Thursday, October 22, 2009

Girls & Video Gaming

As of late it has become quite trendy for girls to be considered a gamer.  At least that’s what corporate video gaming world entities like Xbox would like you to think.  On Xbox Live they heavily promote the idea via short shows like Girls Go Geek, Felicia Day’s The Guild, and host Trixie360.  Just type in pink Xbox 360 and you will find plenty of options for pink peripherals for your beloved Xbox.  So we know they’re out there.  But the reality of it is I think it’s more similar to my own experience.  Yes more girl gamers are out there but it’s not the same as what we consider a boy gamer or gamer in general.

I have managed to get my wife on occasion and my 14 year old daughter to play video games but it’s a whole different “session” than when I play by myself or with my boys.  The boys who are 15 and 11 years old are probably the what is considered the typical type gamer.  We load up on a regular basis Grand Theft Auto 4, Guitar Hero, Gears of War, or Call of Duty.  The more awesome the and over the top the game is, the more fun we consider it.  Call it the stroke of the male ego, safe ways to release male aggression, or whatever you like.  That’s what we enjoy.
A hot pink Xbox360!
On the other hand when me and usually my daughter play, it’s more along the lines of UNO, Brain Challenge, and Pac Man Championship Edition.  Doesn’t take a nutty professor to see the difference in speed here.  The girls simply don’t have the need to be aggressive or have their egos stroked every step of the way.  It doesn’t seem to me that they prefer games with more substance but more of a quick diversion and maybe mental challenges as a bonus.

This leads me to believe that boys equals load the game up and “let’s do this” type of attitude and the girls are more “I have some free time, I can play a couple of rounds”.  Once again this is my experience and I think Gavin M. at Kokugamer, puts this subject into great context and is very interesting read.  Check it out over at Kokugamer and let me know what you think.
Standard Xbox 360 controller in pink.

1 comment:

  1. Okay... I'm going to call "bullshirts" on this one. As a girl gamer, myself, of course I recognize that there is a pretty big difference between guys who game and girls who game. As a whole, the video game industry gravitates toward stroking the male ego and exciting his libido as though we were all still living in the 1980's. Like most boy gamers, the industry has yet to realize that there are girl gamers out there who will stomp you at Halo 3 without a passing thought. However, it is true that many don't go for the shallow humor, spectacular pyrotechnics, or not-so-ceremonial decapitation that many games offer. For myself, I like the game to have substance, character depth, and mess with my head a little (like "The Matrix" [movie] back in 1999, or "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" back in 2003).

    For the most part, you can attribute the lack of serious girl gamers to the industry and society as a whole. For years, everyone has been told that games are an individual thing that should be conducted in your spare time; therefore, not taken seriously. So, you do it when you're not doing anything else. That's the message that gets to a lot of girls. Also, young girls are conditioned to believe that they shouldn't like the things that boys do. Consider seriously for a moment whether you let your daughter wrestle in the yard around age 5 or 6 or that you told her to knock it off before she gets her dress dirty. When you were gaming while your daughter was young, who did she see you playing with? Did you play more with "the guys", did you invite your son to play with you versus your daughter, or did you invite your wife to play with you occasionally?

    Now, take a step back and consider very carefully why there aren't very many girl gamers. Why would the industry want to start attracting the fairer sex? Money. Young women aged 16 to 24 are still the audience that can shift the market on a whim. We have the buying power and they want a piece of that pie. It makes sense that manufacturers and ad agencies would want to draw us in, but developers need to do a better job at making games that have a wide audience base instead of thinking that girl gamers don't really exist, like you do. I mean, was anyone else seriously satisfied with just 6 hours of single player campaign on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Halo 3 ODST?