Global Game Industry News Blog

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

EA: "We're failing women." Sony: "Have a pink PS2."

Now, I know it's not entirely fair to Sony, but the fact that both of these reports came out today, I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

GameDaily BIZ: EA: The Industry is 'Failing Women'
Video games for the longest time have been dominated by men. The industry's workforce is largely comprised of young white males, and the people who play video games are usually male as well. While certain games have successfully attracted both genders (e.g. The Sims), there's no denying that it's still an industry run by men that caters its products to men. It's evident in the marketing, and it's certainly evident in the games themselves where it seems that every other character is a scantily clad female with unnatural proportions.

That said, with the casual games market becoming increasingly popular (particularly with women) and Nintendo doing its best to broaden the market with the DS and soon the Wii, there may be some hope that some balance can be injected into the industry. Now leading publisher Electronic Arts is putting a spotlight on women as well, as Chief Operating Officer David Gardner told attendees of Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival that the video game industry has "failed women" by not producing enough content suitable for them.

As reported by the BBC News, EA's own research found that 40 percent of teenage girls played video games compared to 90 percent of teenage boys; furthermore, most girls seem to lose interest in games within a year. According to Gardner, this is something that has concerned EA "for a long, long time."

"We are only reaching a small proportion - not only geographically but also genetically," he said, adding that if EA could solve the problem it "could add a billion dollars to its sales."

Indeed, attracting more women to games just for the sake of balance is valid on its own terms, but when you consider the economic opportunities doing so could create, it's something that should be top priority for the industry. The Sims certainly wouldn't have become the best selling game of all time (over 40 million copies sold) without women playing it. Gardner pointed out that 70 percent of Sims players are women under the age of 25.

"The Sims is really a game about relationships - and that's what girls want - they want relationships, they want to be able to chat," he said.

Part of the problem is that the industry has tried too hard at times to make games specifically for women, and it just hasn't been appealing to them. "They don't want 'pink games'. They are not trying to play girly games where Paris Hilton and Britney Spears go shopping and put make-up on," he explained. "Those kind of things have not been that successful."

GameDaily BIZ: Sony Slashes PS2 Price in Europe, Introduces Pink Version
In addition to the price cut, SCEE announced a new limited edition Pink PS2, which comes with two pink analog controllers and a pink memory card for the price of €159.99/£129.99. The Pink bundle will be available from "selected retailers" throughout Europe starting November 8th, and in the U.K. it'll come with the karaoke game SingStar Pop. The pink console will be on display at the Games Convention, Leipzig, which takes place August 23 - 27.


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