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Games Entertainment

Game Makers Aren't Chasing Women 154

Posted by simoniker
from the but-they-are-benny-hill-style dept.
Thanks to Wired News for their article discussing what videogames women are playing, and whether the mainstream games industry is serving them well. According to the piece, "Observers say the industry isn't exactly rushing to make PC and console games that appeal to both men and women, let alone women alone. That's despite the massive success of games with crossover appeal, such as The Sims." However, a researcher on the subject suggests being too calculating doesn't work either: "Making games in which you get women to do 'women things' isn't a very successful strategy." So what does?
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Game Makers Aren't Chasing Women

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  • Lara Croft (Score:3, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @11:32AM (#6443087)
    The game makers aren't chasing women. They're designing them instead.
  • Problem for ya. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgroarty (633843) <brian,mcgroarty&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @11:40AM (#6443177) Homepage
    There aren't many women making games. It's not because it's some kind of a boy's club... women just aren't applying to these positions. So riddle me this... what guy wants to work on Barbie Hair Stylist 2004, Nurture the Bad Boy 3D, or My Non-Violent Pet Friend Super Tea Party?

    "McGroarty, these are terrible examples of girl games. You haven't a clue what women want to play."

    And that's my second point: As a guy, I haven't a clue. If you want to see more girl games, get more women into making games.

    • Re:Problem for ya. (Score:4, Informative)

      by brejc8 (223089) * on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @11:55AM (#6443338) Homepage Journal
      There was an interview with the guy who invented pacman. It was made for girls and the guy was sitting in a fast food place eating pizza wondering what girls like to do. And the only thing he could think of was eating.

      I think we are trying to solve the problem of "How can we get girls intrested in computers?" while its probably as silly as trying to solve the problem of "How can we get boys intrested in playing with dolls?"

      • Re:Problem for ya. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:09PM (#6443481) Homepage
        I think we are trying to solve the problem of "How can we get girls intrested in computers?" while its probably as silly as trying to solve the problem of "How can we get boys intrested in playing with dolls?"

        There's a problem with getting boys interested in dolls?

        Boys play with dolls all the time. They're called "action figures".

        (My point: We can "get girls interested in computers" by giving them computers that they'd be interested in using. Easy? Not necessarily, but we could gain a lot of insight with a spot of good ol' market research.)

        • (My point: We can "get girls interested in computers" by giving them computers that they'd be interested in using. Easy? Not necessarily, but we could gain a lot of insight with a spot of good ol' market research.)

          Since word play is all that matters (dolls vs. action figures), why not just call computers "supportive home economics facilitators" and paint 'em purple? The branding is automatic: S.H.E.F.

          What woman wouldn't what that in their kitchen? Put Mahjonng or Tetris on the start menu, and you've go
        • I think you make an excellent point in that more games need to be noob-accessible for more girls to get into gaming. However, I think a better way to put it is making them more intuitive.

          For example, most every FPS game I play comes with a new way to do everything, aside from the 'WASD' controls. I still take a while to learn thess controls, read the manuals, etc. This makes the initial experience way too frustrating for some, especially those less inclined to pore over manuals, etc.

          Now take the classic

      • "How can we get boys intrested in playing with dolls?"

        They're not dolls, they're *action figures*, and... Oh, wait you were being rhetorical.
    • Re:Problem for ya. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pxtl (151020) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:12PM (#6443501) Homepage
      The best girl games are guy games that are just not deliberately designed to be ugly and hardcore. My fiancee loves UT, but can't stand other FPS games. Why? Because all the other FPS games are characterized by a certian "heavy-metal-ness" about them. Quake 3 is all hyper-frantic and cathedrals and blood, Quake 2 is all about grit, Quake 1 is friggin' lovecraft, Doom is cheeze horror, etc. UT has fully-clad female player models (there's a good start), non-ugly characters, easy gameplay, etc. Keep this in mind - if you're into getting girl gamers into a game that weren't playing before, then by definition they're all n00bs. Make the game n00b-conducive.

      My SO isn't unique - most other girls who dabble in video games (they all like Mario Kart) have fallen in love with UT. Yes, its bloody and violent, but not gratuitously so, and its shiny, polished, and fun.

      UT2k3 loses that - its more hardcore (harder gameplay, grittier graphics, and more "heavy metal" player models).

      Basically, I think you only really need two things to get girl gamers into male-style games: first, don't make things ugly - make them stylish, a little cute, and personable. Second, make the game n00b-friendly. WarCraft III is too complex. Maybe if you had a game with Dune II's simplicity and WCIII's stylish characters (and less of all that glowy shit) then you could get girls playing it. And yes, even girls like the "HEAD SHOT" announcer in UT.

