Isn't there room for both men and women in AAA gaming?

Burnouts3s3

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I've heard the argument (forgive the straw man), "that women are a niche market" and "that's what social gaming is for". But, wouldn't that detract from sales in mainstream gaming? Also, I've heard that "past market trends say that women don't play games like Battlefield". Does that mean that AAA games are adverse to risk?

In movies and television, you see a variety of content made for men and made for women and made for both. So, there can be a Michael Bay movie here and playing in another theater, there can be a romantic comedy here (Not to imply that a man cannot enjoy a romantic comedy or a woman cannot enjoy a Michael Bay film. It's just a generalization for the sake of argument and the way films are marketed to demographics). So, why can't there be the same in video games? In other forms of media, there's content for women as well as men. Why can't there be a Hunger Games video game as a traditional AAA game while traditional market continues to have Battlefield on the other end of the spectrum?
 

Sack of Cheese

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It's getting better. People (gamers and developers) start to be aware of the unnecessary "fanservice", hence we start to get more and more of these "sexism in games" discussions. It led to changes too. For example: Divinity Original Sin changed its concept art after receiving community feedback to be more serviceable to women.

Plus more games add women as its playable characters, such as in the case of the two latest Alien games. It's not a fast change, but it's still progress. Not to say that women don't want to play as men, or play games that aimed at the male audiences, but some find playing as their own gender, in a setting where their gender is treated with respect, more preferable.

Maybe I'm too optimistic, I dunno.
 

Lilani

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Andrew Siribohdi said:
Why can't there be a Hunger Games video game as a traditional AAA game while traditional market continues to have Battlefield on the other end of the spectrum?
Because there aren't as many AAA game devs as there are big Hollywood filmmakers just yet. Only a handful of studios and developers create what we think of as "AAA games." Hollywood does as much jumping onto bandwagons and market trends as video games do--have you SEEN the number of vampire and "teen female falls in love with hot supernatural teen male" movies coming out since Twilight? The difference is there are so fewer game devs that make AAA games that when they hop on a bandwagon, pretty much all of them do so because there simply aren't enough of them to fill two bandwagons. Hollywood has enough studios and filmmakers to supply both the "teen vampire" and the "Michael Bay splosion fest" bandwagons. But video games just don't have enough AAA devs to fill two bandwagons without one being the odd one out, and the entire point of hopping on a bandwagon is to NOT be the odd one out.

I think things are certainly getting better, but due to the nature of this cowardly bandwagon jumping it's not moving along as fast as we would like.
 

Elfgore

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I'd say it's because video games are generally a more niche market. And with triple A titles costing a shit ton of money to make, a game with a girl might not sell as well as COD or BF. It all falls down to money and possibly laziness.

Son a *****. Looks like I drastically underestimated the triple A games selling ability.
 

Something Amyss

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Andrew Siribohdi said:
Why can't there be a Hunger Games video game as a traditional AAA game while traditional market continues to have Battlefield on the other end of the spectrum?
You realise even The Hunger Games is a bit of an anomaly, right? Like, the comparison to film leads to some problems in itself because before The Huger Games, there wasn't much of a market[footnote]in the sense that nobody was selling, not that nobody would buy[/footnote] and even now people are antagonistic towards the movies and the "trend" of a mere half a dozen or so major productions aimed towards women within the genre.

Elfgore said:
I'd say it's because video games are generally a more niche market.
Except they're one of the biggest entertainment markets in the world.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Zachary Amaranth said:
You realise even The Hunger Games is a bit of an anomaly, right? Like, the comparison to film leads to some problems in itself because before The Huger Games, there wasn't much of a market[footnote]in the sense that nobody was selling, not that nobody would buy[/footnote] and even now people are antagonistic towards the movies and the "trend" of a mere half a dozen or so major productions aimed towards women within the genre.
Point in case: The criticism aimed at Girls for daring to be a show that's mainly aimed at women and featuring mostly women doing things that only occasionally involve men. Oh and its' failure to include people of ethnicities other than caucasian, since if you portray one "minority" (women) you have to include others.

