There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

October 15, 2009 -

Videogame marketers still don’t know how to target girl gamers and continue to resort to stereotypes argues an article on Jezebel, which picks apart a recent Wall Street Journal article covering the same topic.

The WSJ article mentioned games like Charm Girls Club, Littlest Pet Shop, Just Dance and Wii Fit, along with a lilac-colored PSP Hannah Montana pack-in, inspiring the Jezebel author to respond:

Some of us like pink, some of us don't. Some of us have all the latest tech, some of us don't. Some of us prefer computer games, some of us don't. Getting the picture? We're all different.

The article details the gaming preferences of a variety of women, and offers up three “fairly obvious” points for videogame marketers to consider: Women gamers are not a monolith, switch up your advertising and when rethinking marketing, start internally.

Citing a Will Wright comment that the reason The Sims did so well with women is that 40% of the game’s development team was female, the author urges:

If you want to attract more women, involve more women in the process of creating games. Hire more women at your organization. Reach out to women who already identify as gamers.


Comments

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

/sigh... The Sims did well because the dev team was 40% women? Really? We know that for sure? Everytime I got to a Senators game they win, clearly it must be because I'm in attendance! It couldn't just be that Wright happened to fall ass-backwards into a game design that seems to appeal to women?

I'm so tired of hearing about this...

I've spent a lot of time on Jezebel and other feminist sites and everytime I hear it it's the same complaint. The reality, however, is that there's a lot of complaining, and very little in the way of clarification. It's OBVIOUS to anyone paying attention that the gaming industry doesn't know what women want from them... And yet nobody will tell them.

For all the belly-aching I've heard and read about this issue, I see absolutely nothing in terms of suggestions on the part of those complaining in terms of what they want. I'm starting to wonder if they even want anything at all... aside from a continuing excuse to complain, that is.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I wish more girls got into gaming, if only because it might force companies to stop putting in implausibly well-endowed female characters into their games which just makes the game feel so much more cheap.

Does market research somehow not work with females or video games?

---------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

 Plenty of women already play games. I'm a woman. I've played games since I was a little girl. Back then I wouldn't have any interest in playing "Bratz Super Babies" and now I wouldn't have any interest in playing "The Gray's Anatomy Game".

How about they find out which games women are ALREADY playing and go from there? Anyone?

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

They want MORE women playing games, not the ones that has the same tastes as males (like my sister that plays CS, Virtua Fighter... And enjoy playing with the mega busty characters...)

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

So, like all women are diffrent, men are all diffrent, why not jsut continue what we are doihng? Pink stuff attract pink-stuff women, and our manly games attract the hardcore women. Done! Yay!

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

If your entry level position is a code monkey, you might not get a lot of women. If you want storyline and quest/puzzle designers, usually individuals who can write a coherent sentence in English, then there are a plethora of females able (and probably interested). I've worked in the games industry (mostly tabletop with some computer game work) for almost 30 years and when I started, women WERE the rara avis. We aren't now.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

::looks at the picture::

I think her monitor is bigger than she is.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I don't know why anyone would need a computer monitor that big. My guesses are

A. It's photoshopped

B. It's a TV.

----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Have to admit I am suffering a bit of monitor envy...

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

What is she playing? Looks like an FPS.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I think she's a ringer.  All that stuff probably belongs to her older brother.

"De minimus non curat lex"

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Sorry but this was bothering me, minimis not minimus.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I'm in Latin 101, does it say "The law doesn't cure..." then it seems confusing. "De" implies a prepositional phrase, but I don't get how "from the small" or "down from the small" could fit into the sentence...

Unless curat isn't "cure,"

Wait a second, hah, now I think I get it. "The law doesn't *care* for the small." That makes a lot more sense. Although, having "-is" instead of "-us" in minimus...wouldn't that imply singular instead of plural?

