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What Do Women Want in a Game?

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Part of the reason I wouldn''t consider trying to design a game that targets woemn is that I don''t know what they want. Other than the seemingly exceptionally few who like FPS and driving games, I haven''t heard of or seen a lot of women even discussing computer games. On a random guess, the only games I think the majority of women would play on a regular basis are: 1) hearts/other card games 2) The Sims 3) Tetris There may be others, but if I had a clue what women want in a computer game, maybe I would take the time to try to design for their entertainment needs.

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To know what a woman really wants that''s what we all guys want to know


From the women i know that play games, most of them for some strange reason love the 2D mortal combat''s and hate slow paced rpgs O_o

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The only game I've ever got a girl interested in (other than Tetris & Hearts/Solitaire/etc) was Black & White, she loved teaching the creature and watching the peeps, but didn't like the whole process-tree, murder-villager, throw-rock-at-bad-guys etc. stuff. In fact about 9 months after she stopped being able to play (various reasons), she asked me if I had kept her creature going on, I had to tell her sadly that all was lost in the process of several reformats

I've known a few girls (online) who played team oriented FPS games.

[edited by - JuNC on November 7, 2003 1:13:07 PM]

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It's kind of a flawed question - You're trying to lump more than 50% of the worlds population into a single target market.

There's no single set of things that all women universally want in games, any more than there are for men. Just making a game about ponies and shoe shopping and using lots of pink isn't going to attract women any more than a game about beer and tv will attract men.

Different women like different things from games. Some women like FPS games like Quake. Some women prefer strategy games like Age of Empires. Some women probably aren't interested in games as anything more than a passing distraction to fill in time when they've got nothing better to do - and are perfectly content with the games that come with windows or simple flash games on the web.

There's no single answer to the question. If you can break down 'women' into slightly more sensibly sized target markets, and identify which of those target markets are a)unsatisfied with the current gamut of games and b)potential players of games, provided their requirements are met. There's no point targetting a group of people who are never going to be interested in spending money on computer games. (or at least not if you plan on making money there isn't)

[edited by - Sandman on November 7, 2003 1:23:04 PM]

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I can''t recall the exact demographics, but men ages 30-34 with middle to high level incomes make up the bulk of computer game buyers/players. Women of equal age made up a small minority of game players. The sad thing about such surveys are that the possibility exists that women who do play games don''t like to take surveys. So the numbers might be skewed.

My fiance'' rocks in the fact that she loves racing games and Unreal Championship. I probably could get her to play fighting games. She falls into that small minority of women.

Every article I''ve read about women and computer games indicate that the industry isn''t meeting their needs. If the industry has an idea about what these ''needs'' are, I sure haven''t found a good source to find out about it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
http://www.igda.org/committees/women.php

They do quite a lot. Have a mailing list. Check it out.

Also, I agree. Don''t lump women into a single target market.

Looking at some girl gaming websites, their polls suggest that their taste in games is just as varied as their male counterparts. Fighting games ranked 3rd on one list.


It is not so much the type of game that should change. It is the way a game is currently presented that should be changed. In general (not stereotyped but trends, keep in mind), you want your interfaces to make sense. You want information readily available about choices. For instance, Diablo 2 had different branches you could choose for the tech tree. Girls appreciate knowing that their choices won''t be bad, and if they have to make a choice without information about what a "good choice" is, it will not be a choice they will try to make again and the game is thrown out.

This is a very very simplified situation from what I learned from the Women in Game Development people. Learn more from them.

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Time for pseudo-psych post #912837.

What do women want?

Well, what does everyone want, regardless of gender?
1 - Food
2 - Sleep
3 - Money
4 - Power\Respect
5 - Sex
6 - Friendshp\Love\Emotional support

1-2 don''t apply to games as far as I can tell.

- Online gambling has the allure of striking it rich. #3

- RTS and shooter games give a sense of power.
When played in an online commnity, skill generates respect. So that''s #4.

- Everquest/etc, create virtual social interactions. #6.

So that covers everything but #5. I''ve heard that there are erotic games but I know nothing about them; I''ve never actually run into one. That said, games like Tomb Raider do use sex appeal in marketing. Stereotypically, male sexual fantasies are tied more closely to #4; for females it''s #6. How true these stereotypes are is anyone''s guess.

Fantasies relating to money/power/esteem are pretty universal though, I think.

From my personal experience, though, I can make the following generalization:
- Men think about things.
- Women think about people.

It certainly not this simple, and it certainly isn''t true of everyone, but I think it''s a decent generalization.

So I think that the psychological need that you''ll be most effective tapping into to attract women is #6. That said, the ideal game taps into more than just one, but as many as possible.

