 2011) of Moscone from 11:20 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
About the International Game Developers Association (IGDA)