This photo is a plaque from the game FIFA 16. It’s special to me because it was the first year that the game FIFA had women in the game so I chose to be in the title. It was significant to me because, historically, women were not in sports games.
The exception, of course, was NHL which had women in the game back in 2012. I’m super proud of the NHL team for making that happen. That team of superstars, such a small group traditionally, had so many amazing innovations. A browser in the game was another achievement which sparked thought and innovation in other areas of the company.
What is really special about the photo and I didn’t get this right away, is that they chose Alex Morgan, number 13, for the cover photo. It is my favourite number and I have a lot of personal photos from around the site (parking stalls, lockers, etc). I am sure this isn’t why they chose the photo but it’s a happy coincidence I missed when I first saw the plaque.
I see that Microsoft shipped with the photo and in Canada and I am proud of them for that. They replaced with local favourite Christine Sinclair. Another local favourite, Stephanie Catley graces the cover in Australia. I’ve found alternate covers from Microsoft on the internet featuring just men, just mentioning this to reduce the impact to Sony as I did not find any featuring a female in their game covers.
I’d like to think that all my complaining loudly about the disproportionate number of washroom stalls on the Vancouver campus had some impact and made people realize that if you build for an audience you will actualize that audience. More simply put: build more stalls in the woman’s washroom and you’ll hire more women. The truth, however, is that a lot of voices contributed (Tina M comes to mind and others) and it made people realize that women were underrepresented in video games. I am very proud of the people that made that happen and for those reading this, an open challenge to take it further.
The other thing about the plaque is the slogan, “Play Beautiful”. Reading it back in my head gives me tingles. Rolling it around in my head: “Play, Beautiful” or just the thought that play can be beautiful is very powerful to me.
The final thing that resonates for me is I left Electronic Arts in 2016. I am grateful for my time there and am so lucky to have worked with such a talented group of people. I know I often look at this plaque above my workstation at home and think about all the great things they accomplished over the years. I was definitely not in the same league as a lot of those all-stars but I like to think that I had a positive impact as well and left the place better than when I started.
Why am I reflecting on this today?
A few reasons, one is that a recruiter, David FitzGerald, messaged me about opportunities at EA. If you like working in games and like great people please drop him a line. If it turns into a hire I’ve asked David to donate the referral bonus to my son’s school district so please drop me a line if it turns into a hire so I can personally thank you.
Another is a chat I had with a friend from my current company during a [self-organized] team event/ walk up the Grouse Grind in which I blabbed constantly about technology (thanks for putting up with that S). I always felt too busy when those offers to walk up the Grouse Grind came up at EA, sorry friends, I missed out.
The other is recent news of the US team winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the second time in a row. The lead scorers there were Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.
Finally, I have also been watching Google’s entry into the gaming industry, this is a company that has a lot of ex-EA friends (as does my current company, which I am grateful for) and one that I love and respect. I am interested to see how they play in the ecosystem and what is in the future of both companies. I do hope that whatever it is they continue to grow great people and keep making our world a better place through play.
- EA Puts Women on the Cover – https://www.engadget.com/2015/07/20/ea-puts-women-on-the-cover-of-fifa-16-for-the-first-time/
- Striving for excellence – https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/28/fifa-16-to-include-womens-football-for-the-first-time
- Alex Morgan – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Morgan
- Christine Sinclair – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Sinclair
- Megan Rapinoe – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_Rapinoe
- Alex Morgan returning after her team wins the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – https://thespun.com/more/top-stories/alex-morgan-posts-new-message-after-returning-to-united-states
- NHL 2012 brings women into the game – https://kotaku.com/ea-sports-brings-womens-hockey-stars-into-the-game-with-5939066