There''s another issue too though, which isn''t really inherently gender-specific, but has cultural roots: Since gaming is more prevalent among males, an issue is "targeting non-gamers." Non-games are typically drawn to games with simple learning-curves and immediate positive feedback. Famous examples: Snood, DX-Ball, Icy Tower.

So, to put it all together, make a simple game that satisfies psychological needs. Ideally base the game around interacting with other human players.

My two cents. Feel free to disagree.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Women also like non-violent strategy games. I was in the beta tests for the games from Sierra''s citybuilding series, back when I was in high-school, and more than half the testers were women.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I am a 24 yr old female. I own a PS2 with a wide variety of games. The ones that have received the most amount of play time have been (Madden 02, NBA Street, GTA3 & GTA Vice City, Gran Turismo 3). I get really frustrated when I can''t create a female player in Madden (it takes the fun out of trying to create yourself). Or in games where there are female characters availalbe, I get mad at having to choose between some skank with big boobs #1 and some other skank with big boobs #2. Why does everyone assume that only guys play these games???

Things I like in games:
- competition
- situations that I can relate to
- smart addicting game play (not dumb addicting like tetris)
- ability to create or use a player like myself

Things I hate:
- long, complicated, and complex storylines (unless the gameplay itself is fun i.e. GTA)
- any kind of RPG
- medieval or fantasy type games
- games where the only goal is to accumulate a mass amount of points..boring.

As previous posters have said, there is no 1 female demographic.
Games shouldn''t be written strictly to appeal to women. Games should be written to appeal to everyone, which means . Women aren''t cattle. They won''t flock to a game if it''s packed in pink or has ponies on the box. Make a good game, with situations where the everyday person can relate to (less magic spells or other fantasy crap), add in characters that won''t offend women, and the women who are into games will play them. Women who aren''t into playing games probably never will get into it. There isn''t anything that can be done about this. There are also plenty of guys out there that don''t like playing video games too. My husband is one of them.

Colleen

ps. I hate the color pink.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I am a 24 yr old female. I own a PS2 with a wide variety of games. The ones that have received the most amount of play time have been (Madden 02, NBA Street, GTA3 & GTA Vice City, Gran Turismo 3).



My kind of girl 8) I know a few females who are into video games. My step mom is a huge Sims fan. My younger sisters love video games, especially Zelda and Banjo-Kazooie on the N64. I believe that the lead person in charge of the GTA series (or GTA3 at least) was a female, i''ll check and confirm later. But there are quite a few females in the video game industry, just obviously not the majority. When i think of video games and females, the first person that comes to mind is Morgan Webb...hehe. It seems that most females tend to like strategy IMO.

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I''ve known quite a number of girls and women that are into online games where they can be social with other people. These ranged from text-based MUDs to Ultima Online and such. I believe that games that have a good social atmosphere are a good attractant for female gamers. Of course there are many males that really enjoy those types of online games as well. Some of the online games where the social atmosphere is animosity, with constant argueing and trash talk is a turn off.

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I''ve only known a few women that play, but most of them seem to have one common factor - immediate feedback.

Case in point - my sister. She has a thing for strategy/management and empire building games. She absolutely loves games like Theme Hospital but hates games like the sims. She likes a game that gives her a pat on the back for doing something right and hates any game that makes you wait half an hour to find out what a mistake it was. She also likes driving games, probably for the same reason - driving games are very much instant feedback. You either win or crash and burn.

Other than that, womena seem to like any style of game. I''ve seen woman playing fighting games, driving, strategy, flight sim, shooting etc. The only game I don''t think I''ve seen women play is RPGs. I think that genre really does just appeal to the 12 year old boy in each of us

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i know a lot of girl playing rpg
from diablo to baldur at ff style game, the last mostly for the scenario, a lot of casual femal gamer love story driving game and quick game like M$ accessory around me
but there is a girl for each play style
what''s bother them is the typical sterotype aim at male player which offenf her

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
be good
be evil
but do it WELL
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Okay, well from my personal experience, I would have to say that women are less impressed by the latest in technology. Males tend to be far more easily lored in by impressive graphics. A woman won''t like a game for the graphics alone, so it better have good gameplay. Also, women have that natural instinct to take care of things, hence why most of "The Sims" playing population is female. And referring back to another post, also why that particular female enjoyed "Black and White". Anyways, it seems that they like strong competition. Hence Quake 3, as mentioned earlier, along with Madden and other sports games. Those present short but dramatic competitions. RPG''s don''t present either of those qualities, which is most likely why the majority of women do not seem to like them. It is true that RPG''s can be pretty dramatic, almost in a girly sense, but the amount of time it takes to get to that point is a long time. And lets face it, RPG''s probably don''t have the type of gameplay that women enjoy. You don''t really have any competition, nor are you really taking care of something. I mean, in a sense you are competing against monsters, and you are taking care of your characters. But RPG''s don''t really give you that much control, everything is pretty much scripted. And just to back this stuff up, my girlfriend is obssessed with games like Tony Hawk, where we compete for hours on end. She likes Timesplitters 2, where we also compete for hours on end. Then we go and play a game like Baldurs gate: Dark alliance; she doesn''t really enjoy it that much, since there is not really a sense of competition, its more cooperation. So yea, thats just my thoughts on the subject, feel free to agree or disagree.

