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Author Topic: CNN Talks About Online Game  (Read 21425 times)
Morfiend
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on: April 04, 2004, 05:52:21 PM

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/fun.games/04/02/two.virtual.worlds.ap/index.html


They seem to have come to the same basic concluesion as a lot of people in Haemish's threads on this topic.

Quote
By comparison, most MMORPGS charge monthly fees in addition to upfront hardware and software costs. Alan Cates, a 55-year-old Internet marketing consultant and gamer from San Marcos, California, thinks online PC games are better if they appeal to both hardcore and casual players.

"It seems to be a problem for the game designer. What do they do with those that spend 100 hours a week playing the game and those that spend four hours a month?" Cates said.

For the genre to really reach the masses, online games need to broaden their appeal beyond males between 15 and 25, said Sheri Graner Ray, a game designer with Sony Online.


I think most of us agree on this.


Quote
At Electronic Arts, spokeswoman Susan Lusty said the market for massively multiplayer online role-playing games is still in the early stages.

"It's a matter of figuring out the perfect blend of financials and game play that will really propel this style of game play forward," she said.

Most big multiplayer games in the works don't appear to be moving very far from the young male demographic.



Discuss.
Venkman
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Reply #1 on: April 04, 2004, 08:07:03 PM

I actually am surprised they mentioned massive online multiplayer for the console. I thought this piece would be all about that new shiny cool big Everquest game that caused someone's suicide the every-growing-numbers-of-years-ago-each-time-it's-repeated.

As to the emergence of consoles, I can't say I disagree with them.

Quote
Most big multiplayer games in the works don't appear to be moving very far from the young male demographic.


I wonder what gave them that idea?

But I'm really interested in how Star Wars Galaxies failed to get mentioned. How does "Big Brand" plus "Big Company That Brought You The Game we Mention Three Times In This Article" and which is second in the western market right behind that game in subscriptions not yet mentioned?
Sloth
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Reply #2 on: April 04, 2004, 09:40:21 PM

The myth that the female population is an untapped market is ludicrous. Thats like saying makeup companies are not utilizing the male market. I don't care how much you market makeup to guys, they aren't going to buy it.

A game isn't made for males or females any more than a hamburger is made for guys and a salad is made for girls. If you like playing a game then you play it. I'm sure there are girls who think they'll like a game if the graphics aren't bikini armor, but at the end of the day if they don't like bashing monsters with swords or shooting people with guns all the flannel pajamas in the world won't change anything.

By and large every guy who likes games will play a game he thinks is fun regardless of how girly or manly it is. Girls are the same way only fewer of them actually like playing video games.
pants
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Reply #3 on: April 04, 2004, 09:54:25 PM

Quote from: Sloth
The myth that the female population is an untapped market is ludicrous. Thats like saying makeup companies are not utilizing the male market. I don't care how much you market makeup to guys, they aren't going to buy it.


Yes they are.

There are a lot of bored stay-at-home housewives that watch Day of our Lives or whatever, and are gradually gaining access to PCs and the internet.  Whoever can crack that market and produce EverSoap or whatever, is going to make a whole damn wardrobe out of money, not just a hat.
SirBruce
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Reply #4 on: April 05, 2004, 12:30:56 AM

If you don't think there's a large untapped female market, you are either stupid or you don't understand the true market.

It is important to understand that MMOGs are a form of entertainment, just as Movies and Television.  And just as there are movies primarily marketed to appeal to men, so to are those that appeal more to women.  MMOGs are no different.  But if we were in a world where action flicks were the only form of movie and "chick flick" romances and dramas had never been made, one might get deluded into thinking there was no market for movies that appeal to women, because women don't like the content of movies... QED.

They key is making new and different kinds of MMOGs, with more expansive gamepay.  It's probably true that the traditional hack-and-slash fantasy or sci-fi MMORPG may never have over 50% female subscribers, but that doesn't mean other forms of MMOGs can't.  Women already play a wide variety of online games such as puzzle and card games; it is simply a matter of coming up with similar gameplay in a MMOG model that women will pay a monthly fee to play.