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Yes cure is one translation of it, curat that is.  Most words like de seem simple with only one meaning when you start latin and then get more complicated.  Adjectives can be translated with an assumed noun, ie malus could theoretically be translated as "a bad man" as it is masculine but has no noun to modify.  As for making it minimis I thought it was suposed to be ablative, because that is usual for de.  As for making it plural, it is now making me think too much about minimus vs minimis, cause there is the aspect of nominative vs ablative, and masculine vs possible neuter as that changes the meaning a fair amount, and the more that I think about it the more I like minimus but I still would have though minimo rather than minimus, but as I mentioned above minimus very well may be an acceptable alterative version that I am simply unfamiliar with.  Anyway this has degenerated into rambling so... ya.

 

edit - rather than liking minimus it more that I enjoy the possible sarcastic double meaning of minimis as it could be neuter for things of masculine for men, buuuuuut that's not really important at all.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

...I am sooo not gonna be ready for my Latin exam tomorrow.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

@Greyon:

See http://onlinedictionary.datasegment.com/word/de+minimus (stating that both de minimis and de minimus are defined as "of trifling consequence or importance").

Also, if you Google-search both variations, you'll get significant hits with instances of both being used.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Actually I had tried google before, and you actually get three times more hits with "de minimis".  After a bit of looking and following your link I think it would be accurate to say that de minimus has fallen into common usage but it is technically incorrect as it is gramatically incorrect.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

"it is as technically incorrect as it is gramatically incorrect"

or

"it is technically incorrect, as it is gramatically incorrect"

Just taking the piss outta you.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Ya wow, that statement wasn't clear at all ><

But you got my meaning.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Completely got it and, moreover, completely agree with it. But that alone ain't no good reason for me not to take the piss outta you.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Why there are so much people studying latin?

I am a speaker of a latin-derived langauge and I never saw a latin class around here... (maybe because to understand stupid small phrases, we can understand with knowledge of our own native language...)

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Well good luck, I was more rambling then anything else, I'd say just focus on what you've learned so far and you should do fine.  The whole sarcastic double meaning bit was as I said was me rambling and because I'm having to do poetry analysis for my current latin class so I'm in that sort of mindset.  But ya anyway good luck.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

You're not the first to be bothered by it, but both "minimis" and "minimus" are equally correct and of equally occurring frequency of use.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Really?  I have never seen de take the nominative before, or if I have I don’t recall it.  Could you point me towards a source that does this?
I am not trying to challenge you, I am actually interested.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Maybe I'm nit picking but she's got her fingers on the arrow keys instead of WASD.  That's a FPS no-no.  Not what I'd expect from someone who would drop that much money on a gaming rig.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

She is looking at the camera instead of the screen.

THIS is a big FPS no-no :P

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

If you want to attract more women, involve more women in the process of creating games. Hire more women at your organization. Reach out to women who already identify as gamers.

As I recall, when a similar observation was made with respect to minority underrepresentation in games and minority participation in game development in an article posted on this very same site, a chorus of voices raised up to sing "If You Want Games with Minorities in Them, Then Make Your Own Games." I'll sit here patiently and wait for those same voices to sing the not at all dissimilar song "If You Want Games with Women in Them, Then Make Your Own Games." 

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Part of it though is that (I didn't read the articles, so this is only my understanding from GP) they aren't talking about under representation of women in games. Rather, it's more a discussion of what kind of games and accessories are marketed to women.

As a female gamer, I really hate that when I go into a gamestore, they look at me and assume I'm there for the pink and the purple handheld consoles with the cooking and assorted Petz games. It partially has to do with the immature mentality of the clerks, but it also has to do with how these things are being marketed.

Which would suggest a need for gamer women in the marketing business, rather than the development business.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

My assistant manager at GameStop is female, and it seems like every 3rd guy or so tries to hit on her.  She's the type that goes to Gwar and MSI concerts, has played silent hill since the PS1 era, and even goes for the old-school platformers every now and again.  And you know, Lizard, she hates the petz games, too.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Poor lady, having to deal with flirtatious advances of the opposite sex. Breaks my heart, it does. Gonna go cry about it in a few moments.

