Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

On Gaming, Girls, And Germane Genres 58

Thanks to GameGirlAdvance for their article discussing how the female videogamer may present the future of gaming. The writer suggests that "This is an insanely large, untapped market just waiting to be satiated with games (and girls to buy them)", and attempts an amusingly broad overview of relevant game features: "Women... in essence are more of a gatherer/collector more than they are a visceral hunter-killer. They tend to be more detail oriented, preferring subtlety and complexity over overt skull-crushing over-the-top carnage and mayhem." Elsewhere, a SeattlePI.com article also talks about the much-vaunted broadening of the game market, pointing out that, for Microsoft's Xbox, "For the first time ever, the company is also including female gamers in its television commercials. (Three of the four Xbox ads shown this holiday will feature women or girls in them.)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

On Gaming, Girls, And Germane Genres

Comments Filter:
  • by DrVital ( 134314 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @02:58AM (#7432488)
    Women will play more games as the technology improves, allowing them to have complex, emotional relationships with the characters they are interacting with.

    The Sims is only the tip of the iceberg, but icebergs move at a glacial pace...

    Your (gender bending) Power Pill [levelupdesign.com]
  • At least to me, my girlfriend doesn't see a problem in any games with appealing to men/women more(Pardon the obvious Barbie games and DOA:XBV), but that's her.

    Any changes are just messing with the current formula of titles but those are already a fine match for us.
  • Disney Does Digital, Ditches Drawings
    On Gaming, Girls, And Germane Genres

    Welcome to Farkdot, News nor Nerds. Ntuff nhat natters?

  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @03:23AM (#7432552)
    "Women... in essence are more of a gatherer/collector more than they are a visceral hunter-killer. They tend to be more detail oriented, preferring subtlety and complexity over overt skull-crushing over-the-top carnage and mayhem."

    Eh, thats not saying much when you put it that way. If girls are detail orientated, and prefer sublety and complexity, then why don't girls like strategy games? Obviously there's still some "gore" but right now the "gore" graphics in the most recent games isn't even close to making a similar atmosphere like Doom (we've all seen the rooms full of a couple dozen/hundred imps before).

    I'm gonna have to take the article from GameGirlAdvance with a grain of salt.

    'In short, don't push home the female stereotype. People in general tend to not want to be sold something they can do already without your gaming system, so avoid the cliches and perhaps examine just what it is that girls like about videogames in the first place.'

    I donno, the male stereotype is that guys like to beat each up, play rough sports, and drive overly expensive, souped-up, supercharge, chrome plated cars. Oddly enough these types of stereotypical games seems to sell the best : FPS games (ok, not quite beating each other up but close), Sports games (Madden series anyone?), and Racing games (Need for Speed series).

    • If girls are detail orientated, and prefer sublety and complexity, then why don't girls like strategy games?

      Just curious...are you referring to Real-time Strategy Games, or turn-based?

      Because being good at an RTS doesn't involve any subtlety - success is a result of memorizing a playbook and practicing each play until you can execute it perfectly. Coming up with new plays is equally tedious: you just keep trying builds until you find a good one.
      I know this from playing a hell of a lot of Starcraft.
  • by Red Pointy Tail ( 127601 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @03:25AM (#7432555)

    Simoniker seems starved of silly sounding subtitling suddenly.

    Alliterating acronyms are always awful... avoid and abstain asmuch as appropriate!
  • by Kulic ( 122255 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @03:33AM (#7432569) Homepage
    I'm just going on what my sister and my girlfriend will play, but most of the time it is not what I like to play.

    Any given day of the week, I'm quite happy to sit down and play an RTS, RPG, FPS or puzzle adventure. My sister loves Mario Kart and the Monkey Island series. She likes the cute characters and the humour, but also likes to sit down and solve puzzles. My girlfriend is quite unwilling to invest any time in a game unless she gets an instant payoff - she gets frustrated quite easily if she isn't instantly good at something, and will turn off the PC/console and go listen to music or watch DVDs. She is quite happy to play something like DDR.

    I think that while there is some (small) overlap between male/female game tastes, in general they are quite different. The reason we don't see more games for women is that the male market is a proven one, and easy to develop for based upon game type. If developers knew how to design games for women (and rake in big money), we would probably see a lot more games for girls out there.