One final note: it's important to realize that despite all of the above, there's still a growing demographic of women in traditional MMORPGs.  These are a somewhat older demographic -- 30-40 instead of 18-35 -- and often tend to be guild leaders, event organizers, community activists, and so on.  Many MMORPGs are actively looking for ways to appeal to this segment in their games.

Bruce
Romp
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Reply #5 on: April 05, 2004, 02:55:46 AM

One problem with tapping into both the female market and the mass market I think is that the MMORPG genre has developed from the roleplaying genre in general, and from Dungeons and Dragons and such.

But the average person, esp women, never played Dungeons and Dragons, they dont really think Elves and dragons are all that cool.  Sure there have been some MMOGS that have not come from the sci fi or RPG genres but not many.  TSO didnt do very well but I think it will be a MMOG that doesnt involve elves, classes, levels or even combat that will probably break into the 'mass market'.
eldaec
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Reply #6 on: April 05, 2004, 04:26:27 AM

Quote from: pants
There are a lot of bored stay-at-home housewives that watch Day of our Lives or whatever, and are gradually gaining access to PCs and the internet.  Whoever can crack that market and produce EverSoap or whatever, is going to make a whole damn wardrobe out of money, not just a hat.


That's all well and good, but you need to design a game for these people first. Which is hard. It's difficult enough to convince my mother to play a board game at christmas; simple fact is that not everyone enjoys interactive competitive entertainment. I'm not convinced we can assume it's a universal truth that there is a game for everyone, if only we put enough flowers in it.

The real relatively-untapped-but-also-reasonably-easily-available market in MMOGs is gamers who do not wish to spend over $1000 on a gaming rig. These people are otherwise known as console users.

1) Write massively multiplayer Zelda.
2) Solve the chat problem (probably with a smart implementation of voice chat).
3) Profit!

Forget wardrobes. This is the way to houses constructed entirely out of money.

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Venkman
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Reply #7 on: April 05, 2004, 10:10:05 AM

Quote
That's all well and good, but you need to design a game for these people first. Which is hard

No, it's not. And two years ago, The Sims, and expansions, became the top selling PC game of all time (finally dethroning Myst).

The fact that the online version was a bust hasn't to do with the license as much as the game play did not target the same demographic as the solo one.

Quote from: Romp
One problem with tapping into both the female market and the mass market I think is that the MMORPG genre has developed from the roleplaying genre in general, and from Dungeons and Dragons and such.

That's it, in a nutshell (in my opinion, though that should be assumed :) ). Games like CoH, PS and Eve try to break outside of the core D&D derivatives. While they don't specifically target females, they at least target the not 18 to 24 male crowd. It's a start.

As to the topic at hand, there is also another huge as-yet untapped market: the tween online gamer. This will be the next big thing, given their spending power. I argue this will be bigger than older females alone because particularly the bored housewife mentioned above are responsible with their money and don't "waste" it on "frilly" things "like games".
HaemishM
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Reply #8 on: April 05, 2004, 10:41:43 AM

Quote from: SirBruce
If you don't think there's a large untapped female market, you are either stupid or you don't understand the true market.


Holy Fuck, I actually agree with Bruce.

See, game designers who know their shit and want to make money design games for a certain audience. Marketers then target their advertising efforts at that market. To say that no one designs or should design a game with the female gamer in mind is fucking retarded.

EDIT: I believe I read somewhere (and no I don't have a link on it) that there are a larger percentage of female gamers in MMOG's than in non-MMOG games of the single-player variety. I think the communal/social aspect is the defining reason for that. Mass generalization ahead: Females tend to be more socially-oriented gamers, whereas males tend to be more achiever-oriented.

Paelos
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Reply #9 on: April 05, 2004, 11:31:14 AM

I agree with Haemish on my limited experience in games, I've seen more of a trend of the female players, and not those being played by males, being more oriented towards social gains rather than other pursuits. In DAOC we have numerous females in my guild, and they usually gravitate to helping people out to level, hanging out doing something in groups, and talking to people in chat rather than soloing or catassing artifacts like most of their male counterparts. While small, this experience played over into SWG with more of the female players I ran into were hanging out in social places, talking, crafting, and generally doing the more sandboxy stuff rather than catassing jedi.