      The big thing, I think, is that games must be social - either playing with other humans (UT, Mario Kart) or with fictional characters in the game (like the Sims). And not obsessive - most girls prefer to be "casual" gamers. The Sims is a very gradual addiction. You have to slowly take over their lives, not just try and snap it up all at once. They will _not_ put in the time to learn the game, to put up with stupid, overcomplex design. They expect to be able to jump in including the social (multiplayer) part of the game. Yes, you can let them get their asses kicked in the multiplayer part - the point is that they have to at least know what's going on first off.

      And for another game to use as a reference: all girls I've introduced to games love Mario Kart 64, Dance games, The Sims, Abuse. Use that for basis.

      Personally, I think a good game that girls might like would be if someone made a simple multiplayer FPS based on BubbleGum Crisis.

      Basically, the theme is this: they won't put up with shit. If the game is too hard, they'll leave. If they don't know how to play, they'll leave. If they think its "ugly" they'll leave. They will give it one fair shot. Design around that one fair shot, but keep in mind that, for them to tell their friends, you have to hold their interest long enough for them to become a fan. This is why puzzle games are so popular with girls - they tend to be good for jump-in-and-play mentality (my girl swears by Puzzle Bobble) but with gameplay that will stand the test of time.

      Oh, and if they're the type of girl who likes to squeeze they're boyfriend while they watch a horror movie, consider getting them a trap-oriented game. Something that really startles you. Crack-dot-com's "Abuse" is excellent for that effect (plus having dead-easy controls).
      • Animal Crossing.
      • Quake 3 is all hyper-frantic and cathedrals and blood

        Of the 40 or so members of my quake3 clan, fully
        1/4 of the members are women. There are a lot of
        women playing Quake3 arena. They seem to gravitate
        towards CTF and railsonly style play. They are
        damn good too. They range in ages from early 20's
        to late 50's, at least in the case of my clan. Of
        course, our members are mostly older players that
        started out with quakeworld and kept playing right
        on through to quake3, and will probably be playing
        whatever instagi
        • Of the 40 or so members of my quake3 clan, fully 1/4 of the members are women.
          Erm... who wants to tell him? :-)
          • Hahhaha, trust me I'd totally think the same way
            but over the last decade I've met most of them,
            their husbands who usually also play, and their
            kids who usually play also.

            http://www.clanros.us/main.html
      • I wonder if this is why I can show a girl a game where you can pick up prostitutes, use them to gain health, and then kill them with a chainsaw to get your money back -- GTA Vice City -- and she'll be at least intrigued and amused by it, if not suddenly wanting to buy and play it: it's got bright, cheery colors, a understandable non-game reference point (gangster movies such as Scarface & Goodfellas), and an absurbist fantasy feel to it.

        I probably would generally enjoy the game just as much if it had a
        • I think you've hit the nail right on the head - she'd probably have little or no interest in Hitman or Kingpin. Grit doesn't sell to girls.
      • Re:Problem for ya. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ctr2sprt (574731)
        Er... I kind of take issue with your claim that some games are inherently too "complex" for women gamers. It's true that if you're targeting women you shouldn't count on too much previous game experience, but assuming they can't (or won't) learn a complex - but interesting - game is just insulting. If a game looks fun, then women will take the time to learn it.

        No, I think the chief problem right now is twofold. First, video games are usually played by boys, so it's considered a masculine activity. And

        • Well, I suppose the "too complex" thing was a little insulting - but the argument was more of "non-gamers" in general. The rule of complexity was aimed at fetching non-gamers in general, not specifically women.
        • Re:Problem for ya. (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I don't think it's a matter of being too complex in the sense that they can't handle it... more like, if it is too complex they won't be bothered to waste their time to get used to it. I'd say that's an enviable trait in many ways.
    • Re:Problem for ya. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by trevorrowe (689310)
      Not only are there not many women making games, there just isn't that many playing them. I don't think it is because they don't like them, it because they don't know they like them.

      Any time I get my wife (age 22) to sit down and actually *try* a game out, its weeks before I can get my pc/console/pda back from her. I find most girls enjoy gaming, they just don't like the image it portrays and so they avoid playing them altogether.

      Trying to target games to that kind of market (the female kind) sounds l
      • I have to agree that girls will play games. My lady is similar in that she is hesitant to try a new game, but I can always tell which one to pick up that will last a long time for both of us.

        As far as giving away games to women...
        #1 Demos are gender neutral, females can play them too
        #2 This would just create a generation of cross-dressers out for free stuff.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They should really focus on making games that girls are *good* at. If they're good at it and enjoy it in real life, maybe they would like it in game form, too.