    Maybe the industry needs to find out what games girls want to play and then make them. If its more games like Rez, I wouldn't mind playing them with my girlfriend :)
  • by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <.moc.gnahtyadirf. .ta. .todhsals.> on Monday November 10, 2003 @03:34AM (#7432571)
    Clearly, a company needs to create a game where these damn women can stand in front of a stove! You all know the joke: why doesn't a women need an umbrella? Because it doesn't rain between the kitchen and the bedroom!

    C'mon people...

    Women gamers want the same thing men gamers want: a fun game. Personally, I think the Mario games (including Mario Kart and Mario Party knockoffs), F-Zero, and The Sims are fun. No violence, but not always subscribing to the notion women should just want to play with digital dolls. But I also think Unreal Tournament, Medal of Honor, and Alien vs Predator 2 are some of the most kickass LAN gaming ever.

    I do agree that companies should push the female market more. From a benevolent social perspective, it's a touchy-feely issue of equality. But for the selfish money-grubbing business majors running the gaming companies, it's the "untapped market" they all drool over. (No female-gamer pun intended.) (Well, maybe a little one.)

    So I agree with the focus of the first article, that companies should expand their target audience to include women. And while the quote given in the Slashdot summary (about gatherer/collectors vs hunter-killers) is rather silly, the list of games the article gives (games like Zelda, The Sims, Civilization, etc) that "grrl" gamers like to play seems pretty solid. There is a market for games that can sell to both men and women.

    But I do think the example "men don't tend to bargin shop or hunt around" is a common misconception. *stereotype warning* The difference is in priorities. Most men don't bargin shop for clothing because, well, it's stupid. They're f*ing pants! But tell this "man" who won't comparative shop to buy a car, and it's nothing but comparative shopping until the best damn one is found. Likewise, most women aren't gonna be hunting around for videogames because they don't perceive a need to do so. *end stereotypes* This minor issue asside, I do think the Game Girl article is a good read. Their stuff usually is.

    The second article, on the other hand, is shallow. The message? "Videogame companies want you to buy their product." No shit? Really? It talks about companies dropping prices, expanding lineups, coming out with new and exciting stuff...well, that's the same thing companies have been doing, in videogames, for the last twenty years and, in every other industry, pretty much since the beginning of the notion of personal property came around. You have to convince people to buy your things...

    -Trillian

    PS I have to note that the Game Girl article (the first one) does bug me because it specifically gives numbers for the Xbox and PS2 ownership but "doesn't take into account Game Cube, Game Boy, or any gaming peripherals, help guides, or other "value added" items." Why the hell not? Even though this rant is slightly off-topic, leaving out GC and (to a lesser extent) GBA as "real" consoles only hurts Nintendos immage. Check the numbers, people! They're doing better than Xbox! Maybe not stateside, but no one even pretends that the US is the only videogame market. Japan has always led the way and, in spite of Microsoft's attempts, it looks like they'll continue for the near future. Just had to get that out...
    • PS I have to note that the Game Girl article (the first one) does bug me because it specifically gives numbers for the Xbox and PS2 ownership but "doesn't take into account Game Cube, Game Boy, or any gaming peripherals, help guides, or other "value added" items." Why the hell not?

      It's actually a more benign reason than you might think. The author was trying to estimate how much money was spent entirely on male-oriented games. Since the GameCube and GBA/GBASP are generally intended to be gender-neutral

      • Rereading the article, that does make sense. I just wish the author had specifically noted that, because the sentence implied to me that GameCube and GBA sales could be lumped with "value added" items like peripherals and help guides. Which I don't think is true.

        -Trillian
  • by Artline ( 264604 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @03:57AM (#7432612)
    I bought a feamle friends' playstation over the weekend because it didn't have enough "cartoon games". She said she wanted an X-Box because she really wanted to play their range of games including Mario! I started to explain the concept of different systems with different games but it will be easier to go to the games store to explain because it is laid out by console, I think it will be a Gamecube she decides on in the end.

    This situation might not be typical but not knowing everything about the consoles is understandable when its not a hobby that you spend hours reading about each week. That's why she sold the console to me, even though I already have one, because I will know the right person to sell it to.

    Even though she has her brand names mixed she still knows what she wants - fun games. I am willing to spend half an hour adjusting to the controls of a new game if it pays off in the end with a great plot and the right amount of difficulty. But I have been gaming for 20 years. Kids' games are the ideal game for someone who wants to pick up the controller and have be playing within 5 minutes.
    • Kids' games are the ideal game for someone who wants to pick up the controller and have be playing within 5 minutes.

