Mattel announces its plans for 2016’s ‘Career Barbie’, choosing to make the iconic doll a Game Developer as part of their push to bring more variety to the brand.
In an effort to evolve and revitalize the image of the Barbie doll, Mattel has announced plans to release a new career Barbie for 2016. Following in the footsteps of 2015’s Film Director Barbie, this year’s career doll is Game Developer Barbie, designed to get girls interested in the prospect of becoming video game creators.
Game Developer Barbie is rather unique looking amongst former Barbie designs, sporting bright red hair, a pair of glasses, a headset with a microphone, a laptop computer, and donning casual attire. The doll won’t be available until summer of this year, and Mattel hasn’t made it clear yet whether or not there will be any additional accessories included with the doll.
Mattel has done a good job of creating a hip-looking woman, though her equipment and gear could just as easily peg her as a Let’s Player or even a game tester. However, Barbie dolls have never been particularly realistic, and have always put more of an emphasis on getting kids to use their imaginations than anything else. Perhaps the company kept the doll’s accessories a bit open-ended so kids could imagine multiple careers for her.
Though Mattel has rarely approached the subject of video games outside of their own library of Barbie games, this is the latest in the push for more women to be involved in video games. In recent years, women have come to make up a significant part of the video game market, and women are more likely to own consoles than men in the United States. However, there are also far fewer female video game developers than males, with women only making up about a quarter of all game developers currently active in the industry. These statistics have led people like EA’s COO, Peter Moore, to encourage more women to join the field.
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that a Barbie doll is going to determine any young girls’ future careers for them, or single-handedly bolster the amount of female game developers in the future. However, it could serve to alter kids’ perception of women as game developers, making the idea of women developing games simply seem natural, rather than an weird rarity.
Time will tell whether or not the Game Developer Barbie will be a success, but as more young girls play video games, it only makes sense to encourage them to create them, too. With nearly half of all gamers being female today, it’s only reasonable that as the years go by, the number of female game developers may rise, too. Perhaps some of them will look back fondly on their Game Developer Barbie as the first time they considered such a role for themselves.
Game Developer Barbie releases in the summer of 2016.