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New Mobile Gaming Geared For Women 42

Gamasutra has an interesting interview with Kristin McDonnell, CEO of LimeLife Inc. The company specifically targets female mobile gamers, and she talks about what steps they're taking to make sure they reach out to a challenging sector of the market. From the article: "But if you look at the female gameplay preferences, they are very consistent across ages. So, women who play games, if they're kids or even in their 40s, they like to have short play sessions, especially in mobile. They like frequent rewards, they like learning modes, they like to be able to interact socially, they like to be able to customize the experience. And so those types of gameplay benchmarks are really consistent across the ages, and it's really kind of the game mechanic that you might put on top of it."
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New Mobile Gaming Geared For Women

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  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:33PM (#14559453)
    They like frequent rewards

    The only other place I have read a sentence even remotely expressing the same idea is in a scientific study on small, furry animals.
  • Stupid. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ceeam ( 39911 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:43PM (#14559591)
    Women? JPEGs don't play games!
    • In soviet america, JPEGs play you.

      (yeah, i know it was poor).
      Seriously though.

      'female mobile gamers' has to be the smallest marketshare category mentioned today. I predict mediocre, if not lower, sales, subsequent move into mainstream mobile gamer apparel, and then the company will fold.
  • by djsmiley ( 752149 )
    My gf LOVES Zookeeper on the DS....

    She plays for hours,
    She doesn't get rewards (unless a monkey looking like its being electrocuted is a reward)
    She plays it in bed (v.unmobile?)
    and theres no learning mode...

    Go figure?
    On the other hand my bother fits all of the mentioned "attributes" in the articial....

    How about gamers generally are just different? Some like somethings, some like others? Aiming games at girls isn't going to work. The girls play "lads" games because its taking the mickey out of lads (you can'
  • ..they like to have short play sessions
    What? No more neck problems and stiff thumbs?

    ...frequent rewards
    I find bloodshed and carnage very rewarding... to interact socially
    Yeah, if I can kill socially...

    ...even in their 40s
    The closer I get to 40 the more I enjoy random violence and gratuitous gore... I can't possibly be alone in this

  • No guys allowed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by springbox ( 853816 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:54PM (#14559734)
    So, women who play games, if they're kids or even in their 40s, they like to have short play sessions, especially in mobile

    Thanks to whoever came to such an insightful conclusion. How about everyone just makes games that don't suck in general instead of trying to get rich off of them? There is no possibility that any male gamer could also not desire games that are easy and fun to play on their *mobile phones*! As if each game currently available for these devices was aiming to be a MMORPG.

    Another thing that I've noticed is that most of these "girl games" are no different from the games "everyone else" plays with the exception of the addition of stylizied or cutsey graphics that just somehow assume that every female in the world can identify with or is missing from their current games.

    It would be nice to see more games that are not only fun but everyone of all ages regardless of their personality can enjoy. I think Nintendo is a good example of this. I often dislike these types of movements in seemingly trivial areas such as entertainment when their energy could be better used to beating the out a lot of the old prejudices from other corners of our culture rather than perpetuating stereotypes. Solitaire: Now for women! FEATURING 100% more pink and every card has hearts on it! What was wrong with the old, and seemingly neutral solitaire? Too "masculine"? Whatever.

  • It's a good step forward to try to characterise what girls would find interesting or attractive in a game. Most of the games I currently own are of no interest to my wife, although she has tried many of them. There is a huge untapped market out there (over half the population) that I hope becomes more involved in video gaming. There is no reason why video games couldn't become a social activity for both genders at gatherings, instead of just guys. Board games have long been successful at including both
  • My girlfriend only plays three games (two i expected, the other not so much): Burnout 3 on Xbox , Ninja Turtles on Gamecube, and of course DDR.

    Ninja turtles I expected. It makes sense for somebody who's by no means a 'gamer'. Pretty easy with tight, fluid, and (most importantly) simple control. You can play with a friend and just march through a map beating up ninjas with the A button.

    Burnout I didn't expect so much. She's been addicted to that game for months. But not the races, just the crash mode.
  • by Oniko ( 865215 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:22PM (#14560127)
    If I see a game as being marketed specifically at females, my initial response is to avoid it like the plague. Barbie Horse Adventures, anyone? I'll take Morrowind, Cod, WOW, civiv, starcraft.... you name it, anyday.

