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Finding the Computer's Feminine Side

With so much evidence coming out of recent suggesting that more and more women are getting involved in gaming, developers are starting to focus more attention on that specific demographic, and so they are actually starting to really think about what women want in a videogame and what they'd really want to play. At a videogram trade fair in Germany, women are getting even more attention focused on them.

From the article:

The industry will have to learn to think differently if it wants to reach the female customers of the future, Kelley says. In her experience, girl gamers display three characteristic features: Girls prefer to play in groups rather than alone, as products like the karaoke game "Singstar" show; girls prefer to play gentle games like "Nintendogs", which involves caring for virtual canines; and they like to play during their spare moments or when they're going somewhere, explaining the popularity of the mobile mini console Nintendo DS, which has users who are 44 percent female.

Studies by the US market research firms Yankee Group and Parks Associates confirm the trends identified by Kelley. According to their information, there is one market segment where female customers actually outdo their male counterparts: It seems that playing games on mobile phones is a particularly female hobby. In the United States about 60 percent of the people who play games on their mobile phones are women.

Read the rest of the article over at Spiegel Online

Interesting article, and

Interesting article, and good news knowing that publishers/develoeprs are thinking a little outside the gamekiddie box. The statement "Girls prefer to play in groups rather than alone, as products like the karaoke game "Singstar" show" is a bit confusing... does it imply that the mere existence of the product proves this point, or are we to assume that the product's existence proves that they must have done some market research?

I think to reach women gamers, they should never go out to create "pink games" or "chick games", because that may just end up seeming patronising and insulting. Rather just create content that does not exclude women. Saying "women play this / women play that" is not the way to go either.

My wife came into our marriage despising the thought of games. Her image of games were thoughts of 14 year old brats who drool over scantily clad polygon-babes. And I can't say I blame her if you look at a lot of the crap out there.

Now we play games regulary. We started with adventure games, and played through a huge pile of them. Now... during this I could well have said "women like to play non-confrontational thinking-type games", but then she discovered The Battle for Wesnoth... free and fun, but certainly not non-confrontational, and still I could have said "yeah but women don't like action games".

Then I showed her Morrowind and I am a bit more enlightened now. While the game itself gives her horrible motion sickness, which she overcomes by drinking lots of Ginger-beer (bargain motion potion), she has taken to playing this and seems to enjoy it more than most other titles in the collection. Now... with my previous incorrect assumptions about what women like based on her I may have thought that her character she created is all about avoiding fights... this is certainly not the case. She cares less for the story, and loves to go tomb-raiding and "cleaning clocks" as she puts it. I have created a monster.

Next one I want to show her is KOTOR.

I don't think the solution is to create games for what we think is the market, because then we'll end up with these self-fulfilling stereotypes where we'll say "girls love to play duck-petting games" because all there is for them to play are duck-petting games. Quack, chomp, ouch. The fact is there are many games out there that women already would enjoy... it's just in how these are marketed, and how women are portrayed in those games where these go wrong. If they already see themselves as excluded before even seeing a game itself, there's no way they'll want to ever look at the game.

And for God's sake, get rid of the whole freakin' E3 "Booth Babe" concept.