      I'm thinking... something along the lines of PVP games like mud wrestling. With jello wrestling and creamed corn wrestling levels, too. And there could be olympic-type games like baby-tossing and endurance based oral games.

      And maybe, along the lines of that old Tapper beer game, they could have a cooking and cleaning game... Maybe where the goal is
    • If you want to see more girl games, get more women into making games.

      Exactly, there's a reason Centipede was so popular with women in the 80's. It was designed by a woman. The parent poster hit the nail on the head, we need more women in the game design process. I always find it amazing that as games become more and more mainstream, game makers aren't properly targeting half of their potential audeince!
    • "or My Non-Violent Pet Friend Super Tea Party?"

      No thanks, I'm too busy playing Animal Crossing.
    • Bravo! Women don't want to work on that kind of nonsense either -- so the people that decide on what games to be made for women (and don't have a clue) have to take part of the blame, too.

      I understand that the popcap games [popcap.com] particularly BookWorm are doing extremely well with women, particularly women over 35. These are extremely addictive, cheap as they come, simple, do not require special hardware, and give your brain a bit of a workout.

      PopCap's Mummy Maze and Psychobabble have the same pr

  • Popcap games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @11:43AM (#6443219) Homepage Journal
    My wife started playing those java games at the popcap site, and she loves them. Noticed they even started selling standalone versions of the games at compusa. Talking to a friend, and his girlfriend has been playing the games on there too.

    While fun, they arnt FPS type games, more brain teasers of sorts. My wife told her friends at work, and all the women seem to like these games, they even play multiplayer version of them.

    So ya, women seem to play different types of games.

    I play CounterStrike, she plays Dynomite. (a bubble bobble clone) Thou we both like tetrinet, multiplayer tetris with powerups. Something about being evil with powerups makes it fun.
  • by melete (640855) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @11:44AM (#6443226)

    I don't think that the gaming industry really wants to make games for girls...yet.

    "The Sims", as the article mentions, is higly popular with women -- more so than with men. But nobody in the industry really wants to quit working on Warcraft to make another game that is closer to real life.

    Guys like fantasy games. Women tend to like more "realistic" games, despite the fact that really, they're fantasy as well.

    There's still a huge market for fantasy games. Until developers need to market to women to survive, they probably will be very slow about it.
    • The Sims is highly popular with women because it's just a re-hash of dolls. It's exactly what little girls do with dolls, except in a computer surrounding...

      Daniel
    • I agree that is more a market that hasn't been tapped- the industry has no real comprehension of women as a market because it hasn't had to follow it.

      Still, if gamers ever want the industry to get some respect, it'll have to. It can continue merrily occasionally railing that its not considered a viable medium that could be art instead of mere entertainment.

      Its a Catch-22, it needs women to join to diversify the companies to produce stuff to get women interested in games, and then working in it...

      "Guys li
    • Why would girls play games when dating is the ultimate reality game. Hell my wife won't stop playing and we've been married for 3+ years.
  • Marketing Idiots (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nagatzhul (158676)
    Most of the women I know are not interested in games period. They simply don't associate games with entertainment. If they do, they focus on puzzle type games (like Tetris) and strategy games (like Heroes of Might & Magic). After that, I think it is just marketing. If they are too lazy to think that far ahead, it is their own damn fault for missing the market.
  • I know a few women who have played and enjoyed The Sims and SimCity on the PC. On the console side, the Final Fantasy and Diablo series...and more recently I've observed surpisingly that the Tekken series is popular with my lady friends.

    My friend's 7 year old niece plays those Barbie PC games but she also plays some sports games geared for little kids (I don't recall the title).

    How many female game designers are out there and what's the ratio in relation to male? The numbers are probably low. If you
  • okay... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So there aren't enough games with women in mind out there, but we shouldn't gear games toward women?

    Besides, how do you "gear games toward women". You make a good game. Whoever likes it likes it. So are they saying that women don't like RPG, FPS, strategy or simulation games? Then what DO they like? Those are essentially all the games that exist and they seem to do okay for the rest of the world.

    Women of the world, enlighten us with your bold new genre of videogames that we need to make especially for you
    • Re:okay... (Score:4, Funny)

      by MrPeach (43671) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @03:16PM (#6445306) Homepage
      Women of the world, enlighten us with your bold new genre of videogames that we need to make especially for you? Seriously, I don't mean to be flip - what exactly DO you want?!?!

      You should just know - you shouldn't need to ask!
    • Re:okay... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Drakkenfyre (630503)
      Women of the world, enlighten us with your bold new genre of videogames that we need to make especially for you? Seriously, I don't mean to be flip - what exactly DO you want?!?!

      If we only knew what we wanted...