If there's one thing Anita Sarkeesian has done right, I think it is her Bechdel testing of the Oscar nominees. It really highlights how underrepresented women still are in movies.

Zachary Amaranth said:
Except they're one of the biggest entertainment markets in the world.
Recent market figures seems to suggest that in terms of revenue, it is the biggest. True AAA games regularly cash in more than major blockbuster movies and have development costs that put many big production movies to shame. Calling that "niche" is kind of like calling Mont Blanc or K2 "hills".
 

Zhukov

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I believe the perception is that there aren't enough female gamers into the AAA-type games to provide enough of a market for a single female-aimed AAA title, let alone a bunch of them. AAA Developers/publishers believe that they need the male audience to buy into their games in order to turn a profit, period. If some women buy in a well, cool. If a lot of women buy in as well, then great. But Team Y Chromosome forms the core market.

I have absolutely no idea if any of that is true or not, but I believe that's the reasoning.
 

Redd the Sock

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Don't give Hollywood too much credit for diversity over video games. There's a lot out there that doesn't get the screen time of the blockbusters (foreign films, documentaries, art films, anime, even westerns) for the same reason female game characters the shaft, a perception of or a legitimate lack of demand. TV is no different as the big networks follow the prevailing trends, while some shows need specialty networks to get air time.

Some of the difference is financial. The games industry just isn't as full of entities with large capital pools or investment resources to draw from, or enough goodwill to weather out failure. A bad performing movie or tv show is just a blotch on the record, not the difference between staying in business and looking for new jobs. Distribution outlets are in the same place and can't afford 20 copies of a niche game.

On the other side has been a lack of demand on the one side to turn a niche release into a success. It's easy to forget thet the Hunger games was not original a blockbuster style film. It was just another optioned tween novel for film released in March where it wouldn't have to compete with the big movies, and they found they had a hit on their hands. Nothing breaks through the perceptions of what sells than something that by all rights shouldn't have been a major hit, suddenly being a major hit. Games hasn't really had one of those in a long time. The Tomb Raider reboot did well, but as an established series, it was expected to, but others flop or stay in their niches.
 

krazykidd

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Sack of Cheese said:
It's getting better. People (gamers and developers) start to be aware of the unnecessary "fanservice", hence we start to get more and more of these "sexism in games" discussions. It led to changes too. For example: Divinity Original Sin changed its concept art after receiving community feedback to be more serviceable to women.

Plus more games add women as its playable characters, such as in the case of the two latest Alien games. It's not a fast change, but it's still progress. Not to say that women don't want to play as men, or play games that aimed at the male audiences, but some find playing as their own gender, in a setting where their gender is treated with respect, more preferable.

Maybe I'm too optimistic, I dunno.
I prefer the original concept art. Hopefully we would be able to have both. Oh who am i kidding, this is the gaming community, it's all or nothing with you ( general "you") people.

Edit: i swear i must be playing games wrong, because i don't care if the charactees are guys/girls/animals, if they are sexy, ugly, clothed or naked.
 

Phasmal

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Yes, I suppose we could assume there is room in gaming for both men and women to be appealed to, but in a market where men are usually being exclusively appealed to, the idea of game developers appealing to anyone else can make some gamers feel like they are losing something that `belongs` to them.

It irks me when people talk about female gamers and then straight away switch to talking about casual gamers, as if they are one and the same, they really aren't.
I hear so many guys say `Well I'VE never seen a female on [popular online game]!`- like, how would you know? People are very quick to auto-penis you on the internet. Unless you go out of your way to say you are a woman, they will assume you are not. And if you DO say- god forbid.
 

mecegirl

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Phasmal said:
Yes, I suppose we could assume there is room in gaming for both men and women to be appealed to, but in a market where men are usually being exclusively appealed to, the idea of game developers appealing to anyone else can make some gamers feel like they are losing something that `belongs` to them.

