Girls Make Games, the all-girls game development summer camp, is in its fourth year and still going strong. Now they’ve got a new sponsor, Sony PlayStation, and a super-sized, three-week camp in California.
In a press release, Girls Make Games announced its newest camp would take place at Sony Interactive Entertainment’s San Mateo offices July 10-28. Middle and high school-aged girls will learn how to design, program and publish their own video games. By the end of the camp, they’ll have created fully functional games with the help of local game studios and other industry pros at Sony.
“Numerous reports have shed light on the growing number of female gamers, but less than 15 percent of the games industry workforce is women,” said Laila Shabir, founder and chief executive officer of Girls Make Games. “We’re thrilled about working with PlayStation to encourage and empower more young women to learn about and pursue careers in technology and game development.”
Sony is also providing scholarships for qualified applicants, and helping match them with female mentors from across its organization.
Girls Make Games was founded in 2014 when Shabir’s company, Learn District, was in the middle of making an educational video game about vocabulary. Shabir wanted to hire a developer to begin working on the team's next title.
"I really wanted it to be a girl," Shabir told Polygon, "because currently the industry is something like 80/20 [men to women]. We spent months trying to find that person and it was impossible."
Bigger tech companies in Silicon Valley were hungry for talented women, said Shabir, so she idly tweeted out the idea of starting a summer camp for girls to learn game development. Before long, Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine, was championing the idea.
Since then, Girls Make Games has grown into a worldwide series of events — including summer camps, workshops and game jams — and been hosted in more than 38 cities around the globe. You can hear more about Shabir, an immigrant to the United States from the Middle East and a graduate of MIT, in our Backstory podcast from last year.