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A Perspective From a Pro Female Gamer 101

Via Kotaku, an article at the SF Gate website about the game industry's interest in female gamers, and said gamers' proficiency with aforementioned games. The Swedish 'Girlz of Destruction' pro gaming group is mentioned (much more legit than, say, calender models with console controllers), as is the 'Couples, Computers and Gaming' event at Ruby Skye in San Francisco. From the article: "Lee compares the rush she gets playing video games to her high school soccer matches, and said some women who don't play unfairly equate games with crime and violence. Lee added she's never fired a real gun in her life. She will return this winter to her student life at UC Berkeley, where she is studying environmental policy. Enderle said game developers are still male-dominated, and if game companies want to get serious about recruiting women to play games, they need to recruit women to help make the games as well."
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A Perspective From a Pro Female Gamer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2006 @12:55PM (#16824904)
    Enderle said game developers are still male-dominated, and if game companies want to get serious about recruiting women to play games, they need to recruit women to help make the games as well.

    That's all well and good in theory and probably should be followed. But I'm willing to make a little wager that there are FAR more guys interested in game development than women. It's just how it is.

    Kind of reminds me of the whole "women and engineering" thing. They want more there too, but many women just don't want to be engineers.
  • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:09PM (#16825076)
    Personally, I think that the goal should not to be to try to recruit more women into making videogames but to encourage more non-gamers into making videogames; I know that for some people this may seem to be equilivant but it is not.

    The fact is that the Gaming industry is not dominated by men but is dominated by hard-core gamers who happen to be men. As long as the main focus of development (and press) are games that appeal only to hard-core gamers the market will not expand into demographics that currently do not play videogames. A women who doesn't play videogames because they're overly violent and believes that they're childish will likely not pick up Gears of War II: Geardom even if it is designed by a woman; that same woman might pick up The Sims 3: More Expansions even though it is produced by a man.
  • by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:14PM (#16825154) Homepage
    Well it is a bit of a catch 22. The industry is male dominated because the games aren't designed with female interests and sensibilities in mind, games aren't designed with female interests and sensibilities because it's male dominated.

    The only way to break the cycle is for someone to go out of their way to break it. Meaning some company somewhere and some females are going to have to place gender above skill and interest to work as a catalyst for change.

    It's not that these female gamers aren't out there and it's not that there aren't female programmers out there. But if they want to start making these changes they're going to have to pick female developers even if they don't fit exact into the position you're trying to fill, they'll have to make the deal sweet enough that female developers who would normally go into a non-gaming industry would be enticed into joining the gaming industry. And most importantly (and this might be hard for some to grasp) they have to actually listen to their ideas once they've become part of the team.

    My girlfriend is an avid gamer, I've heard her criticisms of modern games and to be quite honest it doesn't seem like it would be all that difficult for game developers to make today's games more attractive to female gamers. In fact most of it is quite simple and painfully obvious once you realize it. I have to believe these companies either aren't listening, or aren't really trying.
  • Gals and games? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:26PM (#16825356)
    Okay, so we've got the perspective of a couple female gamers that like... eh... the same games guys play? So if they like the same games as everyone else, how does their perspective actually tell us much of anything about targeting the females that don't like these kinds of games? Personally, I don't think the problem really is coming up with games that target females. From what I've seen, the situation is that most females simply don't care to play video games in general, and the games available won't really change that a whole lot. However, if there IS a key to getting females more involved with video games, it has to be interaction with other real people in-game. I seriously doubt you'll ever get most them to play single-player games, no matter how 'girly' they are. Machines just don't hold nearly as much interest for females as they do for males. As far as I know, there's only one 'real' (as opposed to simple online games on websites, or similar fare) video game that's ever had mass-appeal for both sexes, and that's World of Warcraft. And look at the huge amount of interaction in that game.

    Personally, I'll be extremely amazed if the Desperate Housewives game ever shows itself to be more than yet another Desperate Attempt At Making Money Off A Popular TV Show.
  • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @01:27PM (#16825360)
    Two things. First, the one example you listed of a widely appealing game (the Sims) was developed by, you guessed it, serious gamers. Will Wright isn't enough of a gaming geek for ya?

    Second, expecting people to design games when they don't have a clue what makes a game good is a recipe for disaster. One of the most common ideas espoused by writers, moviemakers and artists is that in order to create something you must also enjoy it. Every good writer is also an avid reader, every good director also watches movies, and every halfway competent game designer is also a gamer. This doesn't just apply to the pretentious artistic fringe either; mainstream authors have said the exact same thing (Stephen King comes to mind).

    Maybe more casual gamers getting into game design would be an improvement. Perhaps a gamer whose ideal was a game like the Sims would make a game that would appeal to non-gamers. But non-gamers as game designers? That's a horrible idea.
  • Next (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @02:21PM (#16826178) Journal
    Stories like this I think are what perpetuates the divide between genders, race, religion, etc
    Continually reminding people of their differences, whether in a negative or supposedly positive manner, is what keeps people focused on being different. Just let people be. This isn't rocket science.

    If companies are worried the game they're making isn't appealing to females, take a look at it. You don't need to make a public spectacle out of it. Take a look at what kind of games DO appeal to the masses. The Sims and World of Warcraft seem to be the two games with the biggest draw. We don't need another mmorpg and the Sims pretty much has its legions of loyal fans that don't play anything else outside of arcade/parlour type games.

    Whats this mean? You're out of luck. Just make the game you want to make and move on. Try to keep the thong platemail to a minimum.
  • Re:Pro Gamers? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2006 @02:36PM (#16826382)
    And what, exactly, skills are needed by a profesional gamer in a "real" game like say... football need. (American)

    Well, running real fast could be useful next time you're chased by lions I guess, but we don't see that many where I'm from. Throwing and catching a ball? Useful training for sports I guess (but that isn't real world!), but the last time someone tossed me something from further away then across a room outside a playing field was... never? What - you make plays? Last I checked the coaches make plays, and even choose most of them. And where else do you get a break every 30 seconds to plan your next move IRL? Nowhere. Simply put, the only thing playing sports prepares you for is... playing sports. This won't help you in any other job.

    What? You lift weights to help with a manual labor job? Nothing about playing video games stops you from doing that, you just don't *have* to.

    The point is that professional gamers, like *ANY* professional sports player is a preformer. For a FPS you train your reflexes and memorize maps. For football you train your muscels and memorize plays. If any skill is more helpful in real life, improved reflexes and hand-eye coordination is more useful for modern life. A profesional sports play is at heart a preformer - they put on a show for you by besting another player or group: like the gladiators of old but with less bloodshed.

    But seriously if you play high school football what does that do for you in a "real" job like doctor, engineer, or lawer? The answer is nothing. Video games? Also nothing, but at least it proves you know your way around a computer, which you'll need for pretty much any job today.

    Professional video gamers just means that people are finally willing to pay to watch (or bet on...) a match of twitch reflexes and FPS strategy instead of strength and football strategy. If people are willing to pay to watch the best CS players in the world, then the best CS players in the world should get some of that money - and getting enough money to live off of makes then professional gamers.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll