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Girl gaming on the rise
05 July 2010
‘Girls like to game, but games are not well tuned to their interests.’ This is one of the conclusions of the study into girls’ gaming habits and preferences conducted by Lotte Vermeulen, student communication at Ghent University in Belgium. As part of her dissertation she surveyed 983 gamers to find out which game elements are particularly attractive to girls.
Are games for men?
The role of women in the world of gaming is no longer limited to that of attractive game character, booth babe or supporter of male gamers. Female gamers play approximately 8 hours per week and they are becoming an increasingly important target group for the industry. Male gamers still play more than twice as long as women, however, with 17 hours per week. This can be explained by the fact that games are still looked upon as boys’ toys and that they are mostly tuned to the interests of men.
Preference for easy to use games
In contrast with men, women want a game to be logical and easy to use. Controls should be common sense and the combination of keys should not be too complicated. The rules of the game have to be clear and the challenges feasible. Women tend to give up when the game is not that easy to handle. They are less motivated to sacrifice time to get the knack of the game. Therefore, they mostly opt for shorter and simpler games, such as casual and social games. However, more than half of the female gamers admit that they would like to have more time to play.
Violence should be fun!
Surprisingly, women are not put off by violence in games. This violence, however, needs to have a humorous undertone as realistic battle scenes are less appreciated. In general, women choose more cartoony and 2D games than men. Additionally, they prefer solving a problem or a riddle to conquering or destroying something.
A great deal of action
Men love competition but female gamers appreciate a great deal of action too. Achieving their goal and making progress in the game are important elements. Competing with friends through movements in so-called party games appeals even more strongly to women than to men.
Girls like to be in control
Women are strongly motivated to game when there is a possibility to choose their own assignments and to explore freely. Women like to hang around in beautiful and rich environments and they prefer game worlds in sharp and bright colours to darker settings. Exploring also includes performing other activities (side-quests) in addition to the main game objective.
Surprisingly, social contact is the least strong motivation for women to game whilst it is the strongest one for men. Other factors that strongly appeal to women are freedom and control, challenge, competition and immersion.
Strong and sexy women
Male gamers do not object to beautiful, scantily-dressed ladies in games whereas female gamers are not particularly interested in games in which women are portrayed as sex objects. It is striking that women who game less are more annoyed by this. Still, the appearance of game characters is not unimportant to women. They prefer to play with strong, pretty and feminine characters that get things done.