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Sloth
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Reply #10 on: April 05, 2004, 11:55:26 AM

Quote from: SirBruce

It is important to understand that MMOGs are a form of entertainment, just as Movies and Television.  And just as there are movies primarily marketed to appeal to men, so to are those that appeal more to women.  MMOGs are no different.  But if we were in a world where action flicks were the only form of movie and "chick flick" romances and dramas had never been made, one might get deluded into thinking there was no market for movies that appeal to women, because women don't like the content of movies... QED.

They key is making new and different kinds of MMOGs, with more expansive gamepay.  It's probably true that the traditional hack-and-slash fantasy or sci-fi MMORPG may never have over 50% female subscribers, but that doesn't mean other forms of MMOGs can't.  Women already play a wide variety of online games such as puzzle and card games; it is simply a matter of coming up with similar gameplay in a MMOG model that women will pay a monthly fee to play.


I don't think you get it. You're talking about content. People gravitate to the content that they like. Which is my entire point. You are looking at the market as separated into male and female. The market is gamers, not gender. Women like to play card games or bejeweled type games. Those games aren't marketed toward women. Women just gravitated to those games.

The same can be said of every other game. You don't have to try and attract females to play your MMOG, they'll play it if they like it. Your comment about making different kinds of MMOGs isn't a way to attract female gamers, its a way to attract all gamers. Why always make Sci Fi or Medieval settings? Why not Westerns or Greek era games? Why not a Hollywood Red Carpet setting? These aren't questions you ask because you are trying to tap into the mythical female market, you try new stuff because you want to offer something new to everyone.

The fact is though most women aren't going to like playing, they like sticking with bejeweled and no matter how much you pander to them they aren't going to change. Just like most men aren't going to start wearing makeup no matter how much you pander to them.
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Reply #11 on: April 05, 2004, 12:01:30 PM

Quote from: HaemishM
Quote from: SirBruce
If you don't think there's a large untapped female market, you are either stupid or you don't understand the true market.


Holy Fuck, I actually agree with Bruce.



Whew- glad I am not the only one! And I do recall reading the same thing about female gamers- This was the closest I could find.

I especially enjoyed this quote from the original article-
Quote
"You have a game where the strength of the game is relying on people to come back to it. No one is going to want to give you $13 a month for 'just OK."'


That should be tattooed on the forehead of every would be MMOG dev.

Edit- here we go again. Don't bother to respond to Sloth- he will just keep responding with the same drivel no matter how many people disagree and prove him wrong.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

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daveNYC
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Reply #12 on: April 05, 2004, 12:02:35 PM

You design your product for your target market.  If your market is female gamers, you take that into account.  Since most MMOGs have been designed with 15-30 year old D&D players in mind, it's no suprise that female gamers haven't been attracted to them.

If you just create something new in the hopes that someone will like it and buy it, nine times out of ten you'll go broke.
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Reply #13 on: April 05, 2004, 12:05:28 PM

Quote from: Paelos
I agree with Haemish on my limited experience in games, I've seen more of a trend of the female players, and not those being played by males, being more oriented towards social gains rather than other pursuits. In DAOC we have numerous females in my guild, and they usually gravitate to helping people out to level, hanging out doing something in groups, and talking to people in chat rather than soloing or catassing artifacts like most of their male counterparts. While small, this experience played over into SWG with more of the female players I ran into were hanging out in social places, talking, crafting, and generally doing the more sandboxy stuff rather than catassing jedi.


Thats not what we are talking about in terms of untapped market though. SWG and DAOC exist and they are made for gamers not women. Are more women getting into gaming? Sure, but thats not because of pandering its because women are making the effort to check out their options.

Its sort of like the discovery of fire. Fire was always there for anyone to find, they just had to find it.

