In fact, women over 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (34 %) than boys age 17 or younger (18 %). The % of women has steadily increased, whilst the landscape of video games has significantly changed for the past few years. Why weren’t girls interested in video games before (or why was it believed that girls wouldn’t be interested)? Is there a video game gender? What is the perfect video game for women, if any? In the USA, 40% of all video game players are women .
<ul><li>Traditionally, t h e console games market has been very explicit in their exclusive address to a male audience. </li></ul><ul><li>In the late 80s and early 90s both Nintendo and Sega made it very clear that any attempt to market games to girls would threaten their “real” market – boys and young men. </li></ul><ul><li>Sony’s Playstation, by addressing youth culture in general (boys and girls), broke with this tradition. </li></ul>
Female Characters Didn’t Reflect a Realistic Female Identity for Women to Identify With… Good try, but I’m not a character women want to play Why have female characters always been sexualised? Women want more than a second role! Thankfully, female characters got much better (skilled, powerful, fun to play) in the 2000s… Hell yeah! … and we kick boys' butts
Gender Swapping Occurs With 57% of Gamers… <ul><li>Especially in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMOPRGs) </li></ul><ul><li>Female characters have a better connection in a male-oriented environment… </li></ul>
<ul><li>Playing with a female character has many benefits … </li></ul><ul><li>Male players are generally more willing to guide, teach, and help female avatars and to give them valuable gifts. </li></ul>
<ul><li>verbal harassment , </li></ul><ul><li>flirtation , </li></ul><ul><li>surveillance , </li></ul><ul><li>and... </li></ul><ul><li>endless efforts to determine the player’s real gender and age … </li></ul>But female avatars are also more likely to be targets of…
<ul><li>For a long time male players had more chance of interacting with another man when chatting with a pretty female elf online. </li></ul><ul><li>Thankfully… nowadays, when a player comes across a female avatar in World Of Warcraft, she might actually be a real girl and not a guy pretending to be one. </li></ul><ul><li>45% of WoW players are women. (2008 Blizzard) </li></ul>
<ul><li>In 2006, the birth year of the Nintendo Wii, there was a lot of talk about the relationship between women and video games… </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a connection between women gamers and this new generation console? </li></ul><ul><li>Are women actually looking for a specific type of game? </li></ul>Is there a video game type for women?
The Right Pace… <ul><li>Women don’t have as much time to dedicate to video gaming as men do, therefore they play at a different pace . </li></ul><ul><li>They are more likely to hook up with a game where they can jump in and out without being blocked in long-term objectives or achievements. </li></ul><ul><li>Even Grand Theft Auto, one of the most violent and offensive games, does procure instant fun and entertainment, and therefore is suitable for women’s enjoyment. </li></ul>… for Women to enjoy video games
Women Want to Build Their Own Characters <ul><li>The Sims draws wider audiences through the personalization of characters, which allows the identification process to take place. </li></ul><ul><li>Women place great importance on the customization of characters and on game environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Video games are a way of escaping social pressure. In cyberspace, women can feel free to be how they want – without being criticized or judged. </li></ul>
Is there an ingredient for the perfect “women’s game”? <ul><li>Women want to see "more women making games, and thus, to make more games that women want to play." </li></ul><ul><li>In reality, women are already working in the industry : 60% of The Sims developers are women. </li></ul><ul><li>Sherry Floyd, a game designer at SOE's Seattle studios, comments: "I honestly don't think it's a gender issue, I think it's a marketing issue ." </li></ul><ul><li>There may not be a secret recipe to create a perfect game for women, as there may not be any specific ‘girl game’ type. </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a need for a better way of communicating to this segment of video game consumers. </li></ul>
What are the girl gamers looking for? <ul><li>Despite the slightly wrong start the gaming industry took with women, there are obviously women playing a great role in this market. </li></ul><ul><li>So… </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the girl gamers and what are they after? </li></ul>
Who are they? Research shows that women are more likely to under-report the number of hours they play than men, as if being a video gamer does not fit with being a woman. Men, initially charmed by the idea of women playing video games, would turn hostile upon realizing that a woman was really competing . In the popular subconscious , women playing video games are abnormal : games are for guys .
The statistics put female players in one of two categories casual gamers (brought in by partner or sibling) hardcore gamers OR
In reality, girl gamers are not as monolithic as the statistcs show. Female gamers are deploring the lack of understanding of researchers and therefore the lack of accuracy from the industry. The ability to adapt their gaming time is something the industry should focus on to attract the female segment.
Is there a real offer for the girl gamers out there? <ul><li>Girl gamers are crying out loud for a real segmentation . Women are now a real sub-group of the market: why not consider them as such? </li></ul>More feminine insight within the industry and developer teams More balance of the genres in the new generation of games (I.e Guitar Hero and Rock Band). Better understanding from the Press for the new move of these girl gamers. Although there is still a cultural gap between the reality of the girl gamers and how they are culturally depicted
<ul><li>Girl games are going to be hitting the market soon, it’s just a matter of knowing how to address girl gamers in a serious, no patronizing way. </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks to the corporate effort to integrate women in to development and technical teams, the gaming industry has managed to avoid the catastrophe of a full "shrink it and pink it" strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>However, there is still a gap between the current offer (both products and marketing strategy) and the real landscape of female consumers. </li></ul>
Further Readings <ul><li>Gender Swapping and Socializing in Cyberspace: An Exploratory Study </li></ul><ul><li>Zaheer Hussain, B.Sc., M.Sc. and Mark D. Griffits, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming </li></ul><ul><li>edited by Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun </li></ul><ul><li>The rise of real women by Marissa Miley and Ann Mack </li></ul>
Marion Renoux [email_address] twitter.com/marionren Thanks!