Episode 27

Bonnie Burton, “Xena” Gets Candid About Girls in Gaming and Bungie


In today’s episode, I dive into the game industry with Bonnie Burton to talk about girls in gaming, and what the future holds in the sport for her and other women. At just 12 years old, Bonnie became Major League Gaming’s first professional female gamer and has been featured on Forbes’ 2020 “30 Under 30” list. She is currently pursuing a career in game development and is a producer at Bungie working on the Destiny franchise. Today she shares with listeners her own experiences with gaming, how it’s become an increasingly positive outlet, and career advice on how to get started in the gaming development field. 

Bonnie explains that from the beginning, the gaming world was always welcoming and became a place where she could connect with others who shared her same passions.

We begin today’s episode talking about Bonnie’s start in the gaming world and how her path to becoming a professional gamer began with entering local tournaments with her brothers. While gaming is often stereotyped as a predominately male sport, Bonnie explains that from the beginning, the gaming world was always welcoming and became a place where she could connect with others who shared her same passions.

Ultimately, gaming is about play, which allows it to serve as a tool for learning, growth, creativity, and development.

While Bonnie acknowledges the concerns people sometimes have regarding gaming’s connection to dangerous behaviors, she explains that the sport is about understanding the contexts of a situation and finding balance. Ultimately, gaming is about play, which allows it to serve as a tool for learning, growth, creativity, and development by challenging players and teaching them problem-solving. 

Bonnie describes gaming as a great social outlet where even those who are introverted or have social anxiety can develop social skills.

In addition to the life skills, gaming can help to cultivate, Bonnie also describes it as a great social outlet where even those who are introverted or have social anxiety can develop social skills. We even discuss how gaming’s aptitude for providing community has allowed it to serve as a major way for people to continue connecting with each other even during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bonnie then switches from her role as a gamer to her role as a game developer, sharing the exciting ways the game industry is continuing to evolve. Specifically, she talks about how she predicts more women will continue entering the field and how that will impact both the games that get produced and the field as a whole.  

For those contemplating a career in the gaming industry, Bonnie recommends having a STEM background, as game development largely requires logical thinking skills.

For those contemplating a career in the gaming industry, Bonnie recommends having a STEM background, as game development largely requires logical thinking skills. She shares though that almost everyone in the gaming industry has a different background and that there are many paths into the field. She does advise, however, that it is most important to find a way to make yourself stand out, get experience, and network. 

To learn more about Bonnie’s career advice, her experience as a gamer, and her work at Bungie, be sure to listen in! 

Connect with Bonnie Burton

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