Video Game Makers Thinking Too Much About Girls Instead Of Games

from the this-again? dept

It seems like every few months or so there's yet another news article published somewhere complaining that the video game industry doesn't focus enough on women. The latest is from the BBC, quoting someone from EA saying that the industry is "failing women." This is the same story that's been said for years. There was even a well-hyped video game company called Purple Moon during the last boom that was entirely focused on "games for girls" -- and it failed. The problem, it seems, is that every time someone tries to make such games, they focus so much on the "girls" part that they come up with silly, stereotypical ideas for games that emphasize the "girl" part, rather than the gameplay. In the meantime, it appears that there actually are a ton of female gamers -- it's just that they're more likely to be found playing "casual" games, rather than first person shooters. So, perhaps instead of focusing on "games for girls," the industry should stop worrying about it and focus on making good games.


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  1.  
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    Brian, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 8:33pm

    And the cycle repeats...

    Judging from the BBC article, EA is going to repeat the Purple Moon mistake. They're big enough that at least it won't take them out when they flop since they still don't get it. Trying to pigeon-hole "girls" (which is not descriptive of all females by a long shot) into relationship-verbal (actually social-verbal to be technical) games won't give them the sales they want. I've played with female gamers for the last twenty-five years on- and off-line and no two of them have the same interests. You can't even come up with broad categories.

    Yes, social-verbal includes a lot of women and more than a few guys. However you can find more than a few blood-thirsty women out there as well. Heck, my 76 y.o. Mom is always the person chosen first when playing Napoleonic War games, for her expertise with artillery! And you certainly don't want to go against Sis (ex-Army) in any FPS.

    The problem with these marketing-droids is that they want to market to the greatest common denominator in a very messy market (world) that if further fragmenting as the internet time ticks by.

     

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    PM, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 9:05pm

    Other games

    Of course everyone trots out the Sims as a game women love, but they also love to play everything else. I know women who have competed in Quake tournements and also play Bejewled on the side, and perhaps the latest Final Fantasy. A lot of them are playing with Second Life right now.

    All they need to do to sell games to women is make good games, and perhaps tone down the game box art but even then, not all women find it instantly offensive to see some sort of cleavage on the cover. It's a fact of life they've gotten used to seeing, and many are willing to look beyond it at the game.

    But if the game play is not there, all the cover art in the world won't save it. Realistically, 90+% of games are crap. Put some skin on the cover and guys will think that crappy game doesn't seem like such a bad purchase. Girls are not fooled by covers. They know it's crap and they won't won't buy. They are extremely choosy.

    Game companies need to focus on making solid games instead of putting skin covers on bad ones. This is harder work. It may not make as much money. But it good games get everyone playing and the customer wins. Guys too.

     

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  3.  
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    Rickler, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 11:44pm

    Make a Sims 2 expansion with pets and they will have a game girls love.

     

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  4.  
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    CSGuy, Aug 21st, 2006 @ 11:46pm

    Clan Girls

    "they're more likely to be found playing "casual" games, rather than first person shooter

    You are sadly mistaken there Mike. I've seen a lot of female Enemy Territory gamers, plus I've seen a few incredibly hot Enemy Territory girls in clans as well. And it goes well beyond that game. Ever hear of GirlsofCS? Yea, and as many female gamers as there are on Enemy Territory there are a ton more that playing Counter Strike.

    Personally, I couldn't be more thrilled. What's better than a hot girl who plays games like Counter Strike? I bet being pulling off some headshots against your wife would be pretty therapeutic.

    Of course, I'm sure you'd find more girls who play RPGs like the Final Fantasy series and whatnot. Now, considering the amount of girls who played, and the plot line of Final Fantasy X-2 along with the fact that there are quite a few female FPS addicts... I'd say it's about time people just let it go [and they could start making more games like final fantasy ^_^].

     

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  5.  
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    JJ, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 12:43am

    Re: Clan Girls

    > You are sadly mistaken there Mike.

    Which part of "more likely" was confusing? He didn't say that no girls play first persons shooters, just that most women who "game" are likely to be found playing casual games, which the stats support.

    I love anecdotal evidence from one person against actual numbers.

     

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  6.  
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    MrPaladin, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 3:55am

    Doll house...

    I always considered 'The Sims' as a doll house game for girls... I wonder what the numbers are on gender playing that game...

     

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  7.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 5:37am

    There are girl gamers...

    They just aren't as common as guy gamers (and that statement wont be true much longer). I know of only three but neither of them are the girly gamer that most companies try to market to. One is the casual rpg player. I've seen one beat quite a few guys (myself included) in fighting games. And the other loves horror games to the point where she is considering a Silent Hill tattoo.

    Female gamers may not be a huge demographic but even if they were trying to market girlie games to them is not going to work.

     

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  8.  
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    KevinG79, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 5:51am

    Umm...

    Hey I play the Sims 2 and I'm a guy.. I know a lot of other guys that do, too. And no, I'm not gay. God I hate stereotypes.

    Games are games. We all play them. If both sexes end up liking the same thing, cool. What's wrong with that?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 7:36am

    Video Games are for Boys! (Girls have cooties)

     

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  10.  
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    M0rd3r, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 7:52am

    "Girl" games

    If girls want their own games why dont they make them themselves?

    Hmmm.

     

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  11.  
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    Josh, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:23am

    Re: "Girl" games

    I think that's the problem, these companies and the news guys think that girls inherintly need their "own" games. I help run an online gaming community and we have a good percentage of women/girls that play in our servers. As a matter of fact they make some of the best admins I've seen as well. And some of them are pretty damn hot too. I recently made friends with the KOD clan, Kiss of Death, an all girls CS 1.6 and CS source clan. And they are all HOT.

    So yeah sterotypes suck.

