MEET THE DEVELOPER
A real game changer
Too few women in games? The Sims Mobile’s Pam Iluore is on the case.
The Sims™ Mobile
Play with life.
The Sims Mobile lets you create and manage the lives of curious virtual people. And Pam Iluore makes sure the game accurately represents all of its players — which it hasn’t always done.
“Being one of the few black people and one of the few Filipinos working on the game, this was really important to me,” Iluore says. “I had regular meetings with the lead character artist to talk about trends and how to ensure our representation was authentic. You can see the result of that work in the clothing lines and ethnic hair categories now.”
Iluore’s passion for inclusivity extends beyond the office. She mentors young women through LinkedIn and works with the Berkeley Women in Games Club. In 2018, at the Grace Hopper Celebration — the world’s largest gathering of women in tech – Iluore spoke about how videogames can help reduce the gender gap in tech and related fields.
Being one of the few black people and one of the few Filipinos working on the game, this was really important to me.
“When I started out, I often wanted to talk to someone who was like me, but this was 2006,” Iluore says. “There weren’t a lot of women in videogame development back then. Now we have conversations about gender, we have conversations about colour, accessibility – it’s all on the table. Progress is happening.”
Iluore broke into the industry at age 17, working as a receptionist at a videogame studio in Santa Monica, California. “I didn’t care what I was doing, as long as it was in games,” she says. Nevertheless, she was surprised to find so few women working alongside her.
One woman who did buck the trend was Connie Booth, the VP of product development at Sony, who took Iluore under her wing while working on the launch of the PlayStation 4.
“I grew up playing Crash Bandicoot and when I saw Connie, I geeked out so hard,” Iluore remembers. “Realising that our experiences were the same had a profound impact on me. I was like, ‘Yes, okay, I can do this. And I can help other women to do it too.’”
We have conversations about gender, we have conversations about colour, accessibility – it’s all on the table.
The confidence boost prompted her to move to interactive toy company GoldieBlox, where she worked on GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, an app that challenged gender stereotypes with a young female inventor as its star.
She also became involved in the company’s grassroots efforts, working with organisations like the Girl Scouts and spearheading talks around girls in tech and related fields.
When Electronic Arts approached her with an offer to work in its mobile division in 2017, she saw it as an opportunity to speak directly to female gamers.
“Everyone knows that more women are on mobile than on consoles,” she says. “I wanted to be where my people are at.”
At EA, Iluore found a tight-knit community of strong women and a culture that embraced diversity — so much so that she was able to turn her attention to improving The Sims’ community.
“Stopping toxicity in games is so important,” she says. “Some women are so turned off by toxic behaviour they just won’t touch games again.”
Iluore's here to bring them back — and now she has the platform to do it. “Big companies naturally move slower, but I think we can do more,” she says. “When the industry making the games is diverse and we get a diversity of opinions and ideas, we all benefit.”