      Well, "kids" games is a bit broad of a term. I don't think many girls will be interested in Barney's funtime adventure or whatever. And, having played Mario Sunshine, I wouldn't call it a kids game because of the difficulty level.

      But I see what you're saying, and I totally agree. I like Nintendo games that have characters that talk to you and guide you through your first time using a f

  • by Mad_Fred ( 530564 ) <{fredrik} {at} {bjoreman.com}> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:06AM (#7432884) Homepage
    "Women... in essence are more of a gatherer/collector more than they are a visceral hunter-killer. They tend to be more detail oriented, preferring subtlety and complexity over overt skull-crushing over-the-top carnage and mayhem."

    Classic adventure games anyone? Is it just me, or does that seem like a perfect match to the above description? I know a whole bunch of male gamers who wouldn't mind the comeback of adventure games anyone.

    Then it can of course be argued what is an adventure game and what isn't, but I'm associating straight to the classic point-and-click style of inventory based games now.

    One wonders if the new Sam n Max will try to market itself to take advantage of this (yeah, I feel making more noise about adventure games is a great part of it. People need to hear about a game they will love playing to be able to consider it.)?
  • Almost half of the registered tranquility [tqworld.com] players are women.
    A women also holds the game record for highest score and number of hours/levels played.
  • An obvious way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tehanu ( 682528 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:15AM (#7433151)
    In all these things an obvious way to get girls interested in games is dismissed - cute male characters. This isn't politically correct but I don't care. Yes I am a young woman in her early twenties and I keep in touch with a wide range of other females on the internet and one thing that always attracts the attention of girls to a game or an anime or any other show or movie for that matter is cute guys. For example Final Fantasy 7 and up are popular amongst girls. Partly because they are good games but also because they are populated with cute guys. Another game that is popular is Devil May Cry. Also notice that these are Japanese, probably because the Japanese deliberately put in these "bishounen" characters to attract female fans (and it works). This is how it works. Girl finds game with cute guys. Girl goes on mailing list/forum: "Hey guys. Heh, heh, I've been playing "Game X" a lot. I mean have you seen "character Y". I mean man he's such a bishie! Looks like Sephiroth except he's hair is shorter. But his outfit is sooooo cool. Black leather and his weapon is a whip." "Really?!!! *Squeal* I love Sephie. *Hugs chibi Sephie doll.* Me waaaaants. Where can I get it??!!! A whip? Heh, heh, I got such a hentai mind." Or you go to a popular webpage which has the picture of a guy from a game and the intro goes: "Heh, I've changed my website today. The character is X from game Y. Man I've been playing it soooo much. This game is just full of bishounen. Hot, hot, hot. X looks just like Sephiroth doesn't he? Except with a whip! Heh heh, all the hentai thoughts that go through my mind..." But by far the most popular game has to be The Sims...
    • The cute guy thing definitely works with one of my cousins - she chooses characters in the fighting games based on their looks, etc etc :).

      Just curious - how well does the "cute guy" approach work on selling stuff to girls/ladies? Would you buy beer/a car/game/etc if it were advertised using cute guys?

      Heh, would it also work on girls who don't want to admit they have hentai minds...
    • Tidus is hot
    • Some anime animators draw everything very very gender neutral. So in some cases it's not that the "guy charatcters are cute" (and of course the girl ones), where it's just the case that every darn character is drawn in the cute bishojo/bishonen style. Well, ok not EXACTLY the same, but it's like the guys are just girls with fuller faces and long bangs. It's funny how in those series where if you pause the vid and cover their hair up, you can't tell male or female. Like kare-kano. As a guy, it's just
    • Yeah, I guess that's true if your target audience is the girliest of girl gamers... but there are other reasons girls like these games; namely, great stories and gameplay. Sure, I'll admit that some of these Japanese bishies are cute (Cid, Reno, Auron, Edgar... the list goes on), but when I'm actually playing Final Fantasy VII or what have you, I'm generally more concerned about Cloud kicking ass than Cloud's ass :)
  • *sigh* (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:29AM (#7433197)
    "(Three of the four Xbox ads shown this holiday will feature women or girls in them.)"