      But seriously, I think Jad was on to something when he mentioned GTA. Personally, I loved GTA III and Vice City (if you don't believe me, read my review). I'm also a big UT2K3 freak and know of a significant (though still small) female percentage playing that.

      But I'm also the only girl I know
  • and most of the other women I know - are simpler puzzle type games. My wife doesn't care about flashy immersive graphics or 5.1 digital surround, just something that challanges her - there's no money in these games. Most of them are already available for free at pogo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @11:53AM (#6443322)
    I'm in my mid-twenties, and my girlfriend plays (some) video games, and that's fairly unusual.

    My sister, who's 17, plays video games and that's true for at least half of her age group.

    My 8-year-old female cousin loves video games, and doesn't have any problem with them at all. Just as video games grew into the mainstream for males, they are moving that way with females (although more slowly).

    Playing video games doesn't have to be a "masculine" or "feminine" activity any more than watching a movie. There are plenty of games that can or could appeal to any gender.

    That being said, I think video games lost a lot of girls when they started having more than one button. They lost even more when they went to 3D. When games got to the point that you had to read instructions or do tutorials, the gender gap emerged. The arcades also declined sharply at that point.
    • ...hell. they lost me when I had use pads with eight million buttons. I don't have the patience for that. I'm not sure what that's got to do with being a boy or a girl.

      Its quite a jump from the "games don't have to be masculine or feminine" to something that implies they can't handle buttons.
    • You've actually hit one right on the nose with the 3d. It is clearly shown by a test most 11th graders (US) take that women score more poorly when visualizing 3d from a 2d surface (the test asked you to choose what an object would look like if rotated 90 degrees into the page and other spacial visualiziation questions). The reasoning is nurture due to that boys grow up with more hands on spacial projects (auto repair, woodworking, etc) and so learn to think more about 3d aspects.

      Of course, I blew all you
  • And Slashdotters DO? Won't pocket protectors and lack of coordination while high-fiving have to come into style before that happens? ;)
  • It's getting them to stop that's the problem.

    [rimshot]


  • Why would you want to be a woman in a game, when you can already be one in an AOL chat room?

  • by neostorm (462848) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:00PM (#6443401)
    For starters, how about removing all of the scantily clad, oversized breast equipped, fat lipped "hoes" from the majority of interactive entertainment.
    This would effectively render games "mature" and "tasteful", (you are familiar with those words, yes?) and that would attract a wider audience of gamers right there.

    As soon as you bring up "Barbie" games on the topic of "games geared towards women" you are already headed in the wrong direction. Try thinking of women as mature adults instead of a pink dress, shopping machine demographic an see what happens.
    • well i know when i play tekken with my wife, she instantly gravitates towards those characters!

      i dont know if they're necessarily insulted by that as much as we think they are. probably depends on the person.

      i think the main problem is that they cant relate to the protagonist in 99% of the games out there. the female urge is not "questing", it's not "me vs the entire world".

      they also like cute stuff, as opposed to gory. that's why Super Mario Bros had pretty hefty cross-gender numbers, while, say, Dia
      • by Urox (603916) <.luthien3. .at. .juno.com.> on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @01:38PM (#6444274) Journal
        well i know when i play tekken with my wife, she instantly gravitates towards those characters!

        Speaking as a woman, I never felt the urge to play a male character when a female one was readily available. And I'm half asian and specifically gravitated toward the more asian characters: Chun-Li over Cammy, Kitana over Sonja, Xianghua over Ivy... But I think we all realize that the scantily clad-ness is eye candy for the boys.

        i think the main problem is that they cant relate to the protagonist in 99% of the games out there. the female urge is not "questing", it's not "me vs the entire world".

        Then what about the strong success of the Zelda series? Or Final Fantasy?

        • Then what about the strong success of the Zelda series? Or Final Fantasy?

          My gf plays Zelda quite a bit, but can't stand FF, but maybe it's just the fact that I've been playing FF1 + 2, rather than some of the newer ones.

          She would probably play Tekken or Soul Calibur, but she can't stand playing against me (probably because I can't stand the excessive use of the 'kick in the foot' manuever, or the 'mash buttons and hope it does something' method, and therefore instantly kick the shit out of the offending
    • Yeah, I don't know about your friends, but my friends (women) all dig the scantily clad babes. My former roommate's girlfriend loved playing DOA on his XBox and grabbing people with her (female character's) crotch.

      The only thing that I've seen immediately turn girls off from "boy" games (aside from a complete lack of practice and experience with their format) is that the main characters are never girls. I wouldn't have thought that would bother anyone, but when my girlfriend's sister picked up Golden Sun o
    • For starters, how about removing all of the scantily clad, oversized breast equipped, fat lipped "hoes" from the majority of interactive entertainment.