Its all about genre. If you don't like FPS but you like RTS, you aren't going to play a FPS it doesn't matter how they market it to you. Most women don't want to play games at all, the majority of who do like bejeweled type games, and then there is all sorts of crossover from there. There is no untapped female market in that you can convert a non gamer to a gamer unless they want to be.

I'm sure theres lots of people men and women who are ignorant of video games altogether and you can advertise to them and get them on board, but you don't have to change anything in games to do it. You just show them all the options and they'll pick what they like.
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Reply #14 on: April 05, 2004, 12:14:34 PM

Quote from: HaemishM

See, game designers who know their shit and want to make money design games for a certain audience. Marketers then target their advertising efforts at that market. To say that no one designs or should design a game with the female gamer in mind is fucking retarded.

EDIT: I believe I read somewhere (and no I don't have a link on it) that there are a larger percentage of female gamers in MMOG's than in non-MMOG games of the single-player variety. I think the communal/social aspect is the defining reason for that. Mass generalization ahead: Females tend to be more socially-oriented gamers, whereas males tend to be more achiever-oriented.


You just made my point for me. Why are there more women in MMOGs than single player games? Because of the social aspect. Is that MMOGs targeting a specific gender or is it because of the nature of the genre itself?

See, there you go. Gamers gravitate to the content they like. You don't have to design anything specifically for guys or girls. Its just like Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come.
daveNYC
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Reply #15 on: April 05, 2004, 12:31:13 PM

Quote from: Sloth
See, there you go. Gamers gravitate to the content they like. You don't have to design anything specifically for guys or girls. Its just like Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come.

Or they won't.  See Earth and Beyond and Motor City Online.
Venkman
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Reply #16 on: April 05, 2004, 12:56:33 PM

Sloth, you have valid points, and I agree. Devs design games for target play styles, and then filter in content, theme and objectives based on the target age, gender and other demographic data.

Just be careful of stereotypical drivel like this:
Quote
The fact is though most women aren't going to like playing, they like sticking with bejeweled and no matter how much you pander to them they aren't going to change

You might as well spout the same "all gamers are loner nerds living in their parents basement" nonsense.
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Reply #17 on: April 05, 2004, 02:29:09 PM

Quote from: Darniaq

Just be careful of stereotypical drivel like this:
Quote
The fact is though most women aren't going to like playing, they like sticking with bejeweled and no matter how much you pander to them they aren't going to change

You might as well spout the same "all gamers are loner nerds living in their parents basement" nonsense.


I probably didn't word it right. I meant to say that is that females aren't going to like a type of game that they didn't like to begin with even if you pander to them. Of course I could say the samething about myself, all the strippers and matrix fight scenes aren't going to get me to like Myst either. It wasn't meant to be sterotyping it was meant to show basic gameplay trumps the frills.

Assuming you believe the CNN report from a few weeks ago about how female gamers outnumber male gamers based on numbers on Pogo.com and similar sites, then the majority of gamers playing Bejeweledesque  games are female. I think its safe to say these are the types of games females gravitate toward, but they aren't designed as games for women. So it stands to reason that you don't have to pander games to women to get them to play games.
Paelos
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Reply #18 on: April 05, 2004, 02:39:14 PM

I don't know much about Puzzle Pirates, but I thought that the principle might grab hold of a the female market since they gravitate towards these puzzle games. Can anybody who has played it confirm or deny this?

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Hanzii
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Reply #19 on: April 05, 2004, 03:30:50 PM

Quote from: Paelos
I don't know much about Puzzle Pirates, but I thought that the principle might grab hold of a the female market since they gravitate towards these puzzle games. Can anybody who has played it confirm or deny this?


I don't have the hard numbers - if somebody tells Daniel James, who posted once in a while on WTO, that this place exists, he might chime in - but the Puzzle Pirates Beta had the highest percentage of female players, I've ever experienced online.
I give credits to the fact that the game is very social, there's no levels or other RPG crap, there's puzzles, the artwork can't be construed as sexists and is actually pretty darn cute, you can shop for clothing and it's very casual friendly - being a catass won't get you that big an edge (just more fancy clothing).

