International Women's Game Conference to Take Place September 9-10 in Austin, Texas

AUSTIN, Texas - The Game Initiative announced today the Women’s Game Conference (WGC), a new conference focusing on women in the computer and video game industry, will take place September 9-10, 2004 in Austin, Texas. The conference will focus on a variety of women’s topics in the computer and video game industry including examining career paths for women in the industry and issues related to working in the industry as women as well as how women are portrayed in games and women and girls as consumers of games.

The Women’s Game Conference also announced a Steering Committee comprised of leading women in the game industry, representing leading game hardware manufacturers, developers, publishers and educators, who are guiding the creation of a powerful and influential WGC program. The conference is open to anyone interested in the game industry, including existing professionals, industry executives and persons interested in getting into the game business. The conference web site is

The WGC 2004 Steering Committee includes:

• Ellen Guon Beeman, Live Team Producer, The Matrix Online, Monolith Productions
• Mia Consalvo, Assistant Professor in the School of Telecommunications, Ohio University
• Laura Fryer, Director, Advanced Technology Group, Microsoft Corporation
• Sheri Graner Ray, Senior Game Designer, Sony Online Entertainment (Committee Chairperson)
• Kathy Schoback, Vice President of Content Strategy, Infinium Labs

Biographies for committee members are provided below.

“This comprehensive program is a positive step forward for the industry and could not have taken place several years ago,” said Sheri Ray, Women’s Game Conference Steering Committee chairperson. “Conference participants will be able to discuss the industry and focus on the evolution of the business going forward. Participants will identify trends and discuss how to continue to expand the industry.”

Attendees will hear from industry leaders and have the opportunity to network extensively at the WSC. The casual nature of this event allows attendees an unprecedented opportunity to gain valuable contacts and explore new ways to expand the business and create a thriving work environment.

The conference is $125 for professionals and $85 for students if they register in advance online (a $50 savings). Onsite registration prices are $175 for professionals and $135 for students. The Women’s Game Conference is held concurrently with the Austin Game Conference, the definitive conference on multiplayer online game development. Registration to one conference gains full access to both conferences.

“The Women’s Game Conference fits with The Game Initiative’s mission to serve as a leader in assisting in the growth of the computer and video game industry by serving the needs of the people in the business,” said Christopher Sherman, Executive Director of the Game Initiative.

Women’s Game Conference Steering Committee Members

Ellen Guon Beeman
Live Team Producer, The Matrix Online
Monolith Productions
Ellen Guon Beeman has worked as a designer, writer, and producer of computer and videogames since 1989, for companies including Microsoft, Disney, Electronic Arts, Sega, and others. She is currently the Live Team producer for The Matrix Online at Monolith Productions.

Mia Consalvo
Assistant Professor in the School of Telecommunications
Ohio University
Mia Consalvo is an assistant professor in the School of Telecommunications at Ohio University. Her research focuses on digital games--including game players and the game industry. Her research has been published in the anthology The Video Game Theory Reader; journals including Television & New Media; Feminist Media Studies; and the Journal of Communication Inquiry. She is currently doing research on women gamers, and is writing a book about cheating and how it has affected the game industry and players perceptions of how to play games.

Laura Fryer
Director, Advanced Technology Group
Microsoft Corp.
As Director of the Xbox® Advanced Technology Group (ATG) Laura Fryer is responsible for making Xbox the ultimate platform for game developers. ATG's services to the worldwide video games industry include proactive support for programmers, content creators and content services; as well as helping game designers, producers, artists, musicians and sound designers realize their creative visions.

Fryer joined the Xbox team in May 2000, becoming responsible for much of the day-to-day management at ATG. During the Xbox project, she cultivated worldwide Xbox Developer Support, created the Xbox Advisory Board, and ran Xbox game developer events (a.k.a. Xfests) around the globe. In 1995, Fryer became one of the first members of Microsoft Games Studios (MGS). During her tenure, she was the leading producer in MGS shipping six games in five years. Her best-known titles are Crimson Skies, Fighter Ace, and Pinball Arcade. As one of the founders of MSN, Fryer is an expert on Internet and multiplayer gaming. Besides conceiving and producing the first Microsoft release for, she also produced Fighter Ace 1.0, Microsoft’s first massively multiplayer game.

As one of the founders of the annual “Women in Gaming” sessions at the Game Developers Conference in 2000, Fryer is dedicated to fostering the role of women in the video game industry.

An avid gamer, Fryer enjoys taking "video game vacations" to play video games in marathon all-day sessions. Her other hobbies include playing the guitar and violin, drawing, juggling and reading.

Sheri Graner Ray
Senior Game Designer
Sony Online Entertainment
(Steering Committee Chairperson)
Sheri Graner Ray is Sr. Game Designer with Sony Online Entertainment and author of the book, "Gender Inclusive Game Design-Expanding the Market." She has served as the co-chair for the Women in Game Development SIG of the IGDA for 4 years and has been a spokesperson for the female game player for many years. Before coming to Sony, she served as President of her own studio, Sirenia Software, and before that as Director of Product Development for Her Interactive, where she began her research into females and computer games. She has also worked for Origin Systems as a writer and designer on the Ultima PC series.

Kathy Schoback
Vice President of Content Strategy
Infinium Labs
As the content strategist for the Phantom gaming service, Kathy Schoback oversees relationships with game publishers and developers worldwide, including title selection, prioritization, negotiations and lifecycle management. She has spent previous lifetimes at Eidos and Sega, as well as at the Game Developers Conference as part of the show management team. In addition to serving as IGDA chairperson, Kathy is also co-chair of the IGDA Business Committee.

About The Game Initiative

The Game Initiative is chartered with the growth of the computer and video game industry by serving the needs of companies and people involved in producing interactive entertainment software and hardware for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers and the Internet. The Game Initiative assists in growing the game industry through events, public awareness, information and supporting programs. Game Initiative events include the Austin Game Conference, the Women’s Game Conference and the How to Break into the Game Industry national conference and resume workshop series. More information about the Game Initiative can be found at

For more information:

Steve Farrer


Commenting will be coming soon. In the meantime, feel free to create a discussion topic on the forums.