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In honor of Women's Day: the women of the Israeli gaming industry - voila! The gaming channel


About the stigmas, the way to move forward and whether there really are differences between men and women. We caught up with three key women in the Israeli gaming industry

The international and Israeli gaming industry in particular is seen as a "masculine" industry, when there are more male managers and professional gamers than women.

In recent years, the industry has experienced a female boom, which is an increase of tens of percent in girls who become professional gamers over the years and even fulfill a dream and also enter high-tech in the most stable and boiling field even in moments of crisis.

On the occasion of International Women's Day, which will fall on Wednesday, we talked to three senior figures in the industry from academia to high-tech and heard from them about how to get into the field, the first job, the boom of the industry, and we also collected some tips for the beginning gamer.

Watch the special docu for Women's Day of the Gaming Channel

Sophia Cohen, Head of User Acquisition at the gaming company Overwolf

Sophia Cohen (Photo: Oberwolf)

How did you get into the field?

I've been playing on the computer since I can remember.

I started working in the gaming field even before I came from France, I worked there as a community manager of an RPG game for a local company.

Not long after immigrating to Israel, I came to work at Overwolf in a similar role.

And today, about 6 and a half years later, I manage my own team and am actually responsible for the entire User Acquisition field of the company.

The field of gaming has been booming in recent years, do you also see an increase in the number of women coming to work in the field?


When I started working at Overwolf, it was still a small startup and I was one of the few women in the company.

But today, we are already a company of 150 employees, and there is a very clear increase in the number of women here.

It hasn't felt like a "boy gamer's company" for a long time.

I see this specific change here in our company, but at the same time I feel that there is a trend of gradual change in the gaming industry as a whole.

Do you think there is a difference between female gamers/creators and gamers/creators in the field?

In my experience, there is no substantial difference today.

Many female gamers play games that may have previously been identified with a "male" gamer audience - shooting games, sports, action, etc.

Even in terms of the games themselves for which the content is created - there is no difference - both male and female creators build apps and mods more or less for those games, depending on what interests them, according to their personal taste.

The differences stem more from personality, creative directions and personal preferences - less from gender.

In order to work in the field do you have to be a "freak" of games?

Like working in many fields, if there is a real passion for what one does - it is evident, and it can help a lot.

Mainly in the field of gaming.

There are also certain positions specifically in this field, where it is necessary.

At the same time, there are certain positions in which it is not necessary to be a "hardcore gamer", but a certain understanding and connection to the world of this content is sufficient.

In short, what do you expect to happen in the field in the coming year?

We see a trend where more and more companies in the gaming world enrich their games with UGC.

That is, content created by users (User Generated Content), such as mods. I believe that we will see a continuation of this trend, and that UGC will become an integral part of this world. My assessment is that the numbers will only continue to grow - in leading titles on PC, in titles intended for game consoles, and even in such titles that are suitable for all platforms.

The first thing I would suggest to do is learn who the prominent people in the field are, get to know them and start a dialogue with them.

You can enter groups on social media and forums, you can go to conferences and even all kinds of gaming hackathons.

Beyond that, in general - you should stay as updated as possible on what is happening in the field and get to know the hot trends - games, new technologies, etc.

Early familiarity with the industry and a strong connection to the world of this content can greatly help to enter the field.

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Yael Ruskis, coordinator of the School of Design and Development of Computer Games at Telitan College of Design and Visual Communication and a production lecturer in the track

Yael Ruskis (Photo: Trelatan)

How did you get into the field?

I have always loved playing games of all kinds.

When I worked as an occupational therapist, they started using tablets as communication boards with children with special needs, and I quickly realized the potential of using computer games in special populations, and went to study game design and development at Beit Berel.

After that I worked in several companies that develop digital games for children in the areas of thinking skills and learning English and mathematics as a game designer, producer and in charge of the digital department.

The field of gaming has been booming in recent years, do you also see an increase in the number of women coming to work in the field?

Yes, mainly I see an increase in children and girls who understand that computer games are not a male domain only and that they have a place in it as players and workers, I hope that the more female players there are, the more the number of workers in the industry will increase.

Do you think there is a difference between female gamers/creators and gamers/creators in the field?

Certainly there is a difference, feminism today knows how to strive not only for equality, but for equality of opportunity, while understanding that there are differences between the sexes and we need to give them space and use the strengths that women and men have instead of striving for everyone to be the same.

As a production lecturer and supervisor of mid-term and final projects at Telitan, I see it mainly in the qualities that women bring to teamwork.

