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Tuesday News: Get an action figure of yourself; Gaming should focus...

“Women control more than 80 percent of spending. 60 percent of online gamers are women. 94 percent of girls under 18 report playing video games regularly. Those last two facts alone should influence developers into creating games with the female gamer in mind. Yet in the online and console worlds there is a slight lagging in user gameplay than five years ago; it’s the male gamer that advertisers view as the target player in the $24.7 billion gaming industry.”

This reminds me of the early days of digital ereading devices when the focus was definitely on male readers.Pando Daily

You can get a small you in three different sizes: 3.9-inches (10cm), 5.9-inches (15cm) or 7.8-inches (20cm) tall. A pocket-sized person does not come cheap. Prices range from $264 (21,000 yen) to $528 (42,000 yen). The price tag is more reasonable when you think of them as miniature sculptures


  1. Christine M.
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 07:28:05

  2. Ren
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 08:53:59

    Penguin is working overtime to exclude Kindles from having library access to its titles.

    Dearest Penguin: The Kindle is oblivious to your slight, but the millions of PEOPLE who use Kindles are well aware and pissed off, not at their battery-powered plastic doodads or the manufacturer thereof, but at YOU for behaving like a petulant five-year-old with the business acumen of a rotten cantaloupe.

  3. Carrie G
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:08:49

    @Christine M.:
    Thanks for posting the response.

  4. Ren
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:11:44

    I shudder to think what would come of game developers saying, “Let’s make a game to appeal to those people with boobs!”

    I already buy the games they shove at men. I’d rather they put more effort into improving THOSE (better storytelling, sent to market without bug infestation, etc.) than try to pander to what they think I’m supposed to crave because I lack a Y chromosome.

  5. Carrie G
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:20:09

    About gaming:
    I have two sons and three daughters. ALL of them are avid gamers. One of my sons is studying to be a game designer, and I’ve talked to him about this very thing. Game companies should know girls/women play video games, and it isn’t all Sims 3. My girls are working through the Mass Effect games, again. I should perhaps be chagrined to say one of our favorite quotes from my youngest daughter, then 6, was when she was playing a multi-player version of Unreal Tournament with her siblings. “I killeded Thomas!” Thomas, who was 12 at the time and a “skilled” sniper, was NOT happy! I did make them change to the war cows after that, because I wasn’t 100% comfortable with them using each other as target practice!

    With a gamer as a father, it was inevitable that my kids all grew up to be gamers. And more and more girls are getting into the “heavy duty” games than ever before. We don’t need more “Barbie’s Farm” games for girls, we need more good puzzle/problem solving quest games, like the old Kings Quest series or the Journeyman games. We used to all sit together around our sole computer when the kids were small, solving the games together. It was better than watching movies!

  6. Lynnd
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:59:04

    @Ren: The only way that girls will get the games they want is for the girls to develop them themselves. We cannot rely on a bunch of boys who have spent their entire lives in their parents’ basements playing games to understand girls and what we might want (I say this from the experience of listening to my gamer nephew and his gamer friends discuss “girls” – I have been know to suggest on occasion that they might want to leave their basement to come out into the light of the real world once in awhile where they could possibly actually meet some REAL girls …).

  7. Ridley
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 10:23:16

    I probably play videogames about as often as I read. I’m currently held in thrall by Diablo III, but I still have a WoW account and I have The Sims 3 on my computer. I used to be a huge console gamer – the TV used to exist only for the 6 consoles I had connected to it – but disability scuttled that pretty neatly. In college in the late-90s, I used to play Goldeneye on the N64 with the guys in my dorm, and was very hard to beat. Up until recently, I belonged to a progression-oriented raiding guild in WoW, which entailed wearing a voice chat headset, showing up for raids from 8-12pm Sunday-Thursday and working from a spreadsheet and gear databases on my own time to maximize my damage during raids. I also used to watch boss battle walkthrough videos during downtime at work. I also used to be the assistant manager at a mall video game store.

