Sep 27, 2007

[More Thoughts on 'What Girl Gamers Want']

Alec from Castle in the Air hits the nail on the head about this ridiculous 'What do women want from their games?' debate:
"Here’s the main reason the question of “what women want” is stupid: We all want exactly the same thing from our games. Oh, some of us may prefer puzzles, others strategic board games, and still others vicious PVP, but what we really want is fulfilling entertainment.

In games with a narrative (most video and tabletop roleplaying games, for instance), this means that we want to be heroes—reluctant heroes, action heroes, and antiheroes, perhaps, but heroes nonetheless. On the more abstract, gamey side, we all want to be challenged, usually progressively, but not overwhelmed.

Do some women want the chance to decorate their avatars in MMOs in greater detail? I can assure you that an equal percentage of men want exactly the same thing. Do some adolescent men like to drool over cheesecakes in chainmail bikinis in their game books? Well, plenty of men are turned off by such illustrations, too.

In the end, the reason fewer women than men are attracted to all genres of gaming has everything to do with culture and almost nothing to do with “what they really want.” Almost all video and roleplaying games fail with women not because women don’t want to play such games, not because the games haven’t been successfully targeted to women, but because the games have been targeted at the hard core of a niche market. Most developers still market to the passionate minority. As soon as they start developing for people, not for “Men aged 18 to 35″ or “Women with $50,000 median income,” they’ll really start seeing a profit."
EXACTLY. Women gamers are not aliens, it's not gaming itself that discourages them from taking an interest in games, its the atmosphere of the marketing and community. The gaming industry itself needs to grow up and act like mature adults, and then they'll have better luck breaking into larger demographics.
The Wii isn't taking the industry by storm by accident.

3 comments:

Alec Bings said...

Hey there. Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog and putting up this post. Of course, it's nice to see that you and I agree, but I'm especially grateful for the two links in your post. There's so much game news, and I hadn't stumbled on those two articles, both great reads.

--Alec

Pai said...

I'm glad you found them interesting!

I tend to be a compulsive linker-to-pages-that-illustrate my topic. Sometimes a bit too much so. =P

Bianca Reagan said...

I played more than enough rounds of DDR in an arcade last night. I would play it every day if I could shell out the money to buy my own console, foot pad, and games.