A Small Omission: Gran Turismo Sport and Female Gamers

The other day, my husband decided to share a trailer for the latest Gran Turismo game that was unveiled for the Playstation console at the latest E3 events. I remember playing Gran Turismo games with my little brother way back when on the original first Playstation! I also really enjoy, now as an adult with a driver’s license, having the opportunity to drive high performance cars from time to time; though, most of the time, I’m rolling around in a compact car with good fuel economy thanks to Zipcar. All that said, we watched the trailer together and were in awe of the beautiful graphics that made sleek sports cars look even sleeker.

However, while the game graphics look fantastic, I noticed a small omission in the trailer I watched. Let me explain.

At about 45 seconds into the video, multiple world flags appear circling the globe with some text overlayed that says “Driving is for Everyone.” I thought that was cute and chuckled softly to myself. Yes, driving should be for everyone because, personally, I find it fun and convenient for getting across this giant country we live in.

By about 2 and a half minutes in, they start presenting images about live tournaments they’ll be running regularly. I think to myself, “How the hell are they going to manage that?” but I’m sure they’ve figured out some way to automate it so that people can play in these tournaments online and it works fairly seamlessly.

At 3 minutes in, the screen now reads “Open to all ages, anyone can enjoy” but all the faces I see feverishly playing the new game are men. Eight seconds later and I think I’ve spotted ONE woman deep in the background at this tournament event they are showing footage from. Another six seconds go by and I see a crowd of people clapping for the game, not sure if they are fans or journalists but it is fairly clear that they are also ALL men. By 3 minutes and 38 seconds into the video, it is still a sausage fest with a group of male victors celebrating.

By 3 minutes and 50 seconds, I finally see a woman in the foreground and she is congratulating a winner, who is of course male.

Not sure if you followed my drift (see what I did there?!) but what I noticed is that, despite all the inclusionary language, the video footage itself was not incredibly diverse from a gender perspective. And I’m sure, if you asked the creators of this video their intent, they were not intending on specifically leaving us out. They just made a small omission. They just forgot (i.e. our bad!).

While I don’t necessarily believe that anyone is going out of their way to be sexist, I think it is important to acknowledge that unconscious bias is still bias. And, though relatively harmless here in this context, a video like this is a microcosm for a much larger issue.

Some may call that being “sensitive” but I completely disagree. Because by that standard, it would be inappropriate for me to be appalled by the lack of gender diversity across the technology industry. Essentially, we need advocates (both women and men) to push the envelope and stand up and say, “Hey, why aren’t there more women here? Have we made an effort to include people of all genders?” Because, in practice, I know lots of ladies who are into video games and there are certainly a number of car enthusiasts who also happen to be female.