    That said, there are differences (be they biological or social) between the average male and the average female gamer. But I think that one of the biggest is that even a reasonably dorky and hard-core gaming female, like myself, tends to be repulsed by or at best "tunes out" the sophomoric sexuality present in many games. I'm used to it now, and I'm not a prude by any means, but it still breaks the spell of, say, Morrowind, to find a random strip club. And Ivy from Soul Calibur is an awesomely powerful high tier character, but no physical person could move let alone fight with that amount of jiggle and wedgie. Back in middle school I actually stopped playing Duke Nukem because I found the strippers annoying as all hell, though I found the rest of the humor quite amusing.

    Like I said, I'm used to it now, but trying to get females into buying games is made much more challenging by the alienation that stems from games seeming to be aimed at males only. This is due both to game design and gamer culture. A game that prominantly features boob jigglage and the lan party asshat asking who your boyfriend is since you obviously can't be there to play games yourself tend to be major buzz-kills.

    I just think most females would gladly play the same games as males, if there wasn't that initial alienation. Luckily there's an awesome group of folks at my school who I can play COD, Soul Cal, WoW, Starcraft, or Karaoke fucking Revolution with if I so choose (and have time).

    And now I return to my tech desk job repairing computers. That's the other thing. If someone actually taught these sorority girls how to actually use (and not ABuse) their !$!@#$!@$!@#%@# machines, things would be a lot better for women-in-gaming and for me in the specific.

    ....but even if all the females on campus became tech-savvy, we'd still have had the guy with the canine bukkake videos...

    • Karaoke fucking Revolution

      Hmm...I think I really must look into that particular game a little further... :D
    • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:09PM (#14560671)
      If I see a game as being marketed specifically at females, my initial response is to avoid it like the plague. Barbie Horse Adventures, anyone?

      No kidding. But it doesn't matter if the game's "for girls" or "for Hispanics"; anything that starts out by trying to pander to a given group ends up sucking. Genre novels that are "for gays" or "about a black detective" suffer from the same thing.

      My local paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, went through a phase where they introduced a bunch of what they clearly saw as "niche-market" comics. "La Cucaracha" was meant for the Hispanic audience, and then they tossed in the gawdawful irony-for-the-irony-impaired "Mallard Fillmore" to placate the right wing, and so on. They all stunk. I don't care if the strip is conservative or liberal; it should try to be funny though.

      But you're right:

      one of the biggest is that even a reasonably dorky and hard-core gaming female, like myself, tends to be repulsed by or at best "tunes out" the sophomoric sexuality present in many games

      I have 12-year-old twins, one of whom is a girl. Even within fairly innocent titles, my daughter's choices among the female characters are invariably dressed head-to-toe in latex, or baring their legs up to their ribcage, or (worse) channeling "My Little Pony" commercials. The Jedis all seemed to want to dress like Leia as Jabba's slave girl in Jedi Academy. "Princess Peach" plays her Mario Tennis in a short skirt, iirc.

      As a parent, it's hard to find games that don't throw that in your face.

    • sorority girls make the world turn
    • and yet no mention of the mostly bare chested steroid guzzling super men with six packs on their six packs that accompany Ivy in Soul Calibur 2.

      You, ms, are a sexist.
      • To Quote Morgen Webb of X-Play "When Men's flowing hair mechanics are just as important as breast jiggle mechanics in video games, then, and only then, will we have achieved equality!"
      • Homoeroticism in games does not exist for the purpose of the females. It exists for the men. This is why wrestlers wear skimpy bikini underwear while flexing their muscles, and why action stars of the 80s never wore a shirt to combat (Rocky, Rambo, etc). They flex their oiled muscles for adolescent boys, who consider these body types to be role models for themselves. Yes, it's homoeroticism. No, it's not eye-candy for girls. I'm sure there are books written on this subject if you take a few minutes to searc
        • I dont remember having homosexual feelings for Arnie...

          Anyhow whether your comment is true or not doesnt really change things.

          If the men are eye candy for the women, then she should complain about them as much as the female characters.

          If the men are acting as macho models for other men then she should complain about them as being just as made for male players as the female characters.

          Doesnt matter which sex the characters end up being made for if they were supposed to be built for both sexes. I.e. if you ha
      • >>>and yet no mention of the mostly bare chested steroid guzzling super men with six packs on their six packs that accompany Ivy in Soul Calibur 2.

        Are they wearing thongs like Ivy?

        I don't mind video game girls having large chests or anything like that, I just want them to wear clothes that are realistic for what they are doing. I didn't mind DOA Beach Vollyball because swimsuits are realistic for beach vollyball, but Ivy's leather thong leotard thing looks like it would be painful to walk in, let
        • 'Are they wearing thongs like Ivy?'
          Um yeah Voldo does.

