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Why Ubisoft Montreal is more than an "Assassin's Creed meat

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Child of Light's creative director on the need for gaming diversity

There's an exhausting tendency for cynicism in the games industry at the moment, but it isn't hard to understand why. In an age of bullshots and PR-controlled dev access and restrictive release day embargoes, it's easy to become utterly jaded about the business side of gaming, and forget that the majority of developers still make games because they genuinely love doing so.... read more

Why Ubisoft Montreal is more than an "Assassin's Creed meat

Postby Grummy » 30 Oct 2013, 17:18

I have a theory about the balance between male and female gamers that I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on. I think one of the reasons, perhaps the largest reason that there is such an imbalance is that men are easier to market to. Men like boobies, guns, explosions, violence and sports, if you can mix some of those into one game with fun writing, you've got a game that men will buy. Women on the other hand are more difficult to market to, I certainly wouldn't know where to start marketing towards women. Male leads with big wangs? Female leads you can identify with or imprint your own personality on? A shoe shopping game? Yeah, I know these are stupid ideas and crass stereotypes, but the problem is, men tend to fit their stereotypes well and nobody is really offended that products are made and marketed along those lines for us. For women though, stereotypes are questionable at best, deliberately chauvinistic at worst, but that means marketers have nothing to go on, they haven't had years of practice making and marketing games to women like they have with men, that makes women far more difficult to market too.

If you look at the majority of women focused adverts on TV, they're all for make-up or shampoo or clothes etc, for men it's pretty much chocolate and beer. Now, if a developer made and marketed a game especially for women and it turned out to be hours and hours of just playing dress up and adding make up to a character I'd expect a 200 hour Elder Scrolls game to follow it, but assuming that wasn't there, and the make-up was all that the game offered, there would be uproar over the blatant sexism, and rightfully so.

In reality we know that women have the same general tastes in games as men, they like whatever they like regardless of gender, but I don't think the industry knows how to market games to them which is why there is a larger balance towards men instead.
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Re: Why Ubisoft Montreal is more than an "Assassin's Creed m

Postby sloggett » 30 Oct 2013, 22:03

i never head such sexist twaddle women like exactly the same games
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Re: Why Ubisoft Montreal is more than an "Assassin's Creed m

Postby Grummy » 31 Oct 2013, 08:41

sloggett wrote:i never head such sexist twaddle women like exactly the same games


Is that aimed at me? If so, try reading what I wrote again, I actually say;

"In reality we know that women have the same general tastes in games as men",

acknowledging this fact. My point, which has clearly gone way over your head, is that men fit stereotypes fairly well and it's easy to market too, plus PR and ad departments have decades of experience marketing to men and those stereotypes. However, women don't fit those stereotypes as those stereotypes are misogynistic in nature and ad departments don't have experience marketing games towards women, traditionally, most ads you see on TV that are aimed at women are for beauty products and clothing, things which don't translate into games. We know that women like the same games as men, people like whatever games they like regardless of gender, but there is little experience of marketing to women and most of these games conform to stereotypes that traditionally apply to men. So where does the industry go from here? If a developer attempts to deliberately make a game with a female lead, they run the risk of making her seem to be too much of a male fantasy, which wouldn't go down too well, and this assumes that a female lead would be enough to be mass marketable to women.

I personally don't think you CAN specifically market a game to women and it just happens that most games fit into marketable stereotypes that suit men, it's a happy accident that ad departments have been able to exploit. As far as I'm concerned games should just be marketed for what they are, with no tilt towards men or women and let people enjoy them as they wish regardless of gender. I think the balance will redress itself naturally in the course of time, but that will mean that for the foreseeable future the balance of gamers will be skewed towards men.
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