      I suggest we start by removing them from our junior high schools, first!

      Fat American kids + low-cut stretch pants and half-length tank tops is quite the sight.
    • Try thinking of women as mature adults instead of a pink dress, shopping machine demographic an see what happens.

      Is this why Legally Blonde 2 [imdb.com] did moderately well its opening weekend?
  • I am very interested in games for girls/women because I don't think my daughter (12) plays enough. My son (14) is OK at 3-5 hours/day.

    Recently, I bought her a dancepad because she doesn't much like game controllers. I can understand her point, I find them fiddly myself. She seems to like it and that makes me wonder whether the IO devices used by games are female-optimised. What is best for each s3x?

    The dancepad may save me from having to assign her homework of one hour per day but really don't want

    • "Sweetie, I don't think you play enough video games. You spend too much time running around outside, and I just don't think that's healthy. I want to see you spend at least three hours a day in front of that PS2.

      "And no sneaking off to read books when you're supposed to be playing games, either!"

  • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:02PM (#6443423) Homepage Journal

    OK, you ready? really? you sure? OK, here goes...

    (ahem)

    Well, the developers of Duke Numem Forever are chasing women -- I can't imagine what else could have distracted them *this* long.


    [applause sign]

    Thank you, thank you... you've been a wonderful crowd... I'll be here all week....


    • CRAP!

      Stupid typos....

      That was supposed to read "Duke NUKEM Forever", not "Duke NUMEM Forever".


      ..."Duke NUMEM Forever" came out last week! (bada-BING!)

  • by Otter (3800)
    OK, not really, but we've had essentially this same story linked here repeatedly before. Check back in 10 years and it'll still be, "Game companies don't make games that appeal to women, the industry is stagnant, a handful of broadly popular games have been made so why aren't there more of them?" and Brenda Laurel yapping about how she's so much smarter than everyone else, despite her complete failure to actually sell games herself.
  • by Jouni (178730) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:08PM (#6443471)
    Most designers are completely lost when trying to figure out what women want to play. They figure it must be some sort of cultural or social difference that makes women gravitate towards the "other" kinds of games. They consider FPS to be too "physical" or maybe a sci-fi game too "abstract" for women. So they try to make the games soft, pink, and fuzzy around the edges. And they fail miserably.

    It's like the myth that says women only want romance and girls only play with dolls.

    The facts are really simple: women share most of the same neurology and physiology as men. They can enjoy games - voluntary challenges full of interesting choices - just as men can. However, they also hate the same things - they hate feeling like a failure, feeling stupid or embarrassed.

    Most games today are designed for male neurology and skill level; that is, high degree of spatial and hand-to-eye coordination, navigational skills, and logical puzzles. The core gameplay is right, but the reward/punishment mechanisms are not accounting for the gender difference.

    If you look at Bejeweled [popcap.com], it's easy to see why the logical yet forgiving gameplay appeals equally to both genders. It's built around reward, not punishment. Even if you didn't know what to do at all, you get rewards just by clicking around on the screen. You will never be embarrassed or humiliated by the game regardless of what degree of skills you have. And on the second go, you will probably better your score.

    Another great example is the city building series by Sierra, which allows you to choose between the path of the warrior or the path of the builder. Almost always, you can pay off your enemies by running a successful economy instead of fighting the war.

    This pattern of non-punitive, positively rewarding gameplay is core to almost all titles that have enjoyed high degree of success with women.

    Making games for women is not rocket science. :-)

    Jouni

  • Women - Men - Gaming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@hotmail . c om> on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:10PM (#6443488) Homepage Journal
    Women seem to enjoy relationship building activities. My spouse and about 500 books in the local Chapters seem to point to this. So, I can see "Sims" as being popular, and maybe some RPG -- as long as there is relational /point/ to the RPG.

    I don't like most of the games out there, because I /don't get the point/. "Grand Theft Auto" seems to deliberately go "anti-relationship". James Bond game that my nephews have kept insisting that I come out shooting -- or I die.

    And this is not amusing to me. I enjoy a story arc, I /could/ enjoy an immersive simulation. But I don't get a world where I have to pump my testosterone to 11 before even beginning. Give me another choice (negotiate, be subversive, etc.) to allow me to continue.

    So the audience is overcharged young men with something to prove. I find it a laugh, because getting very VERY good at video games is not going to impress the girls. Which was the point of the testosterone boost in the first place. Irony.

    Ratboy.
  • I imagine game makers and the average slashdotter are in the same boat when it comes to chasing women. After the initial court order, one just can not risk the prison sentence..