But any thread where I agree with SirBruce and somebody else is arguing in circles scares me...

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I would like to discuss this more with you, but I'm not allowed to post in Politics anymore.

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NewGuy
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Reply #20 on: April 05, 2004, 04:33:50 PM

Just to try to derail the discussion with a single data point: The *only* computer game my girlfriend has actively played played and enjoyed is KOTOR. I've shown her any number of games, both MMOGs and others but KOTOR is the single game she has actually enjoyed and even talked about plot, characters and strategy when not playing.

Might it just be that girls like quality games too, their treshold is just higher...?

I have a few other ideas too:

- Non twitch game play
- Can play as a female character
- Very cinematographic opening
- Easily identifyable goals (not beeing condecending, that was her  
  suggestion)
- Possible to play without delving too deep into geeky numerical stats
HaemishM
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Reply #21 on: April 05, 2004, 04:51:36 PM

For the mentally retarded in this thread (i.e. Sloth), designers must know their target audience when designing games. They must know the things they like and the things they don't like. If you wish to incorporate "typical" female gamers, there are things you must do. It's all about market research, about knowing your audience.

I'm not arguing that people who play parlor type games are probably not the target audience for MMOG's, or that these aren't a majority feminine audience. I am arguing that most video games in general have not only not catered to women, they've actively sought to create games that typically alienate women. If you design a fantasy MMOG where all women have to seek out a man to marry in order to achieve in the world, otherwise they are stuck as serving wenches and sex slaves, then you will not only not be catering to a female audience, you will be actively discouraging a female audience to play. If, however, your research shows that the typical female gamer is predominantly social and you design a strong social component to the game, you are catering to a female audience.

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Reply #22 on: April 05, 2004, 04:59:12 PM

Quote
Might it just be that girls like quality games too, their treshold is just higher...?


Your girlfriend/wife/sister/daughter/whore are not 'girls'.  They are 'girl'.  No statement at all can be made.

My wife finds planetside her favorite game, but she does not play it because she sucks physically at FPS and the somewhat make her ill.  But it is her favorite game of all time to watch me play.  Does that mean girls like FPS games but only to watch?  FUCK NO.  It means nothing.

You know someone who liked KOTOR. WOW.


As far as targeting women, most games don't, but many games actively target men with violence, and tits and ass.  Our SWG guild has had a LOT more men drop out than women.  Still a pretty small sample size of about 150 since the game began, but of the 100 left I would say at least 30-40% are women now.  We are recruiting more women, and less women are dropping out.  I attribute it to the fact that SWG has more social 'hooks' than material.   Little to 'achieve' in terms of loot and goods, but a well developed social network in the existance of our guild.  Plus when you think of the things there ARE to gain, most of them are clothing or housing decorations.
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Reply #23 on: April 05, 2004, 05:04:13 PM

Quote from: Sloth

I don't think you get it.


I don't think you get it.  You seem to be arguing around in circles now, or using definitions that are just completely different from what everyone else is using.

Quote from: Sloth

You're talking about content.


I'm talking about lots of things.  Content, design, and media classification.

Quote from: Sloth

People gravitate to the content that they like. Which is my entire point. You are looking at the market as separated into male and female. The market is gamers, not gender. Women like to play card games or bejeweled type games. Those games aren't marketed toward women. Women just gravitated to those games.


Just because a game isn't marketing toward women doesn't mean it wasn't designed with women in mind.  Yet your point seems quite vague and elusive.  I think you're saying that men and women like different types of games, but there's no male market or female market, just market for different types of games.  That's simply ignoring one set of definitions to emphasize another.  But both are valid ways of describing the market.

Quote from: Sloth

The same can be said of every other game. You don't have to try and attract females to play your MMOG, they'll play it if they like it. Your comment about making different kinds of MMOGs isn't a way to attract female gamers, its a way to attract all gamers. Why always make Sci Fi or Medieval settings? Why not Westerns or Greek era games? Why not a Hollywood Red Carpet setting? These aren't questions you ask because you are trying to tap into the mythical female market, you try new stuff because you want to offer something new to everyone.


