More women gamers than ever attended E3 this year, and that’s seriously cool

The world of gaming may seem like a boys’ club, which is totally uncool, because women make up a little under half of the world of gamers. Video games are NOT just for men, and we girls can kick some SERIOUS but on (and off!) the console.

That’s why we are SO happy about this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)… specifically in regards to demographics. That’s right: The ladies came in strong this year. The three-day event takes place at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California, and it’s the prime show for gaming on computers, mobile devices, and consoles. Traditionally, it’s been mostly dominated by men. But this year, it was highly-attended by women. YAAAAS.

“I am so happy, because when I was growing up, I got made fun of constantly for being a gamer,” gamer Emily Morrison, pictured below, told NBC News. “Seeing all these ladies here representing. . . that makes me happy.”

48,000 attendees were present this year, including a “never-before-seen volume of female video gamers and creators,” according to NBC News. And more than ever, women executives led the reveals of the major games at this year’s E3. “Women over 40 are faster growing demographic, more than boys under 20,” Rich Taylor, Vice President E3, told NBC News.

“Sometimes, girls feel as if video games aren’t meant for them,” game developer Erica Hampson told NBC News. “Games used to be very sexualized, but it’s been getting a lot better.”

For gaming women like myself, it’s obvious that the gaming world has had a major issue with two-dimensional sexualized characters, and games whose plots rely heavily on male characters. That issue still exists, but it looks like the industry is making a change for the better.

Take Assassin Creed: Syndicate, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Fallout 4, all of which give you the option to play as a female character (an option that should have always been present, but nevertheless, we’re happy about). FIFA ’16 is also introducing women’s teams, while there are some major female protagonists in games such as Dishonoured 2, Beyond Eyes, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. ABOUT TIME. As NBC notes, the change is probably largely attributed to roughly a third of game designers being women.

Of course, anyone with eyes can see that does not end issues with gender representation and over-sexualization in games. After all, it’s only been a year since feminist gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel a lecture due to death threats. However, the increased positive representation of women in games is leading to a more open acceptance, and misogynist trolls are being forced to step to the side.

“I think that women and young girls have a different perception of gaming or even anything in technology or software-related,” Cara Florence, co-founder of all female-owned gaming development and publishing company 3 Queens, told MTV News. “I think the perception is off, and if they could see more and be exposed to these types of events or opportunities and even see other women, like us, who are actually being successful at these types of opportunities, that would really inspire them.”

“Just do it, and be open to collaboration with other women too,” fellow 3 Queens co-founder Nicole Young added. “Don’t be intimidated by the male dominance of this industry.”

For more information on E3, check out NBC’s coverage here.