Silicon Sisters Interactive CEO and co-founder Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch believes that the games industry does not know how to create games that satisfy female customers. Gershkovitch co-founded the Vancouver-based studio last year in an attempt to address the gulf between the rapidly growing number of female gamers on smartphones and social networks, and the lack of products that they want to play.
"I think there are different levels to what you can offer," Gershkovitch said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "What we've seen is a fairly superficial offering where, in the absence of truly understanding what women want in terms of game mechanics and connection, what we're getting is a female wrapper around a game that's really designed for men."
The studio opened its doors after Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes, conducted 6 months of research. From this research they created a "bible" of sorts that Forbes calls "the DNA of the company."
"The bibliography on that is probably 20 pages long. There are an enormous number of academic studies that cover tiny slices of female play in all kinds of different ways. We compiled all of that together and saw certain trends emerge."
"It took 30 years to really perfect the three things that males seem to really love, which are shooting, and driving, and sports. And those are absolutely kick-ass games now, and you really have to sit back and go, 'What is the equivalent for girls? And please God, don't let it take us 30 years to get to as high a quality level as that.'"
Silicon Sisters' first release – the iOS game School 26 – was targeted at 12 to 16 year-old girls, and featured mechanics based on empathy, peer pressure and other aspects of the social experience of high school.
Forbes says that the challenge that the industry faces in creating new forms of gameplay for its female customers shouldn't be underestimated.
"When you look at the visceral thrill of shooting and what it gives men, looking for the equivalent of that in women is non-obvious, and I believe it's going to be more subtle."
Read the whole interview here.