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Yes, because every overly aggressive frat boy bro who thinks he is hot shit and won't take no for an answer is nothing to worry about.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Thankfully, this being America, she can say 'go the fuck away' and/or call the cops on the creepy frat boy.  And if the creepy frat boy stalks her, she can buy a gun to defend herself.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Woah now.  Some of those cooking 'games' are pretty awesome.  Namely, the ones that are virtual interactive cookbooks.  Hell, they even had a good recipe for Welsh Rarebit!

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

"It partially has to do with the immature mentality of the clerks, but it also has to do with how these things are being marketed."

It has to do with how EVERYTHING is marketed.  Gender roles are imprinted from birth, with pink clothes for girls and blue for boys.  If you dress your baby girl in blue or walk her around in a blue push chair, adults will assume she's a boy.  If you dress a girl in blue, other kids at school will make fun of her and say she's wearing boy's clothes.  I know this because I've spent 6 years trying to avoid these gender stereotypes with my own daughter.  So with that amount of indoctrination going on, it's not unexpected that people will assume that women want those pink and purple consoles with the cooking software.  We're all brought up to KNOW that that's what women OUGHT to have.  If a woman doesn't want that, then she's weird.

So it's not clerks' immaturity that's the problem.  It's society's immaturity.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

The author suggests that in addition to gaining a better understanding of women as women, as gamers, and as consumers of games, and improving marketing strategies based on those better understandings "[i]f you want to attract more women, involve more women in the process of creating games [a process which I take to mean game development]."

And underrepresentation wasn't my central thrust. I was merely piggybacking on a previous article concerning a study which suggested that underrepresentation of minorities in games (and in all fairness, I should mention that the study also measured representation of women) created no attractions for minorities to pursue game development as an occupation. I suspect that the author also see a need to attract women to the occupation of game development but may be attributing the need to factors other than any underrepresentations of women in games. But while the routes may differ, the ultimate destinations are, I think, the same.   

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I´m from Mexico, and we couldn´t care less if we are´n playing with mexican characters or not. We like mexican charactes like El Fuerte (Street Fighter 4) or Angel (KOF2001) but is not mandatory for us.

They will look up and shout "Give ROFLCOPTERS to us"... and I´ll whisper "NO". The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

The USC study seems to substantiate that lack of concern with its findings that while Hispanics (their term, not mine) are grossly underrepresented as characters in games, as gamers they still outnumber Caucasians (who are grossly overrepresented).

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Gonna need to see some concrete figures that prove Hispanic gamers out number Caucasian gamers. I mean, since it is being flung around like that.

I am sure that they outnumber Caucasian gamers in heavily populated Hispanic regions, but on the whole, I need proof.

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Then I'd refer you to the USC study which reported that finding. It's their finding, not mine. It shouldn't be hard to find in the archives with use of the "Research" tag (it was covered in two separately posted articles by GamePolitics). As I recall, the articles (if not both, then at least one of them) link to the actual report of the study. 

And, intuitively, I don't find it all that incredulous. There's a better than good possibility that the soon to be conducted census will report, for the first time, that Latinos are the most populous ethnic/racial group in the United States. If indeed there are more Latinos than any other group, it ain't surprising that Latino [fill in the blank] outnumber Caucasian [fill in the blank]. That's simply the law of probabilities. 

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

If you are referring to minorities, then Hispanics already are the largest ethnic group in America. At 15.4% they edge out African Americans who make up 12.8%.

If you are referring to overall, then you are way off. Caucasians make up 79.8% of the populace.

I am going by the US Census facts though.

