FEMALE GAMING: And the Girlz of Destruction
Although the gaming market tends to ignore female gamers when it comes to ‘boys’ games, there are female gamers, such as those belonging to “girlz Of destruction” (g.O.d.), who are beating the boys hands-down.
This gaming group is a 7-member, international all-girls PC gaming clan hailing from seven different countries (Canada, China, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the USA), who are widely regarded as the highest level professional female Quake 4 players.
g.O.d. are taking the gaming world by storm, showing that there are girls who like to slaughter mutant humanoids and cap the odd nazi just as much as any guy.
Girlz of Destruction:
Gaming usually brings to mind anemic looking teenage boys hiding out in their parent’s basements for extended periods of time, while ogling busty heroines traversing the barren landscapes of World of Warcraft.
While this stereotype may have been accurate at one time, it no longer holds true, as more and more women are joining the gaming fraternity. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 38% of gamers nowadays are female, and what’s more, they spend up to 7.4 hours a week playing games.
Women’s interest in gaming is obviously growing, but we must ask ourselves then, why do marketers insist on compounding the stereotypical idea that if women do enjoy gaming then they must enjoy playing games relating to cooking, family, animals and strategic games?
One common way in which marketers often exclude the female market from popular shooting and racing games, is by representing female characters as being scantily clad, with under-developed hips and over-developed breasts, and by posting those same female forms on billboards, street lights and posters.
This kind of marketing is rather short-sighted as it ostracises a potentially huge market by not appealing to, or talking to women gamers.
Concentrated marketing to the male group, on the other hand, could stem from the fact that although more women are enjoying gaming, on the technical side it is still very much a male-dominated industry.
A survey commissioned by Sony Online Entertainment revealed that more than 60% of female students that enrolled in game design programs at The Art Institutes say they believe male dominance in the industry is a deterrent to women pursuing a career in gaming.
While many companies may be displaying a certain amount of arrogance towards the female market, it’s good to know that certain conglomerates, such as (believe it or not) Microsoft, are doing their best to encourage female gamers.
One initiative taken in this direction is evidenced by the ATI/AMD Cyber X Games: Windows XP Championships in Las Vegas, where Microsoft Windows XP are a title sponsor, and whose sponsorship has led to the creation of new categories for female gamers, such as the Windows XP Female Pro Gaming Quake 3 Competition, and the Windows XP Female Counter-Strike Team Event.
With incredible prize money as a little incentive, Microsoft is at least encouraging women in an area where they have previously been ignored.
- rAge is South Africa’s largest interactive gaming and technology expo and is the ideal place to see female cyber athletes in action. To find out more about the South African gaming industry and trends, check out the gaming event of the year taking place in Johannesburg from the 3rd to the 5th of October at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate.
For more info visit: www.rageexpo.co.za