Girlgames 15years

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First 15 years of GirlGames in a nutshell.

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Girlgames 15years

  1. 1. Sonja.Kangas@souplala.net March 2009
  2. 2.  I have collected girlgames as well as done research on girl games. I have run girls game clubs and developed two online multiplayer games for girls.  Even though girl games have pretty long history already, companies and researchers seem to be stuck with same problems: What type of games girls like to play? How girls play games? How can we attract new players?  I have sum up the last 15 years of girl games from my perspective. These comments are based on research and my findings in the development.  This slide set is based on ”The first 15 years of GirlGames” article draft. It is NOT an academic paper / research as such but talking about my own experiences and memories along the way (since 1994).
  3. 3. “Male character #359812: Are you a real girl? Me: Yes. Male character #359812: Need help?” [Didi Cardoso, grrlgamer.com, 2007]
  4. 4. 1995 2000 2005 Multimedia Casual online Console and PC Technical Development Free Pink & Social games Casual Trends in Girly MMO games GirlGames
  5. 5.  The term “girl games” was coined in the mid of 1990s. The real kick off took place in 1996 when Barbie Fashion Designer hit the markets. That was the time when multimedia PC’s were becoming everyday tools and CD-ROMs were still enjoying relative success and high hopes.
  6. 6. 1. Barbie Fashion Designer released (1996) 2. Mobile and Internet more common (~1999) 3. Games sold in supermarkets instead of computer shops 4. The Sims released (2000) 5. Nintendo Wii (2006)
  7. 7. “In its first two months of sales, Mattel's digital incarnation of the soft-denigrated but remarkably enduring role model sold more than 500,000 copies, outstripping even popular titles such as Quake - and leaving the rest of the industry wondering how to cash in on this newfound wellspring.” [G. Beato Wired Magazine 1997]
  8. 8.  Barbie boosted girl games’ development  Wired! Columnist G. Beato estimated there were over 200 girl game titles coming out in 1997  At the end of the century many leading girlgame companies (e.g. GirlGames Inc., Purple Moon) had disappeared, changed their course or been bought
  9. 9.  Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer were improving their search engines but too often a search term “girl + game” returned just screen full of porn sites. Girl gamers tried to promote grrlgames term instead of girl game but these two terms remained parallel for a long time. Later the terms diluted when more girls were getting into gaming. Developers discussed if “girl games” would be an opposite of “normal games”. One reason for the fade down of these terms was an attempt not to further dualities anymore.
  10. 10.  “Game Developers Conference has sessions focused on women gamers. This year, when a staffer pinned a quot;session fullquot; sign outside the final panel on quot;What Do Female Game Players Really Want?quot; a riot nearly roke out. The trouble started with a Microsoft man proclaiming, loudly, that he was being denied access to the only session that mattered -- the only session geared at opening up a new market. Then the 30 or so shut-outs stormed the conference room”.  “The moderator wrote on the white board: quot;Female players want games that are social, games without gratuitous human violence, games that make them feel.quot; The vets skewered her maxims as offensively neat. A oman in the back corner raised her hand. quot;Excuse me, but I'm a woman and I'm antisocial.quot;  [Elizabeth Weil, Salon Magazine 1997]
  11. 11.  The Sims was put out in 2000 which again stimulated the discussion on girls & games  Online communities (Habbo, Neopets etc.) were starting to gain popularity. Companies noted that ~50% of the ”gamers” were girls!  Also casual browser games like Zuma and Bejeweled started to become popular  It became evident that the color (pink) or nonviolent friendship adventures were not necessarily part of the recipe for success
  12. 12.  In the beginning of 2000 the girls were also gaining more visibility as active, skilled gamers. Girl teams were put up.  Some of the most well known ones are PMS Clan and Ubisoft’s Frag Dolls.
  13. 13.  ESA and market study companies claimed that ~50% of online gamers were women of their 40s and 50s! A couple of year ago girls – more precisely teenagers– represented some 5-15% of the gamers but suddenly adult women were into games?  Even if that was not the case those percentages and sales expectations were remarkable enough to put up the hype once again.
  14. 14.  Lately the development have normalized somewhat  DS has become very popular gaming device (100 million units sold worldwide), Wii has seriously shaken the stereotypic ideas of girl games or game genres and MMOs are huge  MMOs have introduced ”relationship gaming” where partners play together games like WoW  Also Facebook gaming have radically changed the role of gaming (interactive entertainment) in social networking and/or online services
  15. 15. “Secondary household gamer is populated with more female gamers – 37.2% of all secondary gamers are female! 41.7% of secondary GameCube users 43% of secondary PS2 users.” [Schelley Olhava GDC05]
  16. 16.  The third wave of girl games more or less blended into the development of digital gaming. Social games, casual games, advergames, online games, mobile games and Facebook games were all parallel trends switching the focus from one user group – girls – into bigger change in gaming as a whole.  Shigeru Miayamoto talked about Wife-o-meter at GDC07. He said that he tends to test new game ideas with his wife. Whereas DS-game Nintendogs bounded off the pointer of Wife-o-meter, Wii games made the Wife-o-meter to turn to maximum. Then he knew he was on the right track.
  17. 17.  Casual MMOs for more specific target groups  Social networking services becoming more playful  Games involve more social networking  Wireless / handheld devices (iPhone, DS etc.) used in gaming
  18. 18. Dating sims, The Sims StarDoll GoSuperModel Simulations Casual Virtual Dress up MMOs Ad games worlds games Interactive storytelling Barbie Horse Branded stable content Buzz, SceneIt! SingStar, Lips Nintendogs Virtual Social Performance MaraPets pets games games Online Party Girl games games games Rockett’s Adventures, Nancy Drew Pc multimedia
  19. 19. Draft! First 15th years of girlgames http://souplala.net/show/girlgames_first15years.pdf Making sense of casual MMOs http://souplala.net/show/girlgames_first15years.pdf Girl Games and MMOs for girls http://www.slideshare.net/soppa/girlgames-and- presentation

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