          Ivy's a dominatrix character. Shes taller than the other women, has a whip, her moves are suggestive, her costume is made to match that. Go to the right sites *ahem* and youll find there are real women wearing similar without any 'jiggle' or 'wedgie' issues.
          If your asking for a functional costume then everyone in the game would be in nightmare/seigfried like armour.

          The outfits in Soul Calibur are fine they fit each character perfectly and if your particu
    • As a matter of fact, Barbie Horse Adventures scored an all-time-low on (a meta-ranking engine), I rented it just out of pure machochism. It was actually so bad it was funny, but it *did* require like 5 tequilas before it started being funny. I guess that's rigth out for the target audience.
  • Personally, I despise learning modes. If you're game is so complicated that I can't pick it up and figure it out as I go along, I'm not interested. And I can't speak for all women, but my wife also hates learning modes. She was even a little put off when the pink team in Sonic Heroes was the only one that had a learning mode. She considered it a bit condescending that the only team in the game that developers felt needed to be told how to control the characters was the team geared towards female players
    • I think that it depends a lot on the type of games. For platform games, FPS, puzzle games, etc. I think that learning modes are generally pointless.
      There are certain genres that benefit from a learning mode. RPGs for example usually have a (skippable) tutorial that lets you learn the various aspects of the system. Since the systems tend to be deep it's helpful to get an overview. Other games like the Metal Gear Solid games, Tony Hawk series, Resident Evil 4- to name a few that stick out in my mind- ma
  • by reachums ( 949416 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:26PM (#14560183) Homepage
    As a girl, and a gamer, I'm mildly insulted. I play WoW and I played UT and Counterstrike. I like "boy" games. I love FPS. I love MMORPGs. I play the little quick games they say girls like, but more as a time filler than anything else. "I've got 5 min before Star Trek comes on. I'll play Text Twist!" As for colors, I prefer Reds and Blacks to Pinks and Oranges. Maybe it's the Goth in me, I don't know, but "Girly" colors just don't appeal to me. I know the statements made weren't supposed to be stereotyping girls but they were. Why should solitaire with random AI girls be anymore fun than regular old solitaire? Solitaire isn't a social game; that's why it's called solitaire, and not socialtare. At the same time I know my sisters would rather play solitaire with purses and kittens on the cards than spades and clubs. What they say isn't all ridiculous but it only feeds a stereotype that women have been fighting against for years.
    • Very true. I know other females who would prefer it, too. Wtf.

      I made a comment earlier about a LAN party where some asshat asked who my boyfriend was, as I obviously wasn't there for my own gaming sake. Later on at that same LAN, a bunch of females, the girlfriends of some of the guys playing, showed up. A few of them sat down at the computers for a short while for the apparant purpose of acting cute, stupid, and gigglishly incompetent, laughingly telling their boyfriends how they could never play these g

      • did you promptly beat the living shit out of them?! I hate girls like that, they give us all a bad name. We are just as capable as the boys! It's not like it's a "Write you name in the snow" contest! I'd loose at that, I've got no chance of winning! but video games don't require a penis! girls can do just as well as the boys. the only problem I have ever had playing a video game was because I have double jointed thumbs so console games can be a pain after a while, that's why I'm a PC gamer.

        I like
      • Did you beat the pants off of said asshat in his preferred game? If so, /salute
  • I think the goal should be to create games that are universally appealing.

    The Nintendo DS has quite a few titles out that I could see just about anyone playing. [Trauma Center, Mario Kart, Advance Wars...]
    A few of the DS titles while cute, [Animal Crossing, Sprung, Zoo Keeper] weren't specifically designed for female players, yet we hear the stories of boyfriends having their copies stolen by their girlfriends..

    I've played one game that was specifcally designed for girls to play - Nancy Drew message in a ha
  • Screw woman. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by neo ( 4625 )
    I want a game like that. Jesus, what's it going to take to get decent games where I don't have a freaking gun in my hand?
  • Ehh, I guess I'm a girl, then. After all, I like games which are customizable, and I like games with a lot of social interaction. There's a reason I pretty much only play RPGs, most being MMORPG.

    It's a bad idea to say you're marketing a game at girls. Make different types of games, and market them because they're good, not because they're appealing to a specific niche. You might find that the niche you're aiming for hates the product, and you might just as easily find that there's a completely unexpected ni

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