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Games Entertainment

Are Game Magazines Turning Into Men's Magazines? 147

KaiEl writes "I was skimming through the latest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (April 2004) the other day when I began to notice a recurring theme: pictures of scantily clad women, both virtual and real, kept popping up. Usually it's not surprising to find one or two skimpy outfits in an issue, but this one seemed crawling with them. I decided to chronicle a list of the semi-nudity in a post on my weblog. What does this surplus of sexy pictures say about the direction of the videogame industry? Is it a reaction to the success of 'male' magazines like Maxim and FHM? Is it a reflection of the video game industry's seeming fascination with the barely clothed female form (see: Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball)? Or am I just a prude who's getting worked up over nothing?"
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Are Game Magazines Turning Into Men's Magazines?

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  • Re:Let me see... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <ieshan AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:55PM (#8584064) Homepage Journal
    Actually, what you point out is just what the poster is talking about.

    There are pictures of semi-naked women which will both catch eyes and excite men looking through magazines and deciding on which to buy.

    The exact same mechanism is at work.
  • It's Just EGM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kanpai ( 713697 ) <KanpaiWai@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:43PM (#8584449)
    Electronic Gaming Monthly did a poll at least two years ago to find their target audience, and found that it was males between the ages of 17-25 or something like that. They conciously made the move to a more male/sexually-oriented format, and actually told their readers about this. Inspection of other gaming mags will show you that they're not all made this way. Like the first person to comment, they're just knowing their audience. 12 year olds read happy Nintendo Power, and big boys who like their nudity read EGM. It doesn't have much to do with games at all.

    However, DOA:X is a good illustration of how the gaming market <i>is</i> becoming more sexually oriented. Mmmm....decline of society...
  • Re:prude - nope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rallion ( 711805 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:22PM (#8584756) Journal
    Stear clear of the sad wankers because if the need to show you some tits to make you buy their mag then their editorial must be shite.

    Now, I don't know the mag in question, or many mags at all, for that matter, but your logic is faulty. The above quote is fine, but you make an assumption -- that they need to put in the hotties to sell issues. Maybe they were doing fine as it was, and decided to add some nudity to boost sales even more.

    I just hate it when people say things like that.
  • by cyberMalex ( 713793 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:13PM (#8585118) Homepage

    pictures of scantily clad women, both virtual and real, kept popping up.

    I noticed exactly the same thing.

    I used to be a subscriber to EGM, but I eventually dropped the subscription because I felt it was taking unfair advantage of the ease with which my hormones are manipulated by random people. It seemed they were beginning to shove out the real gaming-related stuff in favor of more "lowest common denominator" stuff - such as images of the female form in various stages of undress, and I just decided I wasn't getting what I was paying for anymore, so I quit paying. ;)

  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:22AM (#8586494) Journal
    Ignoring the whole issue of whether it's ethical or not to objectify someone...can anyone really enjoy these? I mean, don't get me wrong. I like looking at good-looking underdressed girls as much as the next guy. However, isn't there a point where reading the article, you start to feel silly just because the marketing involved is *so* blatant? I mean, how can you *read* those without looking at yourself and saying "what am I *doing* reading this?"

    Besides, it's not as if anyone who wants porn can't get it. Frankly, given the Internet, it's probably quite possible to obtain porn faster than you can conceivably look at it. Why bother with some random half-assed sexual innuendo in a gaming magazine?
  • Re:Rule #1 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UltimaL337Star ( 641853 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:51AM (#8586632)
    I remember pc accelerator, gawd I miss it. If anyone's curious, I'm quite sure it was shutdown not because of it's much more adult-male oriented content but because of lack of subscriptions. Man it would've had some good articles on dead or alive and bmx xxx... And yes, it did have quite good coverage and cleavage...
  • by Vexware ( 720793 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:10AM (#8586693) Homepage

    People in Europe must think that Americans are complete, sexually-repressed, idiots.
    Living in France, I would not go as far as that, but I have to admit you really aren't far off the truth. Here in France, breasts on television at any hours of the day is a common happening (especially in all the shampoo adverts). When I say 'any hour of the day', I am not hyperboling and you can beleive me, that really is from morning time to prime time television, even when the smaller children come back from school. I think this is what has 'normalized' the view of breasts enormously, and seeing some continually on television when the young children are watching isn't something shocking or surprising at all here. When we heard of the whole 'Janet Jackson's breast' affair, it was something quite comic over here, and when we heard America's legislation to ban live television, the States' population's fear of a breast became something of a joke over here.

    What surprised me, more than anything, were the reactions on Slashdot. Some were comparing the situation to a televisual 'Goatse' -- though in my opinion there is a bit of difference between being taking by surprised by a gaping anus and by a breast (with a sun around the nipple, goddamit!). I don't know if the same numbers apply to the USA, but over here most boys have seen a pornographic film by the age of around 8. I just do not see how seeing a breast on television could be so shocking. Anyway, isn't the Superbowl broadcast in the evening in America? Shouldn't kids who aren't old enough to have seen a pornographic flm yet have been in bed already?