    Yeah, as if that's a real step forward. DOA Volleyball commercials had a lot of focus on all the playable female characters in the commercials. Did that make women go out and buy the game? If game companies focused half as much on game design elements as they do target demographics, they might actually get more women playing.

    Of course, aiming for demographics has the promise of the Almighty Dollar (think "pop music"), so what do I know?
  • Gamer Girls (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ElleyKitten ( 715519 )
    Three of the four Xbox ads shown this holiday will feature women or girls in them.

    Yeah, but are they really there to encourage girls to play or to get the attentions of boys?

    "Look, it's a girl!!!"

  • I Wonder Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vjmurphy ( 190266 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:22AM (#7433399) Homepage
    " the company is also including female gamers in its television commercials"

    Not surprising. One, however, should not infer that because MS is putting female gamers in their commercials they are attempting to appeal to that segment.

    After all, Budweiser/Coors/Any Beer Company puts women in their commercials too, but isn't necessarily trying to sell the product to that group, are they?
  • This article is one of the most poorly written sophomoric diatribes I've ever read. As if it weren't obvious enough that the author has no idea what he's talking about, he feels the need to italicize every other word just in case his point doesn't come across like a brick to the head.

  • "Women... in essence are more of a gatherer/collector more than they are a visceral hunter-killer. They tend to be more detail oriented, preferring subtlety and complexity over overt skull-crushing over-the-top carnage and mayhem"

    I believe this statement, seeing that my wife's two favorite games are Final Fantasy Tactics and FFT-Advance.

  • This is a ridiculous attempt, at best, to justify small mindedness by the gaming company's (both hardware and software). Do you honestly think they haven't researched this or aren't currently? Obviously it's not working. And it's not simply because they aren't doing it right. You have to remember, in retail the bottom line is "whatever sells the most wins". Period. No discussions.

    What has been winning for the past several years is GTA and UT/Counter-Strike style games. Period. The games that peopl
  • by nege ( 263655 )
    (Three of the four Xbox ads shown this holiday will feature women or girls in them.)"

    Well, sorry to be the one to point this out, but could that be because it will help sell the product to men / boys? Just like all other products, throwing a pretty girl in the commercial usually ups sales.
  • by Sj0 ( 472011 )
    Women are different in many ways from male gamers in many ways, including the fact that they hold tradition and social standing in higher regard. Diamonds, marriages, all these things point to a higher bar for entry with female gamers, because a game will have to become a cultural phenomenon for many women to even bother taking a look. Compare this to men, who see killing, and go "uh. Me see kill. Me want kill." and start playing.
    • including the fact that they hold tradition and social standing in higher regard. Diamonds, marriages, all these things point to a higher bar for entry with female gamers, because a game will have to become a cultural phenomenon for many women to even bother taking a look.

      I don't think this is quite as true as many people would like to believe. Many women don't care if they have a traditional wedding or not, especially as they get older (or, more accurately, as younger generations get older). It's more so
  • SeattlePI.com article also talks about the much-vaunted broadening of the game market, pointing out that, for Microsoft's Xbox, "For the first time ever, the company is also including female gamers in its television commercials. (Three of the four Xbox ads shown this holiday will feature women or girls in them.)"

    Hopefully they will be half naked strippers.
    • shocking.... Psygnosis did this with the release of one of the Wipeout games (XL, IIRC). There was a male and female gamer on a couch about to pass out with controllers still in hand and nosebleeds (from the intense speed rush, or something... I never quite understood the nosebleed). At any rate, female gamers in commercials is nothing new. It's odd coming from the X-Box camp, but it's not newsworthy.
      • I remember an add for the original wipeout that had some bizzare symbol pointing up a girls skirt. That ad was my favorite subliminal sex advertisment for a video game.
  • I think The Wild Divine [wilddivine.com] will be a hot item, even moreso for female gamers who *may* be more apt to explore their spiritual side.
  • "This is an insanely large, untapped market just waiting to be satiated with games"

    As are:
    Pensioners
    The under fives
    Amputees
    ...

    What is this unholy obsession with 'markets', FFS. If nothing has been exposed over the past couple of decades, it's that the old rules of marketing are beginning to crumble and targetting things at specific markets is leading to some real confusion, especially when trying to apply those rules across cultural boundaries.