    Clearly I’m pretty familiar with the industry and the culture. So I wish developers would hear the voices of women like me when we say that we don’t need “games for girls,” we need more positive portrayals of women and less blatant sexism. We’d love more games like Katamari Damacy too, if that’s not too much to ask. Stop fridging wives and girlfriends in heroes’ backstories. Give us more female leads who aren’t pure fanservice (more Samus Aran, less Lara Croft.) Basically, turn your backs on the Penny Arcade misogyny party that’s defined the culture for the past decade or so and treat women like humans and not props or sex toys.


  8. Carin
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 10:49:04

    @Ridley: Yes, Ridley! “So I wish developers would hear the voices of women like me when we say that we don’t need “games for girls,” we need more positive portrayals of women and less blatant sexism. ” Yes! My daughters like to play just as much as my son does. They don’t want different games. I would appreciate positive portrayals of women, and they will, too!

    On another front, I really want 3D photo booth miniatures of me and my entire family! Not enough to pay that much for them, but it would be really cool!

    And Penguin? Boo. I suppose we should be happy with baby steps, but it’s like being proud that your 18 year old got up on time. Yes, that’s progress, but he still needs to get a job. Come on, Penguin! Grow up.

  9. hapax
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 11:35:38

    @Lynnd: “We cannot rely on a bunch of boys who have spent their entire lives in their parents’ basements playing games to understand girls and what we might want ”

    Err. While I am all for having more women in game design and development, I’d like to point out that this stereotype is as gender essentialist and offensive as the one the industry supposedly has of women.

    My son is an avid gamer and has never been in our basement, because we don’t have one. He has no interest in FPS, and has had long discussions with me about the craft of art, storytelling, world-building, etc. in games — especially the ones he wants me to buy for him! He plans to go into designing games as a career, and is concentrating on his English classes and art classes as much as his programming classes — in fact, he has already been designing games with his friends (which, shock almighty, include some girls!)

    Women — including women gamers — aren’t a different species, you know. We like to watch Stuff What Blows Up as well as the next guy. And that next guy very well may enjoy puzzle solving, beautiful settings, and even character relationships as much as us.

  10. Sunny
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 11:58:26

    I love video games, which probably helps as I’m also a game developer. I’ve worked in offices where I was the only woman out of 100 people, and those places are still considered the norm, and it’s not just frightening — it’s stupid. I’ve had people try to convince me to act as receptionist instead of as a senior programmer, and at conventions people look at me and say “I hate booth babes, is there anyone here who actually knows anything about the game?” when I’m the one who made the damned thing go.

    I am very fortunate now to be working in an office that’s 20% women, with 50% of them in management and leadership positions… and while that’s still way, way lower than it should be on the first number (and what SHOULD be normal on the second!) we’re considered one of the best in the industry for numbers. Yet our press interviews only focus on the men involved, the team that went to E3 were all men, and you wouldn’t know outside the office that these numbers exist.

    It’s frustrating. And honestly, while I badly want to see more choice in games (more female protagonists you don’t have to rape to make them sympathetic or give them a plausible backstory for why they’re not barefoot in the kitchen, more people of colour who aren’t caricatures or stereotypes), I also just want people who make games to stop deliberately offending me in their marketing and creation processes and I’ll buy the damn things.

    It’s a slow, slow process, especially in a huge big-budget studio, so thank goodness for the indie scene and the women (and men) who are making games that challenge all of these long-held beliefs that sex sells (to men, who are the only ones worth selling to), that nobody can “connect” with a woman lead, and that women only play farmville anyhow so aren’t even real gamers (both statements I have huge issues with, ESPECIALLY when we’re going after the free-to-play market with such disdain for exactly those customers! It’s not going to end well.).

  11. Carrie G
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 14:12:13

    We won’t get more female game designers until we get more young ladies majoring in the “hard” sciences in college. Statistics show that at the end of high schools, girls are as prepared as boys to go into math intensive majors such as computer science, chemistry and engineering, but relatively few do so. High school girls are also scoring as well on the AP tests, but fewer take them for CS or physics. As of 2009 (the latest stats I could find) only 20% of those graduating with a BS in fields like CS and Engineering were women.