No.  Sometimes you try new stuff specifically to appeal to people who AREN'T being appealed to now.  By definition, that is going to be new.  But you're not doing it because it's new, you're doing it to attract more gamers... part of which is the quite-real female market.

Quote from: Sloth

The fact is though most women aren't going to like playing, they like sticking with bejeweled and no matter how much you pander to them they aren't going to change. Just like most men aren't going to start wearing makeup no matter how much you pander to them.


And yet your theory completely fails when you consider the fact many of our recent male ancestors used to wear powdered wigs and makeup, that men in some societies today now wear cologne and others do not, etc.

You used the word "pander" though which I think is part of the problem with your attitude.  You're completely slandering the whole approach because you look down on it.  You're mistaken to do that.  We're not talking about "changing" women, anyway.  We're talking about making Bejewelled type MMOGs that DO appeal to them, rather than traditional MMOGs that don't as much.  We're talking about adding stuff to traditional MMOGs to make them MORE attractive to the women.  I don't see why you can't wrap your head around this rather simple idea.

Even if we accept your paradigm -- make games that appeal to the people they appeal to, be they men or women, and if it happens to appeal to one or the other, hey, that's just because that's what they like -- that doesn't mean there's not untapped female market.  Quite the opposite -- games like Bejewelled and Puzzle Pirates demonstrate there IS a female market.  It's simply a matter of figuring out how to translate those types of gameplay into monthly subscription MMOGs.

Bruce
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Reply #24 on: April 05, 2004, 05:18:06 PM

Quote from: Sloth

I probably didn't word it right. I meant to say that is that females aren't going to like a type of game that they didn't like to begin with even if you pander to them. Of course I could say the samething about myself, all the strippers and matrix fight scenes aren't going to get me to like Myst either. It wasn't meant to be sterotyping it was meant to show basic gameplay trumps the frills.


Okay, but that's completely different from where you were initially, denying that there's a vast untapped female marketing for subscription MMOGs.  There is.  Again, you seem to be confusing MMOG as a traditional "hack-and-slash" RPG style with MMOG as an entertainement medium.  No one is talking about "frills"; we're talking about seriously making MMOGs that appeal to women more than the current MMOGs do.  You do this by creating different gameplay.

Quote from: Sloth

Assuming you believe the CNN report from a few weeks ago about how female gamers outnumber male gamers based on numbers on Pogo.com and similar sites, then the majority of gamers playing Bejeweledesque  games are female. I think its safe to say these are the types of games females gravitate toward, but they aren't designed as games for women. So it stands to reason that you don't have to pander games to women to get them to play games.


But these women are not paying $12-$15 a month.  That's the whole point!  Yes, women play games, but not enough of them are playing big MMOGs.  So, the goal is to make big MMOGs THAT APPEAL MORE TO WOMEN.

I think you got off-track when you confused the "vast untapped female market" as meaning for gaming in general as opposed to traditional boxed games and large MMOGs.  Yes, lots of women play free games on the computer, card games, flash games, puzzle games... people in the industry have known this for YEARS (see past threads on this on the old waterthread, etc.) even when others did not.  But a much lower percentage of women actually buy traditional boxed games like the 18-35 male demo does.  Is the box or the money itself specifically a barrier to women?  I don't think so... you just have to design the right kind of game to put in the box.  MMOGs are the same way... you design the right stuff in your MMOG and you will get more of those female gamers to subscribe.

