Microsoft's new company reorganization promotes Julie Larson-Green, a 19-year company veteran, to head up Xbox—a position recently left vacant by Don Mattrick—a move that has a lot of gamers very, very upset because she's a woman, who supposedly has no gaming experience. Oh and also, she's hot. When the news hit the social gaming news site N4G, commenters were quick to point out her shortcomings, emphasis noted by "games freak" and journalist Lauren Wainwright.
The type is a bit small, but one of the underlined parts suggests that Larson-Green will create terrible games "dedicated to baking and knitting." Though another calms that person down noting that she's "just another figurehead. Easy on the eyes, too." Over at Gamespot we get a lot more on her physical appearance. "Love to get her in front of the Kinect spycam," "milf," and "JLG > Helen Mirren" are the top three comments. Further down, though, someone counters with: "why cant they get someone hotter... she looks old and wrinkly." This standard gamer talk is all particularly amusing in this situation since, Larson-Green is ultimately in charge of making the sexist gamers' games (i.e. crack), which is kind of like a drug addict disapproving of their female drug dealer because of her gender.
Of course her looks and chromosomal makeup have nothing to do with her ability to lead Xbox, and neither does her vast experience within the company, as chronicled by Wired's Ryan Tate, apparently. Beyond the whole female part of her genetic make-up, the gaming community also won't accept her, both because she has no video game-industry experience and also because she isn't a "gamer." Redditors are up in arms over Larson-Green's new role because she's not One of Them. "Somebody's extensive history and love for the video game industry has a direct relation to how a game console is ultimately developed," writes Redditor SyrioForel.
It's not clear how much Larson-Green does or does not love the gaming industry, however. Assuming she doesn't love video games comes off as sexist, argues Wainwright. (Would people jump to say that about a dude?—Wainwright suggests not.) Someone in Larson-Green's position probably doesn't have as much time for hardcore gaming as people commenting in video game websites. But, it's also not clear how much loving games, or even gaming-specific industry experience matters for success. There are plenty of examples of success and failure in the gaming world from all sorts of figures, as pointed out by one dissenting N4G commenter. "A good example is Peter Moore, before working at Sega and subsequently MS, he actually worked at Reebok."
Plus, having a woman at the helm could have other benefits for the notoriously sexist gaming industry. Maybe some baking and knitting games would make women feel a bit more welcome in a world known for its sexual harassment, rape jokes, and general derision of "fake geek girls."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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