It irks me when people talk about female gamers and then straight away switch to talking about casual gamers, as if they are one and the same, they really aren't.
I hear so many guys say `Well I'VE never seen a female on [popular online game]!`- like, how would you know? People are very quick to auto-penis you on the internet. Unless you go out of your way to say you are a woman, they will assume you are not. And if you DO say- god forbid.
Auto-penis...I'm gonna have to use that. My username is not always Mecegirl but even when it is I've had people auto-penis me. As for the "casual" games. Maybe i'm just getting older but I remember when "casual" games were on consoles. What exactally is the difference between Harvest Moon and Farmville again? And puzzle games used to be on consoles too. So it's odd for me to hear people talk about such games as if they are lesser.

OP: There technically is. They wouldn't even need to change much, just spread the protagonist love around and market appropriately. I think people make the mistake of trying to appeal to women who don't like speculative fiction. It's like, if all a woman wants to watch/read is romance and drama let her. That's cool, but you probably won't get that woman to play video games, not even by just inserting a sub plot for romance in your game. Of course most people have varied interests, and engage certain genre's when we are in the mood.

I know a lot of women love the Horror genre and when survival horror games were more mainstream a lot of women played those games. The same for rpg's with fantasy elements, especially the ones from Japan. But if you look at western RPG's with fantasy elements there are a lot of female fans of those franchises. It may be harder to sell military shooters to women but that's about it.

I dare to say that the PS2 era helped increase the number of female gamers. This is anecdotal, but I know a lot of women who restrict their gaming to handhelds because the type of games they enjoy are rarely released on consoles (especially if they like Japanese games). And some who stopped playing during the start of the PS3/Xbox 360 era because there were few games that looked interesting to them, but they were avid gamers before.
 

Vern5

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I would say No. Your average AAA game is designed from the ground up to appeal to the very lowest of brows first and everyone else afterward. A fool and his money are soon parted and all that. And the very lowest of brows are generally found attached to young, moneyed, white males so women will always be a tertiary audience.
 

Something Amyss

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Gethsemani said:
Point in case: The criticism aimed at Girls for daring to be a show that's mainly aimed at women and featuring mostly women doing things that only occasionally involve men. Oh and its' failure to include people of ethnicities other than caucasian, since if you portray one "minority" (women) you have to include others.
I remember "The L Word" got plenty of both of those. Which is funny, because you'd especially expect a show about lesbians to focus on women.

They could probably stand to have more variety in the casting, but it's amazing that's a slam when they're already a leg up.

If there's one thing Anita Sarkeesian has done right, I think it is her Bechdel testing of the Oscar nominees. It really highlights how underrepresented women still are in movies.
A braindead chimp could do that, and plenty of people (presumably not braindead) have done the same. In fact, you can find more than a few who have done it without drawing so much ire, so there's a chance the friend zoners will actually listen. Basically, other people have done the same thing and I think in a particularly better way.

The thing Anita Sarkeesian has done right is shown the hostility this community has for women. Even if nothing she said was at all true, the kneejerkers have made a point about sexism that is powerful and resounding.

Recent market figures seems to suggest that in terms of revenue, it is the biggest. True AAA games regularly cash in more than major blockbuster movies and have development costs that put many big production movies to shame. Calling that "niche" is kind of like calling Mont Blanc or K2 "hills".
Yeah, I don't have exact numbers so I hedged it. Wasn't GTA like the biggest entertainment release weekend last year? Larger than any movie? And Blops 2 the year before? I could be wrong, but I think I remember that.

Zhukov said:
I believe the perception is that there aren't enough female gamers into the AAA-type games to provide enough of a market for a single female-aimed AAA title, let alone a bunch of them. AAA Developers/publishers believe that they need the male audience to buy into their games in order to turn a profit, period. If some women buy in a well, cool. If a lot of women buy in as well, then great. But Team Y Chromosome forms the core market.