Bruce
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Reply #25 on: April 05, 2004, 06:10:08 PM

You also need to build a gaming culture that's not going to alienate women. Nobody wants to feel like their babysitting their obnoxious teenage brother. All the issues you get with "culture clashes" with say PVP and PVE are greatly increased if you want to attract more women. Azzraping the corpse is just not particularly funny if you or a friend has been raped, which is, just as an example, the majority of women.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
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Reply #26 on: April 05, 2004, 07:22:27 PM

There's a few studies out there that have looked into the gender issue.  http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/000753.php">This one focuses on diffrent motivations.  The market is quite obviously there, but perhaps the MMORPG devs should take a closer look at why women play the MMORPGs that are already out before making a game targeted at them.

http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/000194.php">Another thing to consider is the altered demographics when dealing with a female audience.
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Reply #27 on: April 06, 2004, 01:50:47 AM

I think I mentioned that before... it's fairly well-known now that the type of women we are attracting are an older demographic.  A good number of them are housewives.  In today's world of suburbia where you often don't know your neighbors well and community organization and churchgoing activities are reduced, women who used to play cards or have sewing circles with a local social group now use the Internet to construct that network of friends around a series of fun activities.

Bruce
NewGuy
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Reply #28 on: April 06, 2004, 05:30:51 AM

Quote from: Alluvian
Quote
Might it just be that girls like quality games too, their treshold is just higher...?


Your girlfriend/wife/sister/daughter/whore are not 'girls'.  They are 'girl'.  No statement at all can be made.


Oh, STFU. Please.

We, as avid gamers have a positive disposition towards computer games just because they are computer games. We like the *idea* of computer games. We grew up with Nintendo and C64. Many have (at least mentally) tinkered with game design.  Some (well, me at least) have programmed thier own simple games. We read gaming magazines and web sites about games because we are interested in it as a hobby.

Non gamers (which include many "girls") don't buy that. For them, computer games have to compete as entertainment on it's own merits. The alternative is to eg. watch a movie or read a book. Only the very best games measure up to a good book or movie. They also don't buy that the fun will come later, after they have mastered the complex controls and have had their asses utterly kicked by their first boss 15 times.
eldaec
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Reply #29 on: April 06, 2004, 09:03:39 AM

Quote from: NewGuy
Non gamers (which include many "girls") don't buy that. For them, computer games have to compete as entertainment on it's own merits. The alternative is to eg. watch a movie or read a book. Only the very best games measure up to a good book or movie. They also don't buy that the fun will come later, after they have mastered the complex controls and have had their asses utterly kicked by their first boss 15 times.


This isn't a gender related difference you are describing.

It's not true to say women just don't like doing things they aren't good at/rewarded for straight away.

There are plenty of female dominated (and arguably competitive) past-times with little or no positive feedback until you get good at it. You can't make women like computer gaming itself by a constant stream of special effects, or plot, or anything that is not a genuine game element. You might make your audience tolerate the game that is sat between them and the thing they actually want, but in that case, what's the point? Why not just make an actual film/book/etc.

People don't play games in order to get to watch the ultra low budget cgi movie it finishes with. They watch the cgi because it's the game's way of saying well done, and respecting your achievement in learning the skills it tested you on (whether twitch or decision based). It's this point that a non-gamer often doesn't understand or doesn't see the value in.

What you describe is people-who-don't-like-playing-games. (though I fully accept there are more women who don't like playing games of any sort than there are men)

Once you are talking about people who don't enjoy the things that define a game, then that is not an untapped market for games.

Quote

Games like CoH, PS and Eve try to break outside of the core D&D derivatives.


Not really - CoH and to an extent Eve are reskinned D&D. And reskinned to a genre with exactly the same male demographic.

The point people have made about locking out women with particular types of imagery or settings is entirely fair, but removing that, I don't think you'd see much change in the gender balance if the mechanics remain the same.

And I'm really not convinced that any quantitive issues (just how long, exactly how difficult, precisely how complex) are relevant; if it's possible to design something that does start to appeal to a whole new market, you probably have to change things that are absolutely fundamental to the design mechanics, and probably to our pre-concieved notions of what defines something as a "game".

"People will not assume that what they read on the internet is trustworthy or that it carries any particular ­assurance or accuracy" - Lord Leveson
"Hyperbole is a cancer" - Lakov Sanite
SirBruce
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Reply #30 on: April 06, 2004, 09:42:22 AM

For people who actually want to educate themselves on this issue, I'll give a good example of how men and women different psychologically in general: men want to figure out how something works, whreas women want to be shown how something works.

