In a six minute interview with Joystiq, Irrational Games boss and lead on BioShock Infinite Ken Levine talks about why it is important to not be afraid of using topics that some might consider controversial as vehicles for a story. In BioShock Infinite, Levine has weaved a narrative around a number of belief systems and ideals, and all of these things come together in the floating city of Columbia to create tension and drive the narrative.
In what has to be a record take-down of a questionable piece of marketing, Square Enix pulled a Facebook app promoting Hitman Absolution two hours after it was deployed after a scathing report from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The company later apologized for the app. The trouble began after RPS wrote about how "Hire Hitman" app allowed users to target and assassinate their Facebook friends, complete with death threats to your intended target.
Yesterday, Jean-Maxime Moris, co-founder of the studio behind Capcom's upcoming action game Remember Me, explained to CVG why the game's protagonist is a mixed-race female.
"We wanted [Remember Me lead] Nilin to stand out. I think these sort of issues become self-fulfilling prophesies; people saying that only white males sell so then everyone only does white males."
Kotaku has a short article chronicling the Twitter hashtag #1reasonwhy, which has served as a rallying point over the last 24 hours or so on what women in both the video games industry and their female counterparts in games journalism have to put up with and why there are not as many women in both fields.
Some poor guy that dressed up like Master Chief to give a presentation on behalf of Microsoft's Xbox 360 launch in Israel called games other than Halo - and no doubt other than Halo 4 which releases today in regions around the world - girly. Besides being a poor choice of words that will likely be construed as misogynistic and sexist, Master Chief may not realize that a good portion of the military in Israel is comprised of women. Oops.
A new print ad from Sony Computer Entertainment France is getting some attention for pushing the boundaries of sexism to promote the company's PS Vita hand-held. The ad (pictured left and courtesy of MCV) shows a female body with four breasts and compares those four breasts to the PS Vita's front and rear touch screens.
The tagline for the ad is "Touch both sides, twice the sensations."
Some are chalking the ad up to what is acceptable in French advertising and cultural standards.
EA Sports is warming up to the idea that female athletes deserve more time in the spotlight. The company has already taken steps towards supporting more women athletes, announcing that its next hockey title NHL 13 will feature women's hockey stars Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero. EA Fans are also doing their part to further convince the company that women deserve more exposure in their games: FIFA fan Fernanda Schabarum has started an online petition to ask EA to add female characters to the series. And since EA is being receptive on the topic, it listened.
While it's not much of a shock, it is still a good sign that Madden as a franchise is strong at retail and as popular as ever with consumers. Electronic Arts claims that Madden NFL 13 has managed to sell-through 900,000 units in its first 24 hours of release. The company said that the number represented a 7 percent year-over-year increase on HD platforms. Madden NFL 13 also set a day one online usage record with a 28 percent increase in peak simultaneous users over last year’s first day.
The official Twitter feed for the country of Sweden, @Sweden is being handled this week by Naseer Alkhouri, a game developer who describes himself as a "homeopathic swede" that "develops games for a living." Sweden has a policy of letting its citizens "guest-star" every week to speak their minds.
While having a super casual mode for your game is a great idea, what you call it in private can sometimes seep out and cause you a headache if you are not careful. That is exactly what is happening to Gearbox Software this morning after a Eurogamer report called a new super easy skill tree in Borderlands 2 "Girlfriend Mode." The offense comes from the inference that "girlfriends" are somehow not very good at games (or not very bright) and need a special skill tree to help them along. Gearbox is basically being accused of using a misogynist term to describe the mode.
Speaking to IGN, Sony Santa Monica Design Manager David Hewitt revealed that God of War: Ascension will not feature violence against women. Hewitt said that the development team listened to some critics who pointed out that the game's E3 trailer was ultra violent.
Zynga is loaning several of its developers to create a social charity game on Facebook. Development on a "social action" game based on the book Half the Sky by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is well underway according to GamesBeat.
The book is about "turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide." The game will be released on Facebook on November 13.
Way back in June we detailed the trouble Anita Sarkeesian ran into after launching a Kickstarter for a video series called "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games." Despite the negative and frankly inappropriate feedback to the Kickstarter, the project generated $158,922 in funding. The original goal was $6,000.
Feminist Frequency, a web series run by Anita Sarkeesian that explores “representations of race, gender, sexuality, class and ability in popular culture,” launched a Kickstarter campaign a few weeks back for a new series of videos entitled Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. The project will examine and comment on female video game character stereotypes throughout gaming’s history.
The White House Council on Women and Girls will host a Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) event tomorrow (April 24) moderated by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The panelists will share their experiences and encourage young women to follow in their footsteps or blaze a trail of their own. The event will also include the first public screening of "Girls in STEM," a video featuring girls who participated in the 2012 White House Science Fair.
We're not sure if it's right or wrong, but Nival Interactive says that it plans to offer female players discounts and incentives to join a team and play its upcoming online strategy game, Prime World. This kind of gender preference is usually exclusive to things like dating services, and bars that host ladies night... Female players will pay less for virtual characters, and teams formed of men and women will receive bonuses.
Sony Online Entertainment sent along a reminder to let anyone interested in applying for the fifth annual Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Game Design Competition, that submissions are now being accepted. The G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition is an annual initiative to promote higher education among women and encourage their inclusion and participation in the video game industry.
Deborah Thomas, CEO and President of Silly Monkey, LLC (a training company specializing in training games and business simulations) and President of the Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA), plans to launch the first chapter of Women In Gaming International (WIGI) in the Eastern United States by convening the first meeting at Battle & Brew Food and Games, 279 Powers Ferry Road - Suite H, Marietta, Georgia on January 16, 2012.