I have absolutely no idea if any of that is true or not, but I believe that's the reasoning.
It keeps getting reposted on here, so maybe it will again, but it's been claimed that the most popular games with women on consoles are in line with the most popular games overall/with men/however you want to phrase that. Women are still about a quarter of the population (That one I can source to Wikipedia), though, so you could sort of argue a population issue. But then again, a smaller body of women is hardly unexpected when they're not marketed to and don't necessarily feel included (and oft feel deliberately excluded or pushed away).

Vern5 said:
I would say No. Your average AAA game is designed from the ground up to appeal to the very lowest of brows first and everyone else afterward. A fool and his money are soon parted and all that. And the very lowest of brows are generally found attached to young, moneyed, white males so women will always be a tertiary audience.
Yes, women prefer classy things. Take, for example, Twilight. Highest of the brows.
 

Albino Boo

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The problem is what would be a AAA game that is aimed at women. Its not just a question of replacing a male lead character with a female one. Ripley and Sarah Connor are lead characters in big blockbusters but those films primary audience is still men. Hollywood very early on made "chick flicks" when budgets were low and it wasn't a huge risk to make something different. Apart from some of the sierra adventure games, most of the early days of gaming were games made by men for men. No one has established a genre of female oriented games at 50 million plus is a lot of money to risk on something that there is no established market for and no one knows what it would be like.



Gethsemani said:
Recent market figures seems to suggest that in terms of revenue, it is the biggest. True AAA games regularly cash in more than major blockbuster movies and have development costs that put many big production movies to shame. Calling that "niche" is kind of like calling Mont Blanc or K2 "hills".
Under some definitions gaming is the biggest market but look at the price point differential between a AAA game and a movie ticket. In terms of numbers of people buying, gaming is way behind. Avengers assemble sold 72 million tickets in the US and the best call of duty sold 28 million units worldwide. Having a larger audience means that the breakeven point is at a much smaller market share.
 

mecegirl

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Gethsemani said:
Point in case: The criticism aimed at Girls for daring to be a show that's mainly aimed at women and featuring mostly women doing things that only occasionally involve men. Oh and its' failure to include people of ethnicities other than caucasian, since if you portray one "minority" (women) you have to include others.
Why would they not include other minorities? I don't know if you meant to imply this, but being a racial minority and a woman is possible. The same as being a sexual minority and a woman. And when the show is set in New York, one of the most diverse cities in the U.S, yes it should have diversity. There are too many shows set in urban spaces without diversity for people to let that criticism drop.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Women are only "a niche market" because there is no marketing vis a vis gaming that is aimed at them, or if it is, it is done incredibly poorly.

Publishers assume that teenage boys are the only market worth noting, so they are primarily aiming their campaigns at that demographic, whilst ignoring all the others which are as, if not more significant than they.

And of course there should be more women in AAA gaming, as should there be more of anyone with genuine talent. Development is a bit of a secluded big boy's treehouse right now, but I feel like that is slowly starting to change.

Honestly, I think the bigger issue is and always will be the way women are treated in games, either because the devs don't understand what they are doing, or are too lazy to make well-rounded female characters, or the publishers don't understand gaming at all and are incredible retards.

I like to think its the latter, because it means that I can direct my hate further at Bobby Kotick.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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mecegirl said:
Gethsemani said:
Point in case: The criticism aimed at Girls for daring to be a show that's mainly aimed at women and featuring mostly women doing things that only occasionally involve men. Oh and its' failure to include people of ethnicities other than caucasian, since if you portray one "minority" (women) you have to include others.
Why would they not include other minorities? I don't know if you meant to imply this, but being a racial minority and a woman is possible. The same as being a sexual minority and a woman. And when the show is set in New York, one of the most diverse cities in the U.S, yes it should have diversity. There are too many shows set in urban spaces without diversity for people to let that criticism drop.
I see the point of the criticism and I understand your point, but it is also kind of inane to home in on Girls in particular when there are literally dozens of shows being released every year that features a bunch of middle class white guys as the main characters and all these shows avoid the flak. Girls got the criticism specifically because it aimed only to portray white middle class girls in New York, something which drew much, much more ire than it really should.

