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Brief Published: 23 Jul 2014

Gaming’s LGBTQ Future

Dorian, a gay character in BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition

From July 11-13, San Francisco welcomed 2,000 guests to the second GaymerX – an annual convention that addresses the gaming world’s inclusivity problems. It is the only event of its kind that specifically welcomes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, providing a safe space to discuss encouraging the gaming industry to be more inclusive of all gamers.

Although many companies declined to participate to avoid making a political statement, a handful of noteworthy brands supported the dialogue through sponsorship, including Atari, BioWare, Ubisoft, Alienware, 2K Games, League of Legends, Cards Against Humanity, and IndieCade.

David Gaider, lead writer of BioWare’s Dragon Age video-game series, spoke to the crowd about creating Dorian, Gaider’s first gay character, for the series’ third title, Dragon Age: Inquisition, launching in October after three years of development. The first two titles of the Dragon Age franchise sold a combined total of 6.39 million copies.

Another subject of excited discussion was Atari’s announcement in the week leading up to the convention of its forthcoming title Pridefest – a social simulator game for mobile devices that invites players to create and launch their own digital pride parade.

Independent games remain the largest source of LGBTQ storylines and characters. Read Only Memories is a forthcoming title developed by GaymerX’s founders, inspired by the convention’s attendees and panel discussions. Set in 2064 Neo-San Francisco, the cyberpunk adventure game features an ensemble of queer characters from a multitude of backgrounds, and a robot named Turing, on a mission to find their missing friend.

For a more in-depth look at the growing acceptance of LGBTQ themes and culture in gaming, see Gaming in Color – a documentary released on April 22 that includes interviews with GaymerX founders, gaming executives and activists.

For more on how brands are embracing the LGBTQ community, see Adland’s Kaleidoscope Families, LGBT Travel: Market Potential and Barneys’ Transgender Campaign Stars.

Also look out for our coverage of Comic-Con in San Diego, publishing early next month.