     

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  12.  
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    CSGuy, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Clan Girls

    JJ, do you have the actual numbers which shows what girls most likely play? Funny, the article didn't give any statistics... you'd also be hard pressed to find the "numbers" with supporting detail which lead to the conclusion of such statistics.

    The majority of girls will be found playing "casual" games [whatever that's supposed to mean]... but out of that majority how many also play [non-casual?] FPSs? there is no distinction between the "casual" female gamer and this "non-casual" female gamer. it's like trying to generalize and say that any guy who plays FPSs ONLY plays FPSs and any guy who plays RPGs ONLY pays RPGs... as if there is a clear cut line defining the playing habits of gamers.

    In summation, it's absurd to generalize and say that most girls play "casual" games... when such ideas are only a warping of the statistics to fit a theory. Statistics never lie... statisticians do.

     

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  13.  
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    a girl, Sep 5th, 2006 @ 8:15am

    well, I guess there are all types of games nowadays, for all types of people and for girls and boys, everyone can find a game that likes even if it is focused or not in girls, for example, there are girls that like fighting games. I really don't see what the problem is, if you don't want to play a game with girl stuff or something then simply don't play it! There are millions of games! Just find the right ones ¬.¬''. I guess that the creators of the games try to keep a balance between male and female stuff, sometimes they focus on girls, sometimes on boys, that's why there are games like "metal gear solid" and "the sims" xD. In conclusion, play whatever you want!

     

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  14.  
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    a girl, Sep 5th, 2006 @ 8:15am

    well, I guess there are all types of games nowadays, for all types of people and for girls and boys, everyone can find a game that likes even if it is focused or not in girls, for example, there are girls that like fighting games. I really don't see what the problem is, if you don't want to play a game with girl stuff or something then simply don't play it! There are millions of games! Just find the right ones ¬.¬''. I guess that the creators of the games try to keep a balance between male and female stuff, sometimes they focus on girls, sometimes on boys, that's why there are games like "metal gear solid" and "the sims" xD. In conclusion, play whatever you want!

     

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  15.  
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    wewewewewe, Sep 11th, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    sex with u baby boy

    i hate u who made this blog FUCK U ASS WHOLE jocks i think i want to have sex with the person who made this blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  16.  
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    josh, Sep 30th, 2006 @ 10:47pm

    Re: sex with u baby boy

    same her baby girl

     

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  17.  
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    josh, Sep 30th, 2006 @ 10:48pm

    Re: sex with u baby boy

    same her baby girl

     

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  18.  
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    Heather, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 8:56am

    A few observations from a gamer

    Okay, first of all, I'd like to ask why this article was featured in a blog. Mike has a point: Instead of focusing on "stereotypical" girls' games, we should probably focus on making "good" games. But Mike also left his comment horribly underdeveloped and vague, and quite frankly, misleading. Not exactly deep or thought-provoking.

    Mike, why don't you tell us what a "good" game is? It seems as if you think games geared toward women would be inherently "bad" games. Is this because they're stereotypical or because they're not something you'd play yourself?

    Also, why don't you define "casual" gaming? I see a few other people on this board have wondered the same thing. "Casual" has a lot of definitions, and because we're gamers (I would assume mostly gamers are reading this) we can come up with a general idea, but please. If you're going to categorize people, at least understand the categories you are tossing them into.

    Also, why, oh WHY do you cite Purple Moon as a failure? Did you mention the reason they went down was because of ethnic stereotyping and dull gameplay? No? That's right, you just mentioned they were a gaming company geared "towards girls" that "was a failure." Misleading much? Oh, and by the way: You cite Techdirt for the entry that's supposedly "proof" of Purple Moon being a failure. Within that story, I had to click another link to a page that doesn't exist. Frustrating.

    Almost done.
    To the guys who are attempting to be supportive: Thank you, but do you always have to tag on "AND THEY'RE HOT" at the end of your argument? I mean, really, is it relevant if the gamers who happen to be female are physically attractive? Don't you realize this is what pisses most women off anyway, being valued for looks instead of their skills?

    Finally. To the jackass that asked why women don't "make them themselves": Seriously. You must know how many people it takes to make a game. You must understand marketing strategies (at which Purple Moon failed miserably) and the sheer amount of men compared to women in this field. While I understand men have put together companies, realize this is still a a very young, and very male-dominated field; it took the men time to get to where they are today. With the number of female gamers rising, this is a possibility. But they can't just do it overnight.

    That being said, if you read all this, thanks. If you want to talk to me more about it, send me a message on Myspace. Peace.

     

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  19.  
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    4-80-sicks, Oct 31st, 2007 @ 8:43am

    Thank you, but do you always have to tag on "AND THEY'RE HOT" at the end of your argument?

    Thank you very much. As I read down the line I wanted to say the same thing. Looks have nothing to do with playing games and are completely irrelevant in this discussion. And it may sound like a compliment, but the motivating attitude is actually quite harmful.

     

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  20.  
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    Tori, Jan 24th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Girl gamers!(RULE)

    I am a girl who loves playing games but the prob is that im not good at them...so im researching whos really better at videos games boys or girls? It's a tricky question because unlike me my female cousin is the master of the game world. I found an important anser to my research, if your competitive then you are really good at games! SO thats why im not good is because I foucus on having fun more than competing.

     

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  21.  
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    Aryan, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 12:24am

    Hey, it does not matter that gamers are focusing on girls or boys on any other, but it does matter that the game is good or not. This post may be right at some extent but left some very important questions. As currency trading is not possible without currency, so games are not complete without good entertainment.

     

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  22.  
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    tomka, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 1:11am

    re

    My favorite megaupload search engine is megauploadfiles.com it’s the most powerful an easy to use. megauploadfiles.com has incredible speed of searching rapidshare links in the internet.

     

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