Are Video Games Only for Males?


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gtav2_17092013_press.jpg

$800 million. That's how much Take Two Interactive Software Inc's newly released (September 17, 2013), Grand Theft Auto V, earned globally on the first day of release.  According to 
Reuters that is an estimated 13 million to 14 million copies of the game. GTA V is only one of the major video games being released this fall. The first was Madden 25, released August 23, 2013, sold approximately 1 million copies the first week.  The fall video game trend will continue with NBA 2K14 releasing on October 1, 2013 and Call of Duty: Ghosts releasing on November 5, 2013.  Many women are afraid that they will lose their boyfriends to these games for the fall (which is perfect snuggling season).  But lately, many research studies have been suggesting that women enjoy playing these video games as much as men do.

According to USA Today, 55% percent of the video game playing population is made up of men, while a surprising 45% is made up of women.  Although studies done in 2008 at the Stanford University School of Medicine suggest that "the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings is more activated in men than women during video-game play" many women are now becoming apparent in the gaming world.

So why is it that most video games are tailored towards men?  Just from the examples above, it is evident that the features, goals, ideas, and graphics are all steered towards men.  Football, basketball, military, and stealing cars and killing strippers are all things that both men and women partake in (not so much for the last example).  So then shouldn't there be FEMALE basketball players, and FEMALE football players, and FEMALE army women, and featured FEMALES (who's only purpose is not get shot up on the block in skimpy clothes) in these games?

Although it is more commonly known that men enjoy these sports and violence, it should not be ignored that women enjoy gaming just as much.  And not only in the,"I want to impress guys, so I'll pick up this controller and pretend I know what I'm doing way", but in a genuine I enjoy tackling big football players virtually way.  Perhaps if these video gamer makers tried a new outlook, they could increase their fan-base and sales.

2 Comments

This is unreal. When was the last time a girl asked you to sit down and play a game of Madden. Or better yet, heard a girl play Call of Duty. NEVER! I don't mean to be sexist, but for as long as I've been alive video games have been a manly thing. Now I must admit that my gaming days are way behind me and since I've played them things could have changed. The world is changing faster and faster every year and I think this is a great example of how. Women are leaving the traditional home wife cookie cutter lifestyles and having successful careers just like men. This just goes to show you that we have to adapt and be open to women being our bosses, co workers, etc. We must not be sexist men, but open human beings. This is an important blog post not because of video games but because of the changing dimensions of genders. Well done.

The joys of sexist marketing is that it has been so effective in certain areas (video games and comic books being the most obvious examples) that it's become a self-perpetuating cycle: men believe that only men play video games because of marketing which appeals only to men, so less women play those games, leading marketers to believe that only men play video games, leading them to market more video games to men....
Why aren't more video games marketed to women, use fully-clothed female protagonists, or feature women prominently as more than the hero's reward or chore to rescue? A ratio of 55:45 men:women is not a huge gender gap. I can only speculate that video game design and industry is primarily male-dominated, and thus the explicitly male-marketed games. Instead of GTA being marketed as a power fantasy, it is a clear male power fantasy (although I admit I'm on shaky ground here as I wouldn't use GTA as a barometer for many video games).
As with many things, change is coming slowly to the video game industry. Female protagonists are featured prominently in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Bioshock Infinite. The key component in these changes has been and continues to be getting games developers to take a long look at the statistics on female gamers, their wants and needs, and not let an outdated sexist viewpoint destroy their understanding of the data.

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