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

Eve Charm

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Oh BS on marketing, It could help but you can have all the Marketing in the world but if it doesn't catch on with the actual people early adopters and the like the game is going nowhere. Ya Remember Me didn't get any marketing, it also came out in the Dead zone of summer so if someone was looking for a new game that month it'd be the only thing there. But besides that Mirror's edge had a decent campaign on tv magazines and online. Also rag on David Cage all you want Beyond Two soul starring Ellen Page and William Defoe came out at that big time of the year and had big names to go alone with it's marketing, from the same line of Heavy rain that sold millions and was a greatest hit. Lastly titles that are going after markets that are "Supposedly" starving for games, doesn't need much marketing at all, Word of mouth on demand sells plenty of niche titles to niche markets. How the heck else would something like spec ops the line or junk like lollipop chainsaw along with other suda 51 games if not for word of mouth cause I can bet they were marketed a lot less.

I think people are just over estimating the amount of people that care what gender or anything the main character there playing as as long as it makes sense still in the story or game if it matters.
 

carnex

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I will ask you all to do something. But first to present my mindset to see where I'm coming from. Anyway can we agree on these assertions

- On forums in general and especially on gaming forums only geeks and nerds reside
- Out of that community in general females are vastly more likely to be gamers then out of general public
- Out of that subset of females they are vastly more likely to play games that require and benefit from AAA treatment
- Out of all users in this forums females are more likely to participate in threads dealing with sexuality and female representation in games since it's more of an issue to them.

If you can agree to all of that, read posts in this and similar threads. Count the number of female and male posters. Now given the heavily slanted odds this forum has for participation of female gamers that play that certain type of games I would hold that as a overestimate of potential target market for female oriented games of such design. And it doesn't look good even when looked at that way.

Sorry, capitalism doesn't give a damn about me or you, just how much pockets and how deep they dip in.
 

Burnouts3s3

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Aiddon said:
of course, but AAA games and gaming in general still have this really archaic, backward boys club mentality. They seem to have trouble admitting women EXIST let alone that they're suitable for being protagonists or major supporting characters. Not just on the executive side either as a lot of dev teams seems to be comprised of the white, privileged, male demographic thus they make games for the same demographic, thus effectively themselves. And on the gamers side of things one need only see the reaction towards that ESA survey revealing that nearly 50% of gamers are women (one of worst examples of this being the comments section on Bob's Game Overthinker video on the matter (though admittedly Bob seems to get the WORST trolls on the internet in regards to that; seriously, cowardly chauvanists everywhere it seems). But anyway, there is room, but we're gonna have to tear the boys club down first. And the people who refuse to have it torn down are either going to be dragged kicking and screaming or left behind. Probably the latter as usually is the case.
Quick notes;

The white male (not all privileged) thing is because even at best on computer programming and game programming courses the highest % was 30% female with the average being just 10%. Why aren't there more women developers ? Because there just aren't many training in that field, however Psychology oddly has around 60% female take. If you say "All dev teams must have a women on them" then it actually causes more problems than it solves. you might think this is a joke but it's true. If being female helps with getting the job then it's possible for more highly skilled developers to be passed over for being male. If a female dev with lesser skills joins a team because she's female then it actually creates resentment in members of the team as they are being held to a higher standard as such and has lead to female employees feeling they were treated "As window dressing or like a potted plant". That quote was from a few years ago when the UK parliament saw a mass exodus of female MPs because of such policies causing some of them to have been promoted based on gender and because some had all ended up tarred with that image many wrongly so.

Next that 50% thing doesn't actually specify the type of gaming. There's the issue. AAA gaming requires people in "core" gaming and that means major console or PC. However gaming could also include simple internet games or smartphone apps. So because 50% of women play some kind of video game it doesn't mean they will buy the AAA kind, its a risk.
To put it in context I drink alcohol more specifically gin, rum but mostly cider as such I am very unlikely to be found drinking beer or whine as such making a type of wine for me won't get me to buy it without far more effort as first and foremost I don't look at wine normally and blank most adverts or wine products.

