Saturday, July 02, 2005

Musings-Violence, Censorship and Women Gamers

Some things in this world just make me /boggle.

I keep reading about how the gaming industry wants to capture the "women gamers market". Check out the state of the industry address by the Entertainment Software Associations top guru.

In there he states that women are an untapped market. I think he's right. I'll even bet that all that socially responsible talk he touches on at the end of that speech would have a lot to do with bringing women gamers into the fold.

Then I read articles about censorship and how video game developers don't want their creative juices to be hampered in anyway. IGDA I've heard these arguements on many forums and I don't blame them for wanting freedom. I do think however that part of the reason they can't capture the female market is that they are too busy exercising their freedoms.

For example, I happened upon this editorial and I find I agree with her. I can't help but think that the elusive womens market is so elusive partly because of the insistance of developers not to self censor the extreme levels of violence, gore and behavior that no mother is going to want to encourage in her children.

Where do gamers like me go? I don't like "casual" games where so many developers tend to pigeonhole female gamers. I want challenge! I want risk!

I don't want blood, guts and gore. I don't want to expose my kids to the ideas of car jacking and murder as a form of entertainment. Yes, yes it's real life they need to learn what's out there but good heavens why would I want to expose them to some of the most horrific crimes for the first time as a fun way to spend a weekend? There's something wrong with that.

The bottom line is that this means I can't play those games in front of my kids even if I wanted to play them.

There goes a chunk of the female audience.

It also brings to mind another issue with the percieved level of undesirability associated with "types" of games.

I use to believe I didn't like FPS games because all I'd ever seen were Doom type games on full gore. /vomit But when the BF2 demo came out I tried it and realized I really enjoyed first person shooters if they involve an element of teamwork, very little gore and a storyline of working for the greater good (ie: fighting to ensure my team wins!)

What this tells me is that there are areas of gaming that I have passed over because the typical offering was not appealing from a distance. How many other women out there say "I don't like FPS games" because their experience of FPS is based on ultra gory Doom type offerings?

There goes another chunk of the female audience.

The whole situation though makes me shake my head with puzzlement. How can folks be so blind? The developers on the game developer sites scream that censorship should be left to the parents. Then they add more violent graphics and socially reprehensible themes to games and wonder why they can't capture the female market.

DUH?! We're doing the censoring.


At 2:15 PM, Blogger Eldronius said...

I agree, ieranii. I think there are markets for violent games, and they should be able to make them.

But there are a great number of people out there who do not like these sort of games, men and women alike. Blood and violence do not good games make, but challenge, fun, and excitement do. I will join in shaking fists at the gamemakers.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Pizpan said...

'scuse me whilst I cut & paste =P

Hey Eld! How are the Munchkins doin'?

I think you're the last of the original group....

We might have to make a return on Vanguard =D

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