  • Perhaps Importing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gamgee5273 (410326) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:12PM (#6443502) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps a company could take some of the popular women's games from Japan - try out a couple of different genres - and see what happens. That would be my suggestion. Unfortunately, that would mean the rise of women-specific games (dating games, men/men romance games, etc.) that would only serve to further a divide between men and women in the gaming world.

    Another observation is that a lot of the women I know, including my wife, really enjoy two player fighters. My wife loves Soul Calibur and is chomping at the bit to play the new one at home (gotta go with the GC version - Link is gonna rock!). She also really enjoys the Street Fighter-derived games (not so much SNK's fighters). DOA is one of the few that I've found that my wife and her friends aren't all that interested in (no, I don't think it's the "bump-mapping"). Perhaps there is something about the competition in those games that the manufacturers need to explore.

    I honestly believe that many women are interested in gaming, but there are both social barriers and gender barriers that block them for some reason or another. There's definitely money to be made there...good luck to whomever decides to attack it.

    Oh, wait, since this is /.: one thing i know, MS sure as hell won't figure it out. But they may buy the folks that do. ;)

  • Non-Issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rayonic (462789) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:17PM (#6443551) Homepage Journal
    All this concern about a lack of female-friendly games is really a non-issue. If there is money to be made on it, eventually someone will do it.

    Furthermore, it's more likely easier said than done. War games, for instance, are much easier to conceptualize than a game like The Sims. (This is why I still admire Will Wright, despite EA's expansion-pack-a-thon.)

    Sure, you can say "make a game about dating and finding the right guy". But, well, how? Where is the game? What exactly do you control? How should the AI engine work? Et cetera, et cetera. (And yes, I know dating games are big in Japan, but they're largely unrealistic and are mostly composed of multiple-choice quizzes.)
    • Re:Non-Issue (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Asicath (522428)
      Sure, you can say "make a game about dating and finding the right guy". But, well, how? Where is the game? What exactly do you control? How should the AI engine work? Et cetera, et cetera. (And yes, I know dating games are big in Japan, but they're largely unrealistic and are mostly composed of multiple-choice quizzes.)

      A large portion of american women have expectations about "dating and finding the right guy" that are "largely unrealistic and are mostly composed of multiple-choice quizzes." Read a Redb
      • A large portion of american women have expectations about "dating and finding the right guy" that are "largely unrealistic and are mostly composed of multiple-choice quizzes." Read a Redbook or cosmo sometime, It'll scare you.

        But I... you see... well... damn. I walked right into that one, didn't I? That Redbook/Cosmo allegory fits perfectly.

        I suppose it isn't that bad, though. Multiple-choice questions, some stat modifiers based on what you wear -- sounds like a glorified adventure game to me. Maybe
  • How about we make some games about this stuff:

    Nagging: Get your boyfriend/husband to the ballet

    Cosmetic Commuting: Put makeup on while you drive

    Divorce: You get half of everything

    Cingular SUV: Talk on your cell phone while driving... Try not to take out the school children

    Breaking the glass ceiling: Sleep your way to the top of a fortune 500 company

    Begging for a Benz: You are a 16 year old girl and you need daddy to buy you a benz

    Starve Yourself: The anorexia game

    If you take this seriously,

  • I don't think that there's a "type" of game that appeals to women more or less than others. Different women like different games, but what makes women different to men is that men (or a large part of the male market) are prepared to invest a fair amount of time on "learning" a game before they expect to have fun. Women are not.

    My girlfriend and I played though the co-op half-life addon (Decay) on the PS/2, and we both enjoyed it alot. We got to the end of Decay so I bought an XBox and slapped in Halo. We s
  • More men play games for entertainment.
    More women chat for entertainment (btw men tend to prefer a good argument and women prefer a good chat ;) ).

    Sure that's a sweeping generalization and there are plenty of exceptions.

    Also compare publications/magazines for women and those for men.
    • One thing... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I always find women playing those games from addtictinggames.com, and what this says to me is, they like a quick, fun, possibly addicting game every now and then.

      Gentlemen, I believe these women need to play Wario Ware.
  • I'm going to be brutally honest. I think it's a total waste of time designing games for women. It's mostly just spinning your wheels when you try and figure out what women want.

    Just accept the fact that the large majority of women don't like playing role-playing games, real-time strategy games or the like. Once you have been married as long as I have you start to pick up on things that the female gender does like. They love puzzle and adventure games. They love social interaction. They want games tha

  • From my experience most women hate pc's because their boyfriends, husbands, and such spend more time with the pc than with them. I've had a couple girlfriends that dispise my pc's and one girlfriends said she was jealous of my pc.