It is not that I disagree with the criticism, the problem is that the criticism was way out of proportion simply because Girls dared to be about white girls instead of being about white men. Much of the the criticism was even angled in such a way as to suggest that since Girls was about girls it was a show about "our generation of women", while Lena Dunham has repeatedly stated that it is only a show about her particular brand of New Yorker middle class women.
 

Sack of Cheese

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krazykidd said:
I prefer the original concept art. Hopefully we would be able to have both. Oh who am i kidding, this is the gaming community, it's all or nothing with you ( general "you") people.

Edit: i swear i must be playing games wrong, because i don't care if the charactees are guys/girls/animals, if they are sexy, ugly, clothed or naked.
I don't mind either way hehe.
The original concept art looks like it's gonna be cold to wear, so there's that...

Human is boring to play as anyway. I always pick other races first chance I got.
 

carnex

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Well, that is a question that sounds like a soundbite designed to get attention. Ofcourse there is room for everyone in AAA market. The fact that there are many females playing AAA games shows that. Almost nobody (well there are people who do have such agenda) are not about exclusion of players.

That said, as a publisher you go with what market spends money on. There are number of different studies and reasons why males spend much more money on games sold as packaged goods for 60USD (or your regional equivalent). Mass Effect 3, for example, heavily promoted female Sheppard and saw 18% of female Sheppard in game. 18% of market is not bad but 82% i better couple of times over. And even that is if we take that every femShep was actually a female player which is not the case. But since I don't have the data how many of players played opposite gender character i will go with that. You by games as a significant group, you get catered to, you don't buy games and you don't get catered to

Also, that example with cover of new divinity game only servers to reinforce my belief that most of advocates for "gender equality" are into it as shallow as a plate of soup. And I was the artist I would respond by removing guys abdomen and leg armor. I actually do believe that Dragon's Crown artist response, as far as graphics go (insinuations of ones sexual preferences were just to childish), was right thing to do. Treat characters equally if that's what you demand.

Actually I have my theory what is going on here and in similar cases (not just female representation in AAA games but many other things). It's a variation on reasons for geek culture explosion but i really need to bounce it of more people whose judgment I trust before I can put it to the public scrutiny.
 

Amaror

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Andrew Siribohdi said:
I've heard the argument (forgive the straw man), "that women are a niche market" and "that's what social gaming is for". But, wouldn't that detract from sales in mainstream gaming? Also, I've heard that "past market trends say that women don't play games like Battlefield". Does that mean that AAA games are adverse to risk?

In movies and television, you see a variety of content made for men and made for women and made for both. So, there can be a Michael Bay movie here and playing in another theater, there can be a romantic comedy here (Not to imply that a man cannot enjoy a romantic comedy or a woman cannot enjoy a Michael Bay film. It's just a generalization for the sake of argument and the way films are marketed to demographics). So, why can't there be the same in video games? In other forms of media, there's content for women as well as men. Why can't there be a Hunger Games video game as a traditional AAA game while traditional market continues to have Battlefield on the other end of the spectrum?
I feel a bit like Captain Obvious right now, but isn't this allready the case?
We allready have one of the biggest gaming franchises ever aimed mostly at women - The Sims.
Additionaly there are a ton of smaller titles aimed at women. Particullary hidden object games are really popular.
Most of the games we consider tripple A titles are aimed or at least advertised to men, but the same is true for most Movie Blockbusters. Most of them are action movies advertised towards men.
Hunger Games is a bit special, being an action franchise about a woman, but even that significantly decreased the action and increased the touchy, feely, romantic stuff as time went on. God, the third book was crap.
And then you have the mobile/casual market, which is mostly aimed to appeal to everyone regardless of gender.