    What happened to making a game with broad bloody app
  • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @12:17PM (#7434480) Homepage Journal
    It's society. Despite the gripes of you 'we completely determine who we are' people, girls have been conditioned not to play video games by other girls. Have you ever wandered in on a gaggle of girls squawking about the lastest in gaming? No, because they're trained to squawk about the latest in fashion, or reality TV (Forgive my bird motiff). Guys have more independent qualities, because they're social structure is competitive and not supportive. Therefore, you see more guys shrugging off the geek stereotype and playing Civ II for 8 hours straight. Girls raised independently however, are more likely to consider gaming as a viable option for entertainment.
    • Games that work well when played by groups appeal more to females than more solo games. Watch a Dance Dance Revolution machine at the arcade when there are a number of kids around - I've seen a number of times where a group of teenage girls would wander up to the machine, and a few of them would play. Or at home, something like Mario Kart or Mario Party can get interest. Single-player games get a lot less attention, because there's a higher interest in the social factor.

      There are exceptions, myself incl
  • My question is how are the women being portrayed?

    There's a big difference between booth babe and fellow gamer.

    Given the way M$ markets this thing, I'm going to bet on the booth babe angle. Of course I could be wrong.
  • Personal Experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @02:15PM (#7435486) Journal
    I've had quite a bit of experience with girl gamers, and I've found that some things can be said that are not always inaccurate, but that's about as specific as you can get.

    I work with one girl who enjoys 'deep' games - Final Fantasy, Metroid, Zelda - and platformers - Mario, etc. I work with another who loves first person shooters (she goes for the sniper rifle every time - a girl after my own heart). Another I met the other day was raving about Max Payne 2 (she'd never played the first) - a game that she'd bought herself, not something she found on her boyfriend's computer.

    A couple asked me the other day which system they should buy - XBox or PS2. I asked them what kind of games they had, and the guy said he played pretty much everything. I asked the lady, and she said she liked the 'fun' games, like Mario Kart on the N64. As soon as I mentioned Mario Kart Double Dash her eyes lit up. I've met a gaggle of ladies, from 14 to 74, looking for a copy of Harvest Moon 64 of late - for themselves, their mothers, or their daughters.

    The impression that I tend to get of girls buying games (from my experience behind the counter) is that they don't tend to know anything about the games, and so they stick to what they know. If they're getting something for their boyfriend, they'll ask me for advice, or pick out a few things and get them (or, they'll ask the guy and get it for him). If they're buying for themselves, they tend to stick to games they've played already. I don't make a habit of asking people who their games are for, but when I ask girls if the game is for them/if they've played it, the answer is usually the same for both questions. Maybe it's coincidence.

    Most of the 'girls' (and ladies) that come into my store alone are looking for (or looking for something for) their boyfriends. Most that come in with their boyfriends/husbands stand around bored to tears. I sometimes want to try and introduce them to the non-blow-em-up games and see if they'd like them, but that would be rather intrusive - 'I see you look bored, can I find something to sell you?' just doesn't go over well. Still, I'm willing to wager that every girl that comes into my store could find a game somewhere on my shelves that they would like. I'd pretty much guarantee it. But they don't bother to look, because they're not interested. And who would with front runners like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and the like?

    To sum up, girls that I meet generally stick to games they know they like and have played before (a sensible attitude in this era of shitty overhyped games), as they seem to have this idea that they won't like any games, with a few exceptions (which may be true). Perhaps it's just a matter of 'girls don't like games' that girls are beginning to get over. Who knows?

    Probably, the girls do. But no one seems to ever ask them.

    --Dan
  • I'd bet that the reason most women have such different tastes in games isn't because they're female and think all that much different but because they haven't been the target of gaming promotions and thus haven't done as much videogaming.

    When I was a kid that's all my friends and I wanted to do. My sister, on the other hand, wasn't interested. So now I've got a decade or so general gaming experience and she has relatively none. If she decides to start playing games now she'll want games that are more simpl
    • ...or they might not be interested because skating games are boring as shite. :)

      Seriously, though, girls are just people. They all have different tastes. Some people like story games. Some people like sports games. Some people are shooter addicts. Getting girls to play games is really the first step, and once they try one they like, they'll keep buying them. It's not nearly as complicated as most people make it sound.
  • Let us not forget that Game Girl Advance already has ideas [gamegirladvance.com] about how to draw in more women gamers.

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

Working...