Women in Games Jobs announced that its inaugural European Women in Games Hall of Fame awards will be launched at the European Women in Games Conference taking place on September 22 at the NH Harrington Hall Hotel in London, England. The awards are sponsored by Electronic Arts and honor the contributions of women to the European game industry. Women in Games Jobs (WIGJ) is a not-for-profit company that works to recruit more women into the games industry by promoting role models and giving encouragement and information.
Nominees for the inaugural Hall of Fame award in 2011 are:
Maybe someone is doing something wrong? According to a survey commissioned by (of all people) Doritos, 84 percent of women gamers said they enjoyed playing games more than any other activity including sex (70 percent), working out (62 percent), shopping (71 percent), and takings baths (75 percent). Nearly one in five female gamers (17 percent) also admitted they play online games in bed.
The survey also founded that Women play online games for longer periods of time than men. Participants said that they spent an average of 3.5 hours playing online games each week. 23.1 percent of women's time online is spent gaming, compared with 22.3 percent for males. The survey of 2,052 people found that 49 percent of women play online games, almost matching the percentage (50 percent) of men that game online.
The survey was commissioned by the snack maker to coincide with the launch of its new Facebook game, Doritos Dip Desperado.
Silicon Sisters' co-founder Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch believes that the video game industry still has a long way to go when it comes to figuring out what women want from video games. Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz from the company's Vancouver studio, Gershkovitch said the higher proportion of female gamers on platforms like the Wii and Facebook is a good thing, but still feels that women are still being short-changed when it comes to gaming experiences that fully appeal to them.
"There are a lot of examples of successful games in the casual and social sphere that are connecting with women," she said. "We know the numbers: over 50 percent of casual players are women, and some people are saying that on Facebook it's closer to 70 percent so, clearly, they are connecting. But how deeply? And how much are they playing?"
Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford is not worried about feminists or other activists groups taking issue with the company's saucy first-person shooter, Duke Nukem Forever - in fact he encourages them to use it to their advantage if it will promote their cause. Speaking to Eurogamer at length, Pitchford can see both sides of the issue when it comes to Duke's strong personality and questionable behavior.
"I'll tell you what, if some feminist organisation that is doing a great job advocating women's rights worldwide, which I think is really important, can get some advantage by using Duke... go for it," Pitchford told Eurogamer. "How is there a downside for humanity? Go for it. Take it. Use Duke. That would be awesome.
"If anyone can better our world through the use of anything, and if Duke is a tool to help them do that, that's fine," he added. "The people that are entertained... The choices people make are their choices."
The Vancouver Film School (VFS) will present its annual Women in Games Scholarship in January. Full details of the Women in Games Scholarship will be announced at the free Sunday Open House (part of the Game Design Expo 2011) on January 22-23, 2011. The Women in Games Scholarship is a unique financial incentive to encourage opportunities for women pursuing a career in game design. The Women in Games Scholarship, valued at up to $50,000, covers the full tuition for an aspiring female game designer to attend VFS’s one-year Game Design program.
Since the scholarship was introduced two years ago, the percentage of female VFS Game Design students has increased from 2 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2010. VFS call this an encouraging trend for the future of the industry. Female VFS Game Design graduates include Tara Mustapha and Charmie Kim of Microsoft Game Studios, Pamela Livara of XMG Studio, and Melanie Genereux of Longtail Studios in PEI.
While an Atlantic columnist dubbed an advertisement for Call of Duty: Black Ops “twisted,” a fellow scribe at Jezebel defended the ad for prominently featuring female gamers.
Jezebel previously published a column in which the author, unhappy with how games were being marketed to females, offered tips on targeting women gamers. In the new Black Ops-focused piece, Margaret Hartmann wrote that “this ad actually acknowledges that not all of the 5.6 million copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops sold in the first 24 hours were bought by white men ages 18-34.”
Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor attended a celebration in the “videogame capital of the world,” better known as Ottumwa, Iowa, in order to assist in the renaming of a local park from Central Park to Pac-Man Park.
Lt. Governor Patty Judge, noting that Pac-Man would be officially enshrined into the International Video Game Hall of Fame the next day, stated, “As the state’s highest-ranking woman in elected office, I must say I’m hopeful Ms. Pac-Man will get her due here in Ottumwa one day as well, and I look forward to that celebration.”
The embedded video shows the actual moment Pac-Man was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame.
While girls generally prefer problem solving aspects of videogames, they are not opposed to violent content, if it contains humorous undertones.
Student Lotte Vermeulen, of Belgium’s Ghent University, surveyed 983 gamers as part of her study entitled Girls Gaming Versus Guys Gaming. Her results indicated that females played about eight hours of games per week, versus 17 hours for men, but she explained away the disparity by stating, “…games are still looked upon as boys’ toys and that they are mostly tuned to the interests of men.”
Fine, then what do women want in a videogame? Vermeulen reported that women want a game to “be logical and easy to use,” and the combination of keys or controls should “not be too complicated.”
Women tend to give up when the game is not that easy to handle. They are less motivated to sacrifice time to get the knack of the game. Therefore, they mostly opt for shorter and simpler games, such as casual and social games.
Guys looking for a female to game with are in luck, as long as they have a few bucks.
A new service called GameCrush is launching today and boasts a roster of around 1,200 available ladies to game with reports IGN. Guys, called Players, can browse online profiles of the girls, dubbed PlayDates, who can set their moods to “flirty” or dirty.” $8.25 will by you 500 credits, or enough—with tip—for a 10-minute Xbox Live session.
The same fee will buy you six minutes of play in a Flash-based casual game for the PC, which is embedded in the GameCrush website. The price is higher for the PC service because the girls will video chat with a Player while the game goes on, versus the audio only Xbox Live service.
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.