Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Women Play Games, Too (But Probably Not the Kind You're Thinking Of)

Those good people in Cambridge at MIT's TechnologyReview.com (one of my daily reads) have an interesting piece today about women and video games. Apparently, we're a largely untapped market. This doesn't surprise me, given how many games (such as the controversial Grand Theft Auto) are aimed squarely at young men.
The data on who plays games are actually quite consistent -- men account for 70 percent of the players of games written for consoles (such as Xbox and PlayStation2), says Schelley Olhava, an analyst with the research group IDC. "Those numbers have changed little in the past seven years," she says.

Women could be a rich area for growth -- if the $10 billion video game industry figures out what games they want. But their point of view often goes unheard.

"There's no question that we need more diversity," says Justin Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association. "We're saying that we need to grow the business and broaden the audience and yet the game creators are still mostly young white males."
As the mother of a young son who's not yet particularly interested in the more pneumatic sort of woman, I mostly encounter games that appeal to both sexes and all ages. In fact, my favorite video game of all time (for now!), cuts across all lines--it's addictive to anyone who picks up the controller.

There are some signs of change, however incremental. Although the market for more GTAs will no doubt remain strong, as the article states, this isn't just about ideas of "fairness" or "equity," it's about that all-important motivator: profits. There's a reason The Sims has become the best-selling PC game of all time--the audience is as broad as possible. Meaning that even broads like to play it.

I'm one of those broads who like to play. Any game company out there interested in my money? Come on, girls--let's get programming!


Anonymous Kristine said...

I like video games too...especially racing games -- those are fun! We're a rare species...

2:06 PM  
Blogger Mr. Liberty said...

I think there would be more interest among the ladies if they had more video games like "Easy Bake Oven" and "Donny Osmond Kisses You".

Although I read somewhere (back there two words) that Condi Rice's favorite game is "Blow Up The World".

So it's hard to tell.


3:28 PM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

I would love it if we weren't quite so rare a species, but it's true that I have little interest in a lot of what passes for "gaming" these days. No, I don't want to be a hitman or pimp or car thief (or ho, for that matter). Not that I want to deny anyone else his games, I just want a little more variety.

Although that Condi Rice game sounds intriguing....Oh, wait--I think that's the real deal, sort of like playing "Global Thermonuclear War" in the movie War Games.

8:25 AM  

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