 

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

You didn't read that table very closely. The percentage of all Caucasians is 79.8%. The percentage of Caucasians excluding Caucasian Hispanics is 65.6%. Moreover, I'd imagine those 2008 estimates are based on U.S. Census information close to ten years old by now, given that the last actual nose-count U.S. Census was conducted that long ago. Don't underestimate the ability of demographics to change with time and circumstances. If the U.S. Hispanic population has quadrupled in the last ten years (not impossible), then they'd be giving Caucasians a close run for the money. And that's without any consideration of the possibility that the percentage of non-Hispanic Caucasians has declined. Furthermore, because there are a potentially significant number of Hispanics who, for any number of reasons, are likely to self-identify solely as Caucasians, the reported number of non-Hispanic Caucasians could probably do with a bump upwards of a few percentile points. Furtherfurthermore, it may be most prudent to use the Census information for that age demographic within which gamers are most likely to appear. What if the percentages of non-Hispanic Caucasians are skewed towards old people down in Florida, wheeling around one of them oxygen tanks, and waiting to die?   

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

If we are just going to dismiss information from sources, then why should I pay attention to the other source?

More over, Even if Hispanics quadrupeled in populace it still wouldn't place them over Caucasians in terms of total populace, because I highly doubt Caucasians stopped breeding this year.

Ultimately, given the best data we have on the subject, it still doesn't make sense that people would claim that Hispanics make up a larger percentage of the gaming populace than Caucasians. I don't really care who outnumbers who in terms of gamers, but I want to know just how this figure was determined.

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I didn't at all dismiss your provided source. I merely pointed out, most saliently, that (a) you were misreading the information with a resulting  inflationary effect and (b) the figures provided are but estimates and hence subject to change once the actual census is conducted. That's what you call "dismissing?"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

No, you didn't outright dismiss it. However if you are implying that going by the data (even with my misintrupation) is not acurate due to population changes, then you might as well have. It is akin to saying, 'that is nice, but it isn't accurate anymore and wasn't that accurate to begin with.' This isn't flat out dismissing it, but at the same time it is.

Second, the study that got those figures (the higher percentage of Hispanics playing video games than Caucasians) came from the University of Southern California, so I find their figures to highly suspect considering the population of that area doesn't reflect the ethnic population of the rest of the US effectively at all.  It would be no different that the University of South Dakota saying minorities are over-represented given the data for that area.

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

But is an undeniable fact that the table is drawn with information from the 2000 census. That's all of ten years ago. I never came up with that fact. That's stated in the table you provided. That's not relevant to an interpretation of the table's information? I think it is. And that's without it having anything to do with a "dismissal."

And if the researchers really got their sample not by pulling sample units from a representative pool but from all the people walking down Figueroa past the Coliseum, then we can both feel free to use their study report to wipe our asses. That's about all for which it'd be worth.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I completely feel it is safe to use that study for TP.

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Which is your prerogative. But I wonder if you make that choice because you have some clear basis in which to sound that decision, such as a demonstrably flawed sample selection process rather than a selection process about which you do nothing more than speculate is flawed, or if you do so because you simply want to do so.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

I made the decision because their study didn't make sense when looking at the data for the entire US population. I also factored in the fact that no games were listed in their study: Did they just grab some at random or specifically pick those that have a certain criteria they were looking for.

Their figures were suspect and lack of any real evidence on their part other than them saying 'This is what we found.' makes it even more suspect.

So, until I get further details from their testing procedure, where they acquired their base population percentages from, and such, then their entire study is a wad of toilet tissue.

"

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Suit yourself. But I'm not convinced that your rejection is based on the most well-thought out scientific principles. To cite but one example, using a comparison of total population (i.e., across all age-groups) when the issue under consideration is gaming (an activity almost certain to be found concentrated within a particular and narrow age demographic) and without consideration of the possibility that within the total populations you are comparing there are likely to be differing population concentrations at varying age groups doesn't strike me as a very exacting comparison. Rather, it strikes me as you comparing apples and oranges. But if it works for you, then who am I to judge? Again, you gotta suit yourself.

Re: There’s More to Girl Gamers Than Pink and Sparkles

Then we agree to disagree on the subject then. No harm, no foul.

"
 
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