“Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, we can see be­yond the colour of our con­trollers”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Games&apps -

open­ing up games to a wider au­di­ence, there are still some things that haven’t changed.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study by mar­ket­ing re­search firm In­ter­pret, fe­male gamers are feel­ing a bit ig­nored by de­vel­op­ers.

Per­son­ally, I’ve never felt ig­nored, but I have been in dan­ger of be­ing pa­tro­n­ised to death.While some games get it right, oth­ers fail mis­er­ably, whether it’s on con­tent or mar­ket­ing. Frankly, there are times when I’d rather be ig­nored, thanks all the same.

Here’s a shock­ing fact: some women like play­ing video games. And not just “ca­sual” games, like Far­mVille, or fit­ness-themed games for the Wii. And con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, we can see be­yond the colour of our con­trollers. A rub­bish game in pink pack­ag­ing is still a rub­bish game.

That’s backed up by the In­ter­pret re­port; it found 44 per cent of fe­male play­ers like games other than those that fit into gen­res such as ca­sual, mu­sic, and ex­er­cise.

It isn’t news to me that some women ac­tu­ally like to play games that re­quire more than five min­utes of their at­ten­tion. I’ve lost en­tire week­ends to re­ally good games I can’t put down. I know more fe­male World of War­craft play­ers than I do male. Like­wise, I know some men who would rather play a few min­utes of Mafia Wars on­line than give up hours to raid­ing. It’s all a mat­ter of per­sonal pref­er­ence.

In an ef­fort to re­dress the bal­ance of a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, a num­ber of stu­dios have sprung up with the aim of cater­ing to fe­male gamers. Min­nesota-based SieEnt, for ex­am­ple, is de­vel­op­ing an RPG-style episodic game aimed at women.

The ba­sic facts are, we’re not re­ally all that dif­fer­ent to male gamers. All we want is some­thing with de­cent char­ac­ters and game­play. And if you throw a be­liev­able fe­male lead char­ac­ter in, why not try it? It’s not just women who want to see strong fe­male leads in games, you know.

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