Gender Inclusive Game Design

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  • Gender Inclusive Game Design

    1. 1. Gender Inclusive Game Design What it is and why we need it Sheri Graner Ray ScreenBurn SxSW Interactive Festival March 10, 2006
    2. 2. Sheri Graner Ray <ul><li>Game designer since 1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Author of G ender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market </li></ul><ul><li>Worked with Origin Systems/Electronic Arts, Her Interactive, Sony Online Entertainment, Cartoon Network and more </li></ul><ul><li>Chair and Co-founder of Women in Games International </li></ul><ul><li>Recipient 2005 IGDA's Game Developers' Choice Award for work in gender and games </li></ul><ul><li>Hard Core Gamer (20+ hours/week) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Pink Poison a brief history of the girls’ game movement in the U.S.
    4. 4. 1995
    5. 5. “ Why should we make games for girls?”
    6. 6. 1996
    7. 7. “ How do we make games for girls?”
    8. 8. 1997
    9. 9. 1997-1999
    10. 10. March 1999 Big Pink Buys Purple Moon   Oct 2001 Mattel Sells Interactive Division
    11. 11. “ See? We told you girls don’t play computer games!”
    12. 12. Why did this happen? <ul><li>The industry took an entire market of women and defined it as a genre of “fashion, shopping, and makeup games for girls ages 6-10.” </li></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>Computer game revenues have topped 9.4 billion dollars, outranking Hollywood box office receipts. </li></ul><ul><li>Salon magazine. </li></ul><ul><li>So what’s the problem? </li></ul>
    14. 15. <ul><li>The traditional target market of males ages 15-25 is not growing as fast as the games industry. </li></ul><ul><li>Salon Magazine </li></ul>
    15. 16. <ul><li>Today, females between the ages of 15 and 25 control over 14 billion dollars a year in disposable income. </li></ul><ul><li>- Newsweek Magazine </li></ul>
    16. 17. “Houston, we have a problem”
    17. 21. <ul><li>We can identify and remove the barriers that prevent women from accessing the titles we are making today. </li></ul>What does work?
    18. 22. An example of areas where barriers exist in our games <ul><li>Learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Avatar representation </li></ul>
    19. 23. Warning <ul><li>The following information is based on broad population generalities. It is highly likely you will know of someone that does not fit exactly into these profiles. </li></ul><ul><li>(If you are female and you are in the audience today…then that person will most likely be you!!) </li></ul>
    20. 24. Gender Differences in Learning Styles <ul><li>Males </li></ul><ul><li>Females </li></ul><ul><li>Risk-takers </li></ul><ul><li>Explorative </li></ul><ul><li>Want to know how it works first </li></ul><ul><li>Modeling/Imitative </li></ul>Most of the tutorials in today’s games are designed to appeal to an explorative learning style.
    21. 25. <ul><li>Avatar Av`a*tar&quot;, n. 1. An image representing a user in a virtual reality space. </li></ul>
    22. 26. <ul><li>Because they represent “heroes”, male and female avatars will often exhibit exaggerated physical signals of youth strength, and fertility/virility </li></ul>
    23. 27. Youth, Strength and Fertility/Virility <ul><li>Males </li></ul><ul><li>Large Shoulders </li></ul><ul><li>Slim waists </li></ul><ul><li>Slim hips </li></ul><ul><li>Large thighs and calves </li></ul><ul><li>Long, thick hair </li></ul><ul><li>Females </li></ul><ul><li>Large breasts, placed high on the chest </li></ul><ul><li>Slim waists </li></ul><ul><li>Round derrières </li></ul><ul><li>Long, thick hair </li></ul>
    24. 28. <ul><li>Very often female avatars display exaggerated physical signals of sexual receptivity. </li></ul><ul><li>Male avatars rarely display these signals. </li></ul>
    25. 29. Sexual receptivity <ul><li>Red, full lips </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy lidded eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy breathing (usually indicated by a slightly open mouth) </li></ul><ul><li>Erect nipples </li></ul>
    26. 32. <ul><ul><li>Design tutorials that use imitative models as well as evaporative models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use educational software as models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make your female characters heroic, but do not hypersexualize them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use female athletes as body models </li></ul></ul>Solutions
    27. 34. Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman <ul><li>The game industry isn’t on women’s career radar </li></ul><ul><li>Must recruit in non-traditional areas </li></ul><ul><li>Build today for employees tomorrow </li></ul>
    28. 35. Production Environment <ul><li>Quality of life issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Women have less leisure time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits are very important </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Physical space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it clean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriate facilities </li></ul></ul>
    29. 36. Solutions <ul><li>Understand you will have to recruit women – and get creative in your recruiting </li></ul><ul><li>Address quality of life issues in your office including - but not limited to – over time, benefits, and actual physical space </li></ul>
    30. 38. Traditional channels do not reach female consumers
    31. 39. Traditional box and ad images can actively stop female consumers
    32. 40. Ad messaging can adversely affect not only product but corporate image
    33. 41. <ul><ul><li>“ The Second Best Thing To Do In The Dark” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ad for GBA </li></ul></ul>
    34. 42. Where to start: <ul><li>Adjust tutorials to allow for modeling learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Consider forgiveness for error rather than punishment </li></ul><ul><li>Make female avatars attractive, but not hyper-sexual </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly state you intend your audience to contain females </li></ul><ul><li>Seek out qualified female candidates </li></ul>
    35. 44. “ But what if the player is female?” Sheri Graner Ray ScreenBurn South by Southwest March 10, 2006

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