So, women are less willing to pick up a random computer game and learn how to play it.  But they were probably shown sometime in their lives how to play Hearts or Bridge or whatever, so they are far more likely to play those games online.  It's not that they necessarily like card games and don't like MMORPGs; they simply know one and not the other.  Many women who do play MMORPGs were shown how to play by an SO, for example.

So, there is an obstacle here, and that's making the intro experience to a MMOG's gameplay easy enough that it isn't intimidating to women, and to give them interfaces and references to things they are likely to be familiar with via other games.  And to make the things that ARE new as guided an experience as possible, with strong tutorials.  Other things you can do are create community groups that will actively hand-hold new gamers and show them how to play.

Can this barrier be overcome?  Sure.  It's not that women are stupid and CAN'T learn, after all.  But if you want to attract more women, it makes sense to understand some of these generalities and design your game with those aspects in mind.

Bruce
Mesozoic
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Reply #31 on: April 06, 2004, 09:47:52 AM

Quote from: SirBruce
men want to figure out how something works, whreas women want to be shown how something works.


This just made me laugh.  Thats all I wanted to say.  Please continue.

...any religion that rejects coffee worships a false god.
-Numtini
El Gallo
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Reply #32 on: April 06, 2004, 09:49:37 AM

Quote from: Mesozoic
Quote from: SirBruce
men want to figure out how something works, whreas women want to be shown how something works.


This just made me laugh.  Thats all I wanted to say.  Please continue.


Only good things can come of this.

In before cold storage.

This post makes me want to squeeze into my badass red jeans.
Alluvian
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Reply #33 on: April 06, 2004, 09:55:45 AM

Quote
Non gamers (which include many "girls") don't buy that. For them, computer games have to compete as entertainment on it's own merits. The alternative is to eg. watch a movie or read a book. Only the very best games measure up to a good book or movie.


Yeah, I don't read books or watch movies.  Of COURSE I do.  What is your point?  And gamer vs non-gamer is NOT the same discussion.  My dad is a non-gamer.  My wife is a female gamer.  This discussion is NOT about non-gamers.  They don't game.  This discussion is about people who DO game, happen to be female, and don't play mmogs.  It is just semantics on what is a gamer.  The person playing hearts or bejeweled for an hour before work is a gamer in this discussion.  My mother is not in this discussion because she has never touched a console except to move it for dusting and would not know how to turn the computer on.

The way to reach the super casual female market of bejeweled and games like that is mostly word of mouth.  It seems to be in anecdotal evidence the most common draw for mmogs for the group.  I know many who started with myst, or bejeweled, etc... Then went to find online discussion groups for these games.  Within these groups, friendships form, and when one friend plays a MMOG and likes it, the rest usually follow in to see what they think.  It is almost like the going to the bathroom ritual.  Many of our guildmembers are from groups of 5-7 women that all joined more or less at once and knew each other prior.

But word of mouth is pretty incidental.  The trick is how to get that first one in, and have them like it.  SWG got a lot because there are a lot of closet SW fans that are female and then they liked the social and world building aspects.  The combat SUCKS, but my wife just plinks away at it, or crafting or whatever as a nice distraction while chatting.

The game that we in this forum want I believe would not appeal at all to that demographic.  Boring combat and crafting actually almost seems like a draw...  Although my wife really likes the idea of minigame crafting in EQ2 (ATITD was too focused for her).

I discuss my wife here, but it is a slightly larger set of her and about 7 of her ingame friends whom we have also met in real life.  I don't know how common their mentality it, but the 7 of them pretty much all say the same thing.  They like to talk to each other while having the game as a pleasent distraction, and not much more.
HaemishM
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Reply #34 on: April 06, 2004, 11:17:58 AM

Quote from: SirBruce
I'll give a good example of how men and women different psychologically in general: men want to figure out how something works, whreas women want to be shown how something works.


There are so many things wrong with that entire post, but I'm not going to bother with it. Suffice it to say, I've heard hack comedians make more salient points with that same argument.

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