Divinus Entertainment
Land of Relics Art Director
http://divinus.net

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In my experience females who play computer games play the same games as males. However there are far fewer females into computer games. Honestly I don''t think that there is some genetic reason for this at all, I think it''s really societal. Women aren''t supposed to like computer games (particularly violent ones) so they are brought up with that notion. This is why today you see far more women playing computer games - that stereotype is being broken. Soon I predict that close to an equal mix of male and female players will make up the market.

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actually study show that there is more femal which play video games than youg and teen in the market, yougs and teen is normally the core market....

in europe it''s seems that girl like more story driven games

and japan there is a long time girl play as well

culture taste??


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
be good
be evil
but do it WELL
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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quote:
Original post by Neoshaman
actually study show that there is more femal which play video games than youg and teen in the market, yougs and teen is normally the core market....


If you're talking about the same study I'm thinking of, it was a stupid study which proved nothing.

ISTR it compared the total number of women of all ages that play games with the total number of boys that play games between the ages of 4 and 8 and 12-18 or some other equally random age groups, and then tried to claim that the resulting comparison was meaningful in some way.

[edited by - Sandman on November 8, 2003 7:44:28 PM]

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it was meaningful because woman was considered as a minor market and was still under all male group of age
since the teen are core market, gamedesigner would pay more attention ti woman because they has grow significantly

this mean: hey! there is a market outside teen boy!!
male still are predominent BUT we do care girl more

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
be good
be evil
but do it WELL
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Actually I agree with sandman, I think the study was rather stupid. They regard a bored female secretary playing solitaire at the office as a gamer. This is of course irrelevant, because that type of person will not go into a video game store and ask for the 42th time that month "has Rome : Total War been released yet?".
What I mean is, that the females regarded as gamers in the study are much less likely to actually purchase a game, since the games they play are usually free anyway.


____________________________
I rather sprintf than sprint

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I''ll tell you my "genious" conclusion. Because females have a different biological role in life, they are not interested in the same things as males. But since life is so complex mistakes happen, that''s why there women with similar interests as males (just like males who are more feminine than females).
Females lack imagination, females don''t feel like exploring new worlds, females don''t like violence...
Males want to be heros and that''s why they like fantasy stories.
The most stupid thing the movies propagade these days are female soldiers. I wander what would happen if a platoon of female solders is lost in Central Africa or Iran or somewhere else.

And there is a difference between a girl and a female. No matter what a girls does in her childhood most of them start acting just like the rest of the women when they get older.

Women are striving for real things: houses, money, husbands. Games are not real. They are for wannabe heros (like me but I''m not ever going to be), which means males.

So don''t expect to make all women like games and maybe makeng them to like games is not a good idea. And in case I''m wrong then probably only wommen would be able to create games for women. Just check the library of your mother, sister or wife to see what books they are reading. Probably Blood of a Hero eh or there are more like Love Nights in Toombooktoo

Hmm... let me stopp b..ing

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my wife loves it when i play all of the games we have she seems to enjoy it more then playing but she does like violent games such as grand theft auto vice city and some puzzle games and she also likes gun games she even helps me out on rpg games she and i have never played before and all lot of the time her suggestions help out.she also loves fighting games as well like soul cailber and mortal kombat and street fighter series.she also like the mega man series from old systems and the new ones from ps1.she also likes zelda games and mario and luigi games as well so in turn she likes what looks interesting or seems fun to play when there is nothing to do or just wants to play for competetion.A co worker of mine loves navy seals type games (fps) she is also female.

BullDogRacing76

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You seem to have the perfect wife, especially if she cooks, cleans the house and cares for the children and earns all the money for the family and all you have to do is to play the games for her

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From what I take from everything thus far is that "targeting" the female audience is like "targeting" the male audience - there is no "catch-all" game design, just generalities.

Taken to mind -

1) Women like non-stereotypical games
2) Women like growth games as long as there is freedom to do what she wants, where and when she wants
3) Competition in regards to competing against a clock, a self set goal, or another character after the same goal (racing of some sort). The fiance isn''t beyond violence to acheive her goal
4) Games that make sense

Each point has finer points, clarifications, etc but a warm, fuzzy middle ground probably exists.

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