    I don't think a woman gets the same use out of a pc like a guy does. Most women don't grow up playing video games like guys do so what's going to change that later in life? There are more women playing these days but the majority of what I've seen don't have a choice because they
  • I think its a bit of a misconception that girls are somehow not interested in games. I think the 'core games, maybe, but as long as games are not designed purely for guys....

    I'm going off the fact that my girlfriend and her 60+ yr. old mother like a bunch of my games. She loves the Zelda's and Soul Calibur (we're both just *waiting* for that August release date on SCII) and both she and I are having fun trying to get the high score on Ikaruga. This isn't counting countless hours of Gran Turismo and a bu
  • They do.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Tuesday July 15, 2003 @12:57PM (#6443943)
    At least for my wife..

    Sure, she plays the ones they mention..The Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon, (She likes anything sandboxy and expandable really). As well, we both like the Pop-cap style of small games, (who doesn't)

    However the tastes go beyond that..

    Everything from Baldur's Gate:Dark Alliance and Legend of Mana to Final Fantasy IX and Might and Magic VI and VII. (She is obessed with those games. One challenge she made is to beat a temple full of Lich's at as low of a level as possible. Her lowest is 6!)

    Doom and Blood (Her personal fav) to Jedi Knight II. Diablo II for a while as well.

    Burnout, Sonic Advendture II Battle.

    All of the Mario games for the most part. Perfect Dark/007. Even Ikaragua for crying out loud.

    Among many others. (The one thing we agree with is a dislike for the "classics". Outside Bubble Bobble, there is not many old games we really enjoy)

    What is the point?

    Women gamers are no different than men gamers. Each have their own tastes, likes and dislikes. Trying to lump them in a completely seperate catagory..to be honest is sexist and counter-productive. Make good games and women will play them, if they want to.
    • would you be overly fussed if i asked if we could clone your wife? or possibly splice her genes with a playboy model? that would be really great, thanks :)
  • There.com (Score:2, Interesting)

    by metalpet (557056)
    Not sure if that qualifies but the virtual world "There" is entirely tailored to attract women.
    A few things they do off the top of my head:
    - no killing, no blood. ever.
    - lots of overly cute things (pets, environment)
    - shopping. lots of shopping.
    - lots of pretty clothes.
    - very easy to find people to chat with

    It's clearly not as "goal-driven" as most traditional games, and that might also be part of its women appeal.
  • I think we're spending too much time talking about what games girls like rather than addressing the issue of whether or not girls do play games in general.
    My wife had never played a single computer game before we were married. She showed no desire after we were married until she saw me playing several games. Then she started playing games like Zeus or Majesty (puzzle/strategy games). She liked boggle and bejeweled as well.
    Then... she saw me play some real games. She's not great, really, but has learned
  • Girls and video games.... there are whole books on the subject. _From_Barbie_to_Mortal_Kombat_ is one that I've read, and it raises several interesting issues.

    For example one of the debatable reasons (among many) that video games tend to be designed for boys is that its easier to design a game that boys like than games that appeal to girls. That is, some of the games that girls would like to play are hard to build; it's easier to make a spaceship shoot at the invading alien hoard than it is to make Barb

  • Given that most game makers are male, geeks, and therefore probably can't get dates more than twice a year, could we think of a demographic that is less likely to have insight into what women want to do in their spare time? Go figure.
  • My fiance is addicted to GTA: VC, far moreso than I. I have a close female friend who is similarly addicted to the Sims and routinely likes to show off at DDR type games. My little sister loves Sim City and Civilisation II. So, women do play games, it's just catering to their tastes that is the issue. Is it not that the media that would introduce them to games and help them make informed choices is male orientated and dominated?
  • Given my lack of insight into the general opinion of women on just about anything, I want to avoid making statements about what I think most girls want to see in video games. I'll just speak from what I have seen in my own experience. When I was younger the girls I grew up around seemed to like playing games like Super Mario Brothers, and some of the earlier Nintendo titles, though they still didn't like to play them as much as most of the guys I knew. As video games progressed, I think somewhere around
  • Non-issue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shadarr (11622)
    Rather than everyone trying to figure out how to get girls playing games, it needs to be pointed out that they already are [idsa.com].
    Thirty five percent of console game players and more than 43 percent of PC gamers are women, a slight increase over last year.
  • by evilWurst (96042)
    Well, other than the obvious - that women aren't particularly attracted to games geared specifically at men, especially when those games trivialize/sexualize women - there isn't much to go on here. The old gender debates have shown that men don't know what women want, *women* don't know what other women want, and individual women don't know what they individually want.

