Thursday, January 13, 2005

Women + Video Games = Profit

Women have money to spend. As with the rest of the world, they are seeing games as one of their main sources of entertainment. Tap into their desires for fun, and *poof*, instant profits.

Yesterday, Clarinda Merripen of Cyberlore spoke at the Boston Postmortem. She had a lot to say about women and games - to an audience of almost all male game developers. "Women are the new powerhouse", she said, quoting sales statistics from Fast Company. Apparently, women purchase 66% of all home computer equipment in the U.S!

She accused the game industry of alienating women by their marketing campaigns. As an example, she mentioned the absolutely ridiculous Gameboyd Advance SP ad - the one with the guy and his girlfriend in bed. She is sleeping, while he is playing his gameboy in the dark. It practically spells out "women - this isn't for you" (and worse - guys would rather play with their gameboy than with you!). Clarinda asks the industry to reinvent their image. If Nike could get women to wear sports shoes, why can't the game industry get women to play games?

She also accused the retailers of catering only to guys, and boy, is that true. Every-time I pop into Best Buy in the mall, a bunch of "I know games better than you" clerks hang around the game section, looking at me as if I should rather be shopping at Victoria's Secret.

Anyway, she got the crowd excited about the new Playboy, The Mansion game - it just went gold and will be out on the 25th of January. I'm curious though - will women buy this game?