As It Turns Out, Girls Want More Than Kittens and Ribbons in Their Games
There’s a study out of Belgium that has turned the video game world on its head with new findings about girls and video games.
Alright, not really, as these conclusions should be obvious to anyone without a marketing degree. Girls are tired of games being sold to them in a way that appeals to a preconceived notion of what “girliness” is. In fact, they say they wouldn’t mind a little more violence in their titles either.
The study, from Belgium’s Ghent University, found girls were frustrated that there were not enough games designed for their tastes and wanted easier-to-use controls.
Girls reported they enjoyed mildly graphic violent games and were sick of games that were marketed to them like they were interested only in “kittens and pink ribbons”.
Sadly there were no results that boys are interested in anything other than grizzled space marines, so presumably every game aimed at them will still feature those.
I think that besides the violence issue, the note about simpler controls is something to note as well. I’ve tried to teach a range of different girlfriends how to play a first person shooter like Halo or Call of Duty. Even ones that claimed to be “veteran” players of more old school games like those for the SNES, Genesis or 64 could not grasp this new control system of “one stick moves your head, one stick moves your feet.” They’d often just end up staring at the sky, spinning around, or moving awkwardly, only able to employ one stick or the other at a time.
I don’t mean to suggest that all girls are unable to perform such motions, as I’m sure they could all learn if they didn’t get frustrated and quit on me immediately, but it does speak to the rise of “casual” games which have more easy to use controls with only zero or one joysticks to worry about. New players, male or female, are more likely to grasp that kind of scheme quickly.
As for girls wanting their games to grow up, I can’t blame them for that, and someday, I dream of a world where we can put gender differences aside and all frag in harmony.