    The truism buried in here about what women want in a game is "I don't know, but I know it when I see it". In other words, the solution to th
  • I'm amazed that in all these posts, all of the "what girls play" descriptions have been written by their husbands or boyfriends. So... here is what a real girl gamer (age 24) plays, in her own words!

    I prefer games that are open-ended, and allow me to explore worlds and develop/create things. I love RPGs and MMORPGs. I like games with a dark or gothic edge - like Anarchy Online, or Primal (PS2). Occasionally, I like to play games that are short and arcade-like (PopCap games, racing games). I also like first
  • Game Makers Aren't Chasing Women

    ...and in other news, game *players* aren't chasing women either... unless beach volleyball counts... mmm...

  • The problem with trying to make "girl-centered" games is that we get drivel like "Mary-Kate and Ashley team up with Britney Spears to form a Dance Dance Revolution" etc.. I'm a girl and I love Diablo 2, Capcom Vs. SNK 2, Unreal Tournament, Halo, and Soul Reaver, among others. My favorite genre has to be the RPGs - Final Fantasy (excluding FFX2, because that, like Tomb Raider, is marketed specifically to males) SaGa Frontiers et al, mainly because I can be as creative with character development as I want. A
    • Final Fantasy (excluding FFX2, because that, like Tomb Raider, is marketed specifically to males)

      That's funny to me, because I'm (23yo female gamer) looking forward to it. Sure, the heroines are scantily clad, but I don't consider that a *bad* thing. In fact, hidden deep down, there's a very feminine part of me that is terribly excited about getting to play "dress-up" via the job system.

      I think the poster who said "Playing video games doesn't have to be a 'masculine' or 'feminine' activity any more than
  • All right.

    Crap like this really pisses me off.

    Begin rant.

    Your first mistake is labeling games for girls as "pink" games. What the hell is that? Is Barbie all anyone can think of for girls? By making a label such as that you are limiting what gaming can be for any sex. Just like not all video games are for little boys, not all video games should be for little girls. Idiots here on Slashdot are making references to playing with dolls and things along that nature. What about grown up WOMEN? After dealing w

  • I've read a lot of papers on women and gaming. Whenever I see something about women and gaming, I read it, whether it's about game design, psychology, or socialization. I'm also a woman.

    My overall conclusion I've come to is that women like games that are good. The best way to design a game for women is to try and design a game that is good.

    Not an incredibly precise conclusion, yes, but still a useful one. When you try and design a game for a market, you tend to exclude other markets. If you try to design
  • In SOVIET RUSSIA Women chase Game Makers!
  • That game developers are mostly clueless about women. This is probably because they are primarily guys, and most them there don't get too much contact with women. Yeah, they may date, and even some are married, but they still have not had the time to actually make some observations of the nature of the woman.

    The stereotypes are bullshit, for the most part. Women are going to think that games like "Barbie style magnet" and "Dofoo's tea party" are going to be degrading. Women aren't all about pink.

    The g

  • My wife is an active wargamer, but she will only occasionally dabble in RPG's and video games; she doesn't feel exactly comfortable or pleased with games that depict women as physics-defying super-bimbos whose sole role is to be sex objects who prop up the heroes by standing under each arm. (Her words, exactly, when the article was mentioned)

    Frankly, game marketing is so heavily oriented towards a sex-sells angle in the market right now, both for tabletop gaming and computer gaming, that she usually tosse
  • I don't think I'm a good example of the majority of 'girl gamers'. I love a good round of Quake3/UT2k3, I've clocked Warcraft 3 several times and do not suck on battle.net, and own all three of the major console. And I mean own, not "my fiance bought it and I just happen to play it." (Only just got around to buying Halo yesterday. My bad. It is soooooooooo good.)

    But, I can say what pisses me off, as a woman, in a game.
    The busty heroines I'm fine with; it's nice to see women with curves, as they usuall
  • by kabir (35200)
    Am I the only one here who sees the irony inherant in a mostly male group discussing what it would take to get women interested in something? I mean, we could actually ask them, you know. Just for kicks. It works great with my wife:

    Me: Hey honey, how about a game tonight?
    Her: Sure! How about Rise of Nations?

    See? Easy.
  • Considering the way I (as a heterosexual guy) am not all that fond of games "geared towards me" (BMX XXX, anyone), do women really want a game that is "geared" towards them?

    "Gearing" is just a prettier word for pandering. And most people (at least most adult people), regardless of sex, just aren't keen on being pandered to.
  • From the research I have done [newsdee.net] on the effects of videogames, it's all a matter of social perception. Women are just not motivated, a priori by their social environment, to play games. However, a study made to test whether or not girls are good game players proved that they are as good as boys, as long as they don't perceive the software as being a game! (see bibliography in link for more details).

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