    So, to say it frankly, it is true that most French people think of you Americans not only as warmongers but also as prude maniacs. Though you say this could be the general opinion throughout Europe, I beleive that the United Kingdom does have a lower tolerance of what appears on television than in France or in Germany. In the United Kingdom, the "F word" is censored even at 10 PM, whereas in France we are allowed to hear it as soon as 5 - 6 PM. That is one of the aspects of our liberal censorship policy that I like less of, as I do feel there should be certain regulations to protect what our children car hear on daytime television. I'm 13 and I swear constantly, but perhaps my language would be more elegant had the television not repeated some language so much.

  • Missing the point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stryck9 ( 670369 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:12AM (#8586702)
    Most of these comments are missing the point. If you take a look at the magazine industry, Maxim, a newcomer to the scene, went from 0 to a 6 million circulation per issue in roughly 7 years... this = lots of profit. EGM and Game Pro on the other hand have about 700,000 circulation per issue. EGM has been around for 15 years and the has less than 1/6th the circulation of a magazine that is less than half its age. This equals significantly less profit. Now, the brilliant minds over there probably took note of the meteoric success of Maxim and its ilk, looked at the demographics and saw a pattern, i.e... most people who buy Maxim are in the same demo as the people who buy their magazine. If they make it more like Maxim then perhpas they can get a piece of the 5.3 million more readers Maxim has. This equals more profit. End result, EGM looks more like Maxim. The net effect maybe that hardcore gamers are alienated by the more Maxim like coverage; however, this positions the magazine For the maxim crowd.

    The other misconception here is that games are a male dominated industry, if you take a look at the sales numbers you will see that the top selling game is the Sims. The Sims, sells predominately to a female audience at roughly 70 to 30 split. While Killathon 3 , may get more hype, make no mistake, as games move towards the mainstream, there are and more women gamers. Make no mistake, there isn't a major publisher out there who isn't working on a strategy for women. Industry wise games have to go down that road otherwise they risk imploding and having what happened to the comic industry happening to them.

    In the end the Maxim-ization of EGM not only does a disservice to the industry but to the gamers who got them where they are today as well as the women audience who are expanding the market. EGM should focus on what it does best, cover games, rather than chase a subscriber base that belongs to someone else.

  • by samjam ( 256347 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:55AM (#8586833) Homepage Journal
    Today I cancel my subscription to PC Pro.

    Its a clean UK magazine tarnished only slightly by the odd graphics card advert but this month it comes with a flyer for a "Mens Magazine" complete with samples of the kinds of pictures I can get.

    Well d*rn, I dont buy mens magazines cos I don't want my mind tarnished by the decietful images, and I don't buy deceitful magazines that try to tarnish my mind on the sly like PC Pro.

    I doubt PC Pro will miss my single subscription fee, but I won't miss PC Pro. I own my mind and I try to control what goes into it.

  • by Matrix272 ( 581458 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @11:25AM (#8588614)
    I don't know if the same numbers apply to the USA, but over here most boys have seen a pornographic film by the age of around 8.

    Perhaps this is the crux of the issue. Most boys in the US grow to be 13 or 14 before seeing a pornographic film... although it depends on what you mean by pornographic. Some people define it as simply seeing the full frontal nudity of a member of the opposite sex. Others define it as seeing 2 people engaging in sexually explicit activity (to be blunt, when you see the penis penetrate the vagina, for instance). For the former, I'd say 8-10, but 13-15 for the latter.

    Americans, in general, are more prudish than Europeans. I personally see this as both a positive and a negative. It's a positive because it seems to be working. More married couples now are staying together rather than getting divorced, teenage pregnancy is decreasing, drug use is down, average income is up, unemployment is low (compared to most European countries), etc. It's a negative because I feel it's one of the primary issues that segregates America from the rest of the world. Perhaps if we didn't censor the F word on TV, or allowed topless beaches, we wouldn't have quite as many differences between living here and living in Europe.

    Regardless, parents in the US are more overprotective of their children than any other country that I can think of. They've passed laws to stop all lanes of traffic when a school bus turns on its flashing lights, for instance. One of the aspects of this overprotectiveness is wanting to protect the children from the "evils" of sexuality... thus, the Super Bowl incident.

    If it helps to understand, Americans aren't only overprotective of children. In fact, they're overprotective of everyone, and everything. The main theme seems to be "I know what's best for you better than you do." Ironically, while America is supposed to be the bastion of freedom in the world, this idea of protecting everyone else from themselves is the complete polar opposite of freedom. To protect someone, you do so by placing restrictions on them... thereby destroying the concept of freedom.

    Sadly, I don't think there's a good example of a country that has it right yet. America is too prudish, while other countries place restrictions in other ways... like increasing tax rates for different salaries, or prefering one group of people to another. Hopefully, in the future, we can create a world where each of us has true freedom... I doubt it though.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"