A Women’s Online Gaming Community That Fosters Inclusivity
How Stream’s Chat and Activity Feeds enables the*gameHERS to build a safe, inclusive space for women in gaming.
Problem: In the male-dominated gaming field, women often feel alienated — especially if they’re subjected to toxic comments. The*gameHERS is a new app that provides a safe space for women and femme-identifying gamers. The app required in-app chat and activity feed functionality to power this niche community and elevate the user experience.
Result: The*gameHERS now has intuitive activity feeds and in-app chat functionality, allowing the app’s 3,000+ users to build relationships and create allies within the gaming industry. Stream’s APIs enable the app to achieve its mission of amplifying the role, voice, image, and power of women and femme-identifying gamers.
According to the nonprofit Women in Games, gaming is still one of the most gender imbalanced creative industries. While nearly half of all gamers are women, just 30% of gaming developers are female. This issue is compounded by allegations of harassment and unequal pay occurring at top gaming companies. Plus, one only needs to remember the vitriolic actors in 2014’s “Gamergate,” which largely aimed to intimidate female gamers, game designers, and gaming journalists, to see the persistent toxicity in gaming.
Entrepreneurs Laura Deutsch, Heather Ouida, Verta Maloney, and Rebecca Dixon recognized the need for a safe, inclusive online environment for women and femme-identifying gamers to gather, communicate, share advice, and stories. Experts in building niche communities for women (their previous startup, Mommybites, was one of the largest social and educational parenting resources for new and expectant moms in the New York area), the co-founders launched the*gameHERS with the mission of amplifying the role, voice, image, and power of women gamers.
“The problem we’re trying to solve with the*gameHERS is creating a space that feels safe and celebratory for women and femme-identifying gamers and women who work in gaming,” says Ouida. “We’ve tried to stick to our mission by creating excellent content, an awards program, and a community-centered app that we launched in 2021.”
Why the*gameHERS Integrated Chat & Feed Functionality
From the beginning, the co-founders knew that the*gameHERS app should center around an activity feed and in-app chat functionality that could connect users based on their interests.
When new app users onboard, they receive prompts to select their gaming interests (such as cosplay, gaming careers, and content creation) and their personal interests (such as wellness, mental health, culinary, and pets). The activity feed then populates relevant content to the app home page, and users can participate in group chats around each topic.
Incorporating interests other than gaming was a conscious decision to help the*gameHERS achieve their mission. “The user interface is very much like Facebook, like a social network platform,” explains Deutsch. “This is the first place that embraces female gamers for their entire being, not just for gaming.”
As a small team, it was always in the app development plan to incorporate an activity feeds and game chat API solution from a third-party provider rather than build it in-house. The*gameHERs co-founders learned about Stream from a consultant whose expertise was in building niche communities, and who had used Stream in the past. After careful evaluation, the*gameHERs integrated the Stream Chat API and the Stream Activity Feeds API.
“The Heart & Soul of Our App”
“Stream’s activity feed and chat functionalities are the heart and soul of our app,” says Ouida. “It’s how our users connect and interact with each other. Choosing Stream was literally one of the most important decisions we made during the app building process.”
Ouida adds that the app’s 3,000+ users find the activity feed and chat functionality to be intuitive and instantly usable. The community’s ambassadors can readily welcome new users to the platform by commenting, liking, and reacting to introductory posts.
“It’s truly been a pleasure using Stream. Our app wouldn’t be as successful as it is without Stream’s activity feeds and chat APIs.”
–Heather Ouida, co-founder, the*gameHERs
What’s Next for the*gameHERS
Now that the*gameHERS app is officially launched — and the necessary communication functionality is integrated – the co-founders can focus their attention on continuing to cultivate an inclusive women’s gaming community. In the future, they plan to launch more initiatives, including events around the country for app members to meet up in person and in-app gaming livestream events.
The co-founders also plan to ramp up their marketing efforts (including influencer marketing and traditional paid advertising) to drive more app downloads and continue to grow their community.
Already, the*gameHERS is noticing that a common theme emerging in posts refers to careers in gaming and streaming. Future app functionality will include tools to propel women and femme-identifying gamers into gaming careers, such as job postings, streamer development, and peer-to-peer mentorship.
Ready to explore how chat and activity feeds can improve your gaming project? Activate your free, 30-day Stream Chat trial.
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