The head designer of Magic: The Gathering has criticised players in the community for focusing too much on whether or not Wizards’ statistics on the amount of women playing the game are correct, saying this “is pulling focus from the actual issue”.
Writing on his blog, Mark Rosewater commented that “Some people are questioning the statistic I’ve used about how many Magic players are female […] I sense it won’t go away until addressed.”
“It’s important for our business to understand who our audience is, so from time to time, we do what is called a ‘deep dive’ where we seek out an outside expert to gather global data about who exactly our audience is. As part of the most recent ‘deep dive’ survey, the question was asked ‘Do you play Magic?’ defined as playing with physical paper cards, in any place or format, or digitally through Magic Online or Magic Duels. Of all the people who answered ‘yes’ to that question, 38% were female.”
“With that out of the way, let’s please turn our attention back to the actual topic of discussion: the number of female players is up (and I believe everyone in this debate acknowledges this), yet is not represented at equal numbers in organized play. Why is this? Please share your experiences.”
Response from the community has largely been positive, but a lot of sentiment unfortunately mirrors my own experiences in similar statistics on the video game community: players demanding to know more on who these women are, whether they play online or in person, how many hours a week they play, and suggesting that perhaps they should be entitled to have more information on exactly how this data was acquired in the first place. Here, for example, is a Reddit thread where all of the above opinions can be located.
We’d like to throw our official support behind Rosewater and the team’s drive to increase the number of women playing competitive MTG — if for no other reason than to make those people who spout garbage like “men are just naturally more competitive than women!” shut up forever.
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