Question, do we need to tear down the boys club or do we need to expand it to add more rooms and diversity and maybe rename it to just the gamer club. Claiming we need to tear down the walls and have every game for everyone is going to result in some very muddy very grey games which try to appeal to everyone and end up appealing to no-one at all really. Games that tone down anything anyone might find offensive etc etc. Hence I said the room idea. Is there room in gaming for a chainmail bikini ? Yes right next to the belted fur lion cloth. The issue is when "realism" or "sensibility" is applied to armour design for one gender and Fanservice applied to the other such that it breaks the world building and doesn't fit in with everything else in the game.

Maybe Remember Me did badly and other games don't get female players because they aren't that good ? I can get the anger at games which change from a female Protagonist (watchdogs with a female lead would have been kind of cool, just hopefully not with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo backstory and events...........)


Now as for the difference with Lara Croft and the guy from Farcry 3 other than the "rape" scene. In Lara Croft Lara was going to explore and to an extend expected everything not to be quite all 3 star hotels and heated baths but ended up in a far worse situation than she'd planned. While in Far Cry 3 it was someone out to have fun with friends and not care with no idea what would happen and what they'd get into they are thrown deeper in as they didn't expect this to start with. the motivations could be said to be for Lara her loved ones and in far Cry 3 partly your friends but a lot of it could be said to be revenge / vengeance.
 

Burnouts3s3

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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.
"Better"? You call it BETTER, really?

The organized harassment that the developers got? The barrage of insults? The threats of boycott from the media?

And that's all because of... a belly button in a small-budget game.

"getting better"
 

Burnouts3s3

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mecegirl said:
Why would they not include other minorities?
And why not include majorities first? The Catholicism is the biggest religion in the world. How many game protagonists are even Catholic? Are Catholics feeling excluded because of that? Should they?

VoEC said:
You should take a look at this article by Anjin Anhut: http://howtonotsuckatgamedesign.com/2013/12/marketers-fear-female-geek-2/
I would say it pretty much sums up what the problem with marketing (especially in games) is.
Then she should become superior marketer.

And design these games that do "not suck".

What's stopping her? The evil patriarchy's keeping a womyn down?

Edit: I just googled this person, and it's a guy. An artist, dabbling in TRIGGER WARNING SEXISM: http://anjinanhut.deviantart.com/art/Rogue-Mutant-212303352 http://anjinanhut.deviantart.com/art/october-girl-2-ivy-138731619

Zira said:
I like what they did with changing Divinity Original Sin's concept art to make the male and the female as equals.

I wish more games, nay, ALL games did the same.
Jesus Christ. And then you wonder why people fear the SJW.

Recent events and a large exposure to unhealthy criticism had gotten me thinking and checking with my fellow artists. I'm sure people will say that as an artist we should learn how to deal with harsh and often unfair criticism, as if this is mandatory to being an artist. Yet at the same time artists have to be more and more careful of all those people out there we might possibly offend.

In a lot of ways you're forced to self-censorship when it comes to publishing your work.

Our kickstarter campaign for Divinity: Original Sin has gotten quite some criticism on its original poster art. Apparently it was deemed to be sexistic and women unfriendly by the way the female protagonist was portrayed: with a bare belly.

A bare belly was for some enough a trigger to send our company enough hate and threatening mails to persuade my boss to ask me to change the cover. I did, but did so reluctantly. Disagreeing wholeheartedly with the claim of the artwork being sexistic, the better half of me decided to meet "offended-by-design" people somewhere in the middle.

In the world of journalism there are channels that take an aggressive stance against everything they judge even remotely sexistic and in many instances denying the word of opposition by disabling criticism and reactions on their articles or blogs. Also blackmails in the form of "change your game art or we won't publish a single word about you." is a common behavior found among those.
Gethsemani said:
Oh and its' failure to include people of ethnicities other than caucasian, since if you portray one "minority" (women) you have to include others.
And how many Caucasians even were in the games from 2013 except the Abkhazia thing in Metal Gear Rising?