    Since young women in high school are taking many advanced math classes and getting scores equal to or better than high school boys on the AP test, such as Calculus AB, we can’t blame the disinterest in CS and Engineering majors solely on the school system not encouraging women in those fields. When you look at stats for high school graduates, it looks like a success story. I’m not sure how we encourage young women to enter these fields.

    @hapax: And thanks for this. My sons are not misogynists. That may be in part from growing up with older and younger sisters who also love gaming, I don’t know. But I agree that stereotype is getting a little worn.

  12. Gwen Hayes
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 17:40:10

    I’m pretty ticked off with Penguin for making it so hard to get a digital library book on my Kindle. It’s almost easier to get in my car and check out a paper copy. Which is what they want, I’m sure. But I don’t read paper books anymore, so instead I usually pass them over.

    For some reason, with Penguin books, I have to sideload it directly to my Kindle. Which makes no sense. Why do they care if I wirelessly download it? If I wanted to strip the DRM from it, I still can. It’s not stopping anyone.

  13. Andrea
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 17:52:01

    There’s been girl gamers for as long as there’s been games. There’s girls who like the cutesy stuff, so I have no problem with games with cutesy stuff (I love games that allow me to build pretty gardens). Just so long as that’s not the only type of game out there which acknowledges that half the human race exists. There’s girls who like the racing games, the football games, the puzzle games, the gambling games, the MMOs, the RPGs, the first person shooters, the strategy games. Hell, there’s girls who played “Leisure Suit Larry”.

    Some developers recognised the market early and have gained massive success with games by including the option to be female, and adding variety and depth to friendships, personal plotlines and romance. [It’s amazing how much more ‘real’ Dragon Age feels to me just because the npcs and party members have more options than “kill, team up or sell me junk”.]

    There’s still some way to go. I recently started playing Guild Wars 2 (so much better than the first Guild Wars) and chose my character class based on whether my toon’s clothing covered her stomach. That eliminated four out of seven classes. :) One MMO I couldn’t play at all because the female characters basically ground their hips at me during character creation. It was way too disconcerting. (TERA).

  14. Nadia Lee
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 21:17:45

    @Gwen Hayes: The irony is that it’s easier to strip DRM once you have the book file on your computer v. on some ereader device.

  15. Susan
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 02:02:58

    Penguin, you suck.

    I can’t count the number of Penguin ebooks I have languishing on my wish list due to the absurd pricing. You would apparently rather sell zero books rather than drop your prices and sell many books. In fact, you are willing to further alienate millions of potential customers in order to score points in your juvenile pissing match with Amazon. I’m in awe of your brilliant business plan.

  16. MikiS
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 23:40:54

    Regarding Penguin’s issue with Kindle books:

    I wish I could find the link of a YouTube video I watched from what I remember being a California librarian who was very up-in-arms about the arrangement Overdrive made with Amazon to allow Kindle books. Until I watched that video, I was cynical about Penguin’s stated reason for not wanting it’s books made available through Amazon.

    The video focused on the privacy issues around the way it was set up with Amazon (which might be why USB is okay, but wireless is not?) She felt that Overdrive was breaking one of the basic tenets of library borrowing (at least in the US) that borrowers would not be tracked and could feel safely anonymous in their reading choices.

    I have a Sony reader, so I don’t know what the exact difference is, only guessing. But I did test the ordering of Kindle library book through Amazon because my Mom has a Kindle and I knew I’d be showing her how to do it. I was frustrated that I immediately received emails from Amazon suggesting purchases based on the borrowed book. Then, as the expiration date approached, I started getting emails that I’d better consider buying it or I’d “lose all my notes, annotations, etc.” I decided I was that much happier that I hadn’t chosen to go the Kindle route (and less likely to do so) based on those hard-sell emails.

  17. natasha
    Nov 27, 2012 @ 13:42:26

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