From a Session at E3:
Jim: Theres a huge appeal of games for women.
But women are not going to go into stores to
buy a game, however if you put it in the home
and make it easy for them to get.. ok theres
a porn analogy here, but you make it available
to them and they can sample it, its a great
way of introducing them. You have to break the
mould, change the development techniques and
Russell: My wife loves games, and shes my
test case for a long time because shed only
play what I brought home, or ask for something.
She wouldnt go out and buy something.
This speaks volumes for the digital download model.
Gerhard: I disagree. The second biggest buying
group is females, in the UK. Mothers, of course,
they dont play them but they will buy them. I
dont think theres any problem about going into
So you put an xbox playable disk on the cover of
a womens magazine, say.
Jay: Not on the magazine. On the phone. Put it on
a device thats a natural part of their lifestyle.
Jim: Rather than on the magazine, you need word of
mouth, for all audiences. Id say you put in a
segment on say, Oprah. If you have brand association
with people they trust every day, then it works.
The closer you can get it to them while making it
their choice, and also using the social community
aspect, like a friend or like Oprah, then I think
you can introduce women to games if it has the right
elements for them.
Russell: Well for SOE were trying to broaden the
demographics that we attract. Marketing is not my
expertise but were very much trying to open up the
gameplay styles and genres. If we can just create
a rich enough environment
Speaking as a female who's known by name on sight in my local Gamestop, I think these folks are overemphasizing women's reluctance to go into such a store and underestimating the content of their games and marketing.
Those of us who started with MUDs and other text-based games, such as British Legends, Gemstone III or DragonRealms, know to
look past the scantily clad, overendowed females screaming "This is for horny teenaged boys!" from the game ads and boxes. Those women who missed out on those games and didn't wander into them through a significant other or friend have NO idea there's anything to appeal to them in a computer game.
As a frequent beta tester for SOE, I can't begin to count the number of women who have begged, in vain, the developers for a normally proportioned female avatar and clothing that reasonably covered it in SOE's games. Thus, I find it rather amusing to see a SOE rep say their company is "very much trying to open up the gameplay styles and genres."
It's absurd for game companies to have men guessing at what women want, while at the same time totally ignoring what women SAY they want. (Hello? Decent clothing! Normal body proportions for our characters! Hello?) Those few male developers, such as David Gaider of BioWare, developer of SWG: Knights of the Old Republic's Carth romance, who have taken the radical step of asking women and then listening to what we say(what a concept!) have reaped the rewards.