What do you call a $24.75 billion dollar industry that ignores half its audience? Foolish? Misguided? Clueless? Well, there's apparently going on so let's see what are the best video games for women!
Now as the industry apparently forgets half its audience, call it what you will, but many people call it the male video game industry. Despite the fact 42 percent of American gamers are female, video game markets continue to push their product solely to their male audience. Strange.
We could get into an enormous discussion on female gamers and the portrayal of women in video games. I don’t want to do that; better minds than I lead thoughtful, insightful discussions on those topics. What I want to focus on is the marketing of video games, and how an industry’s attitudes can hamstring itself.
The sheer idea that video gaming is just for men or boys is far from the truth. Women and girls just like to game in the same way guys do. On the other hand, it could be true that girls may not like to play the same games as guys, so take a look at the bottom of this page that lists 10 great games targeted towards girls. Guys might also like some of them.
Video as Man-Territory
To be fair, the idea video games are a male-oriented hobby isn’t confined to the industry. The concept of the pimply teen boy huddled over a game console in his parent’s basement is well-established.
Trouble is, the idea doesn’t hold water when you look at the statistics. Only 18 percent of gamers are males under the age of 17. A whopping 30 percent are women 18 and older. You simply don’t ignore a third to half of your consumer base . . . unless you’re a video game marketer.
Gender stereotypes remain common in video game marketing. The only games specifically marketed to women are casual games like Farmville, fashion and music games, the plethora of exercise-related Wii games, and games with a heavy emphasis on pink pastels and princesses.
This is in spite of the fact women tend to play the same games as men. World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard reports 45 percent of its players are female.
Games featuring a female protagonist don’t sell as well as male-dominated games, according to the statistics. But factor in another statistic — that female-led games receive only 40 percent the marketing of their male-lead counterparts — and you realize the industry has created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As for games where you can choose the gender of your character, well, you’d never know the choice existed from marketing decisions. Remember Skyrim?
The blockbuster game allowed you to play as either a male or female character, but you’d never have guessed that from the television spots, which featured a traditionally burly, grim-looking male warrior.
Why the Disconnect?
Quite frankly, the industry is scared. Not of attracting female gamers, but of losing male consumers. Marketers fear if they push a game towards women, male consumers won’t buy it.
I don’t buy that. The traits women value in video games are, for the most part, identical to male gamers. Action and a good storyline are paramount.
Yes, women may prefer games where they can customize their character. So do many male gamers. In fact, up to 57 percent of gamers chose to “gender-swap” characters, especially in online games.
What Can We Learn From Game Marketing?
Other industries can learn from video game marketer’s missteps. If nothing else, it’s important to keep an open mind about who makes up your consumer base.
If an Olshan litigation lawyer realizes 40 percent of her client base required medical malpractice litigation, she shouldn't ignore them because 60 percent of her clients require business law services.
Here Are 10 Popular Video Games For Girls
Hakuoki Memories of the Shinsengumi - for 3DS
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning - for 3DS
Princess Debut - for DS
Fire Emblem Awakening - for 3DS
Mario Kart 8 - for Wii U
Rune Factory 4 - for 3DS
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan - for 3DS
Portal - for PS3, Xbox 360, and Windows
Tomodachi Life - for 3DS
De Blob - for Wii