Thursday, October 05, 2006

Life is just a game

I’m trying to figure out why gaming companies are so desperate to attract female gamers they resort to inane ideas like pink Playstations and the Frag Dolls (a group of women hired by Ubisoft to promote women gamers). I can see why companies want to expand their market, but they act like they don’t understand why there aren’t more female gamers.

I’m going to risk pissing off a gaggle of feminists by saying that women in general are likely not disposed to sitting and staring at a computer for huge stretches of time, even if they are having fun. I have played video games in one form or another since my daddy could plop me on a stool in front of a pinball game, and I’ve faced just as much derision for being a girl trying to play video games when the boys around me felt threatened by my mad skillz. But I also got plenty of “cool, a chick who likes video games!” commentary to balance it all out. I have logged many hours at the computer, playing a variety of games from FPS to MMORPG to RTS, and I have enjoyed them all. However, I find I get a wee bit antsy, cranky and impatient if I sit at the machine for too damn long. If I sit down at the computer and get up periodically to do various things, then it doesn’t bother me as much. So I’d have to say that women have too much going on in their lives to sit at a friggin’ computer for 12+ hours a day. I just can’t do it, unless I’m working, and that is a whole different story.

The thing is, when it comes to gaming, some people (male and female) are going to play games while others don’t. Since the gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar market already I don’t see why it matters so much to split the industry in two by gender. Girls play the same games as boys do. Some of them play just as much as the boys. Pink Playstations and feminist guerilla gaming groups aren’t going to change things much.

The gaming industry can develop all sorts of new games that are more tailored to the feminine mind, but I think in the end they are going to find the same problems they have encountered with other games – girls just get tired of them after a certain amount of time, especially teenage girls. Unless you invent a game that actually takes them to a mall and gives them unlimited spending with a plethora of kyoot boys walking around in the background, I don’t think gaming companies will have much success.

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