There are almost always additional qualities that exist in groups that have women in some position on the team, whether game designer, artist or producer.

There are other qualities of inclusive communication and work, which, speaking in general terms, women bring with them and are lacking or different when they are not part of a group.

Beyond the study framework, unfortunately I think that a lot still needs to change in the corporate culture in the gaming industry to accommodate women, especially working hours that will allow a balance between family life and career.

Such a change will of course also benefit men in the industry and reduce the great attrition we see in the profession.

In order to work in the field do you have to be a "freak" of games?

Happily, the definition of gamer/gamers is expanding.

I think you need a great passion for the field and for creating gaming experiences, you don't have to have triple A players and consoles to find our place in the field.

Mainly you have to come to the field with a great curiosity about the experience of the actress and a desire to create experiences that will reach women.

What do you expect to happen in the field in the coming year?

I think the world is moving towards a situation where most of the population will play computer games.

Today, most teenagers play games and they will continue to do so even when they become adults.

It will be less and less rare to see parents playing with their children and not only as a means of keeping the children busy but as a legitimate way of spending time together, enriching and nurturing the relationship.

The games enter more and more into the popular mainstream culture and become an integral part of learning and leisure processes.

I hope to see more female creators who know how to make these connections correctly.

To bring added value to both recreational and educational games and enrich both fields.

In addition, I believe that virtual or augmented reality experiences will occupy more and more space in our lives as technology develops.

The human brain is built to learn while playing and the wear and tear of reality can produce rich gaming experiences.

As far as the industry in Israel is concerned, I hope to see it grow and develop, especially in areas other than the center of the country.

I hope that as many students finish their studies in the north, businesses will be established and a Haifa ecosystem of game companies and companies that provide services to game companies will be created.

What is your tip/advice for women who are interested in entering the field?

The more I teach male and female students, I believe that entering the field of games (and other fields as well) depends on development on three levels - the technical/professional level, the level of communication skills/personal soft skills, and the level of creating connections and opportunities.

My recommendation for women as for anyone who wants to enter the field is to develop the three levels at the same time.

I see many students who put a lot of effort into technical study of development or art but have great difficulty working in teams.

Female students who do wonderful work and don't post it on social media.

You need a combination of the three fields to become a professional woman in the field and in all three you can grow and develop.

A specific recommendation for women is not to forget that your specific skills of being a woman who better understands the gaming experience of women is an important resource.

Use what sets you apart to differentiate yourself.

There will be a place that is looking for exactly the specific qualities that you have.

Vared Panoli, head of the master's degree in design and development of digital games at Shankar, College of Engineering, Design and Art

Vared Panoli (photo: Omri Maron)

How did you get into the field?

In 2002 I started studying for a master's degree in design management in England.

I was looking for an interesting topic for research and discovered that at the time the gaming industry was consistently missing the female target audience.

My research progressed to a Ph.D.

I worked in the industry as a consultant and designer and at the same time I opened a unique and initial program in Israel to train students for the game industry.

Today I am the head of a center that includes certificate studies, a master's degree and a wide variety of research programs and specializations in computer games.

The field of gaming has been booming in recent years, do you also see an increase in the number of women coming to work in the field?

Yes, of course.

Female students who come to Shankar today have already grown up with computer games, they have childhood memories of games they loved and great ambitions to succeed in the field.

After school, I meet them in key positions in many places in the field.

And not just only female students - more and more enterprising women enter the gaming industry and promote it.

Do you think there is a difference between female gamers/creators and gamers/creators in the field?

In my experience and as a rough generalization (and with exceptions), female gamers are more focused on the game's story, plot and connection to the characters.

Among women creators in the field, I detect a lot of desire to innovate - to bring a new angle to the game, whether it's technological or narrative.

In order to work in the field do you have to be a "freak" of games?



Even those who did not play computer games as a child must start playing games and understand closely what makes a game addictive - one that takes over your whole world.

What do you expect to happen in the field in the coming year?

Many technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality are changing the face of the industry, and I foresee a great boom in the amount and wealth of games that will be created with the help of artificial intelligence.

At the same time we will see more and more virtual/augmented reality games in the Pokemon Go style.

In Israel, we will see more games that reflect our culture, what it is to be Israeli.

What is your tip/advice for women interested in entering the field?

First of all, in order to enter the field, the best way is to become a professional - it is advisable to learn both to program and to design because there is a great advantage for employees who have professional knowledge.

In the next step, you should build an impressive portfolio, attend conferences and meetings, present yourself and not give up.

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Source: walla

All news articles on 2023-03-08

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