Most of people in games are actually either Japanese or Western Europeans (or Americans of Japanese or Western European descent). Caucasians are extremely rare. And when they appear, they're usually only as cannon fodder to be killed, like the Chechens in some Russian games (for example Alfa Antiterror) also actually in several other Western games too. Mmmmaybe Khan in Metro: Last Light, but it seems it's just adopted name because he think he's Genghis (seriously?).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Video_game_characters_by_nationality - quite a lot of Chinese too. Eastern Europeans represented just by Russians, or Greeks if they even count. The Poles there? I can only think of BJ Blazkowicz (Polish-American). The others? A Serb war criminal in GTAIV and... that's all, I think. Why is the Slavs are not whining how they're under-represented and how it HAS to be changed RIGHT NOW?

Even games made in Poland usually don't have Polish characters.

Zachary Amaranth said:
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.
The thing Anita Sarkeesian has done right is shown the hostility this community has for Anita Sarkeesian.

And she did it already in 2011:


Look, a kneejerking sexist.
 

Zontar

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Sonichu said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
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.
The thing Anita Sarkeesian has done right is shown the hostility this community has for Anita Sarkeesian.

And she did it already in 2011:

Look, a kneejerking sexist.
You also forgot the fact that a good 95% of the hate she got was in response to her spamming advertisement for her Kickstarter (which was for a show which was insultingly flawed by its very premise from an argumentative point of view) on /v/, and woe and behold she got the reaction that anyone who knows the first thing about /v/ would expect.

Professional victim 101: provoke them into giving you a reaction, use the reaction to make yourself look like the victim you aren't, then twist it in a way which makes you money. The fact that people can get away with it in this age of instant information speaks volumes about internet culture. And the reaction from games news sites also served to remind us why games journalism is considered on par with TMZ in the journalistic hierarchy (and after all the revelations which have come about since her kickstarter, it just makes her defenders look all the worst now that we know it was in fact a scam to make money).

On the bright side, her arguments (the ONLY thing she even tried to have going for her) have been countered, broken and destroyed so much by so many that now all she has going for her is the "online harassment" she got because of the fact she provoked it in the first place. I give her 2 more years before everyone forgets about her completely and she ends up a footnote in gaming history right next to Jack Thompson.
 

Burnouts3s3

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Zontar said:
You also forgot the fact that a good 95% of the hate she got was in response to her spamming advertisement for her Kickstarter (which was for a show which was insultingly flawed by its very premise from an argumentative point of view) on /v/, and woe and behold she got the reaction that anyone who knows the first thing about /v/ would expect.

Professional victim 101: provoke them into giving you a reaction, use the reaction to make yourself look like the victim you aren't, then twist it in a way which makes you money. The fact that people can get away with it in this age of instant information speaks volumes about internet culture. And the reaction from games news sites also served to remind us why games journalism is considered on par with TMZ in the journalistic hierarchy (and after all the revelations which have come about since her kickstarter, it just makes her defenders look all the worst now that we know it was in fact a scam to make money).

On the bright side, her arguments (the ONLY thing she even tried to have going for her) have been countered, broken and destroyed so much by so many that now all she has going for her is the "online harassment" she got because of the fact she provoked it in the first place. I give her 2 more years before everyone forgets about her completely and she ends up a footnote in gaming history right next to Jack Thompson.
This too, but I was talking about her lies of "male gamers". While she's always had female gamer haters like this girl threatening to beat her up, even on this forum there is a female user that basically wishes her to die. But that's not because Sarkeesian is (also) a woman, it's because she's so incredibly obnoxious (which I'm pretty sure is how she acts on purpose).

Btw: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.849639-Online-Study-Women-are-just-as-likley-to-be-misogynistic-as-men-online?page=1 (no, I don't think it's "misogynistic", just like the men attacking other men is not "misandric" - just the fact they do it so often, which really should surprise no one).

But what you think was just gaming media's fault unfortunately isn't true. It was all kinds of media, including very respectable outlets (many of them), all just repeating the sob story and praising her.

And it continues still - like in the case of BBC earlier this month (go to 35:50):


And I'm afraid what Sarkeesian in this video called "their little videos" did really nothing to hurt her newfound reputation of the modern feminist icon and "pop culture expert" outside of gamer crowd.

Including among the Western developers (it's especially infuriating when Druckmann says "she loves playing video games"):

 

Tono Makt

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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?
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy Hell Batman, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Andrew Siribohdi said:
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?
AAA Game Cost: 15,000,000 USD as an extreme minimum.
Cost per unit: $30 (used for easy math, but based partially on this blog post: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/02/anatomy-of-a-60-dollar-video-game.html)
Number needed to sell in order to break even: 500,000

It's more risk than many investors would be willing to take. And there isn't much of a return on investment - particularly for the first game. For that first game the investor might be asked to take a financial loss in order to pay for marketing. Using Grand Theft Auto as an example:

GTA 1: Sold 100,000 copies.
GTA 2: Sold 200,000 copies.

GTA 3: Sold 14,500,000 copies.
GTA 4: Sold 25,000,000 copies.
GTA 5: Sold 30,000,000 copies.
(http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto ; I won't argue at the exact numbers, just using them as an example)

GTA is one of the highest selling video game series, but it took two games to find its groove. This is probably a best case scenario for any investor, and given today's standards they may be looking at having to invest $30,000,000 (2 games) before potentially having any return on their investment. And this would be over at least a 5 year time frame.

So $30,000,000 and 5 years, with no guaranteed return. Nor would they be able to sell much to recoup the losses as most of the costs were sunk into things that either you can't get back (salaries, marketing, utilities) or that retain very little of their value over time (computers, software). Compare that with a simple savings account or GIC at 2% over 5 years and there's a guaranteed profit of more than $3,000,000. And a guarantee of $3,000,000 is a better risk than the possibility of a loss of $30,000,000 at worst, or breaking even at best. With no guarantee that it's going to sell 14,500,000 copies in the next game.

There aren't many people out there who are willing to toss that much money down on what is pretty much a throw of the dice.

Why can't there be a Hunger Games video game as a AAA game? There can be - I'm surprised there isn't one. But let's not pretend like that's a game for women. Putting a woman in the role of an arse-kicking survivor doesn't make it a game for women. Unless you translate the internal struggle that Katniss goes through in the books into some sort of video game mechanic you can quite easily make a Hunger Games type game where you can play any of the 24 contestants, male or female, with little to no difference. Heck, it's not exceptionally hard to take the internal struggles of Katniss and turn her male. (I'm not saying it's a GOOD idea, only that it's not a difficult thing to do)

As for games for women in the AAA market, there will be - eventually. Video games are 40 years old (give or take), and are far more limiting than other forms of media (like movies) because of programming and technology. You don't have to create a whole new set of programming rules to make a movie aimed at women, but you might have to do that to make a game aimed at women. Most AAA video games are set up around three actions: Running, Jumping and Hitting With A Weapon. You toss in acting like "Driving", "Persuasion" and "Solve Puzzle" for many of them as well, but in general you can find Running, Jumping and Hitting With A Weapon (fist, melee or projectile) in almost all of them. These are quintessential traits that males are expected to use to solve problems. You have a problem with a bully, how do you solve it? Hit Them With Your Fist or Move Away. Also most of these games have similar outcomes for dealing with enemies - destruction. You kill enemies, you drain them of health, you knock them down to the point they can't get back up. Again very male traits - you hit the bully until he stops bullying you. Most of the games have either War or Standing Up To A Bully as a focus as well, both exceptionally masculine. What are the female equivalents? How do they translate into games? What sorts of problems would make games seem aimed at women? How would those be translated into games?

Or are we to assume that most women would prefer to deal with Khalisah al-Jilani in Mass Effect by punching her in the mouth? Using that situation as an example, how would women prefer to deal with her, if they wanted to be a Renegade? How could that be translated into a video game, if it's not "Punch her in the mouth."

It's going to take video game developers actually asking those questions, then experimenting in individual games, before we get to a point where there's a game that's actually aimed at women. Maybe we'll see something in the next Mass Effect game, where there are options that a Fem(Shep) can take that are more feminine in nature and aren't open to Male(Shep)? That's the sort of little step that's going to need to be taken, over a wide variety of games, before we start to get AAA games aimed directly at women. And the first one that's aimed directly at women is still going to be one heck of a risk.