Let's play a game about sex and sexism.

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Following the latest Jimquisition, I noted many of the comments complaining about the game industry's attitude that they don't use female protagonists because they don't sell. Let's put that to the test with a bit of data, eh? Anyone is feel free to contribute any relevant data or information, and I'll say now that my numbers are from VGChartz. Also, I have only chosen the first three games that came to mind in no particular order. Hence the offer for other people to contribute.

Small note: I didn't include Portal in the female list because Chell's gender is entirely cosmetic. She's a silent protagonist in an FPS. I don't count Samus as a real female character in most of her games for the same reason. Or Gordon Freeman as a male one for that matter.

Male Dominated Games:
Halo: Combat Evolved: 6.43 Million
Gears of War 1: 5.99 Million
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: 1.94 Million

Female Dominated Games:
Tomb Raider ('13): 1.44 Million
Mirror's Edge: 2.20 Million
Parasite Eve: 2.10 Million

Bothie Games: (For these, I want everyone to keep in mind that according to Bioware, only 18% of the people who played ME3 completed the game as FemShep. So even these should all be heavily male dominated)
Dragon Age: Origins: 4.37 Million
Mass Effect 2: 4.52 Million
TES V: Skyrim: 14.42 Million

I also want to point out that Parasite Eve, Gears of War, and Halo: Combat Evolved are all console exclusive.

There was a pretty interesting post on PENNY ARCADE REPORT according to this topic.
It is about publishers and marketing, please read it ... I cannot find it though.

EDIT:

Ha, in your face internet

http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/games-with-female-heroes-dont-sell-because-publishers-dont-support-them

Samus is voiced (And pretty obviously voiced, she grunts a lot when she gets bumped around by missiles and melee attacks) in the Prime series and Other M, she has a large section outside the power suit in Zero Mission, and she has narration in Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. There's also that whole death animation in the 2D games and Other M after Super Metroid. It's kinda hard to claim that her gender is any more cosmetic than the Master Chief's.

Also, Halo CE isn't console exclusive.

Kopikatsu:
Male Dominated Games:
Halo: Combat Evolved: 6.43 Million
Gears of War 1: 5.99 Million
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: 1.94 Million

Female Dominated Games:
Tomb Raider ('13): 1.44 Million
Mirror's Edge: 2.20 Million
Parasite Eve: 2.10 Million

I don't want to poke a hole in the boat before it even gets out of the harbor (I think this idea is an interesting one) but this isn't a very fair comparisson. The "male" games and the "female" games you have listed are VERY different games. Halo, Gears, and Medal are all shooters, a very popular genre. Tomb Raider is brand new, Mirror's Edge was a (half-success) experimental game, and Parasite Eve is a very niche JRPG.

Unfortunately, it goes back to what Jim was talking about in the video; chicken or the egg. We don't have a lot of female-centered games to use as comparison and the one's we do have generally don't get the same kind of support.

If you give Tomb Raider a bit more time for sales, I think that compared with Uncharted (since the're both relatively similar) would work nice.

EDIT:
Actually, here, this kind of works now (data from VGchartz.com)
Uncharted 1: 4.55 Million global copies
Tomb Raider: 1.44 Million global copies

Now keep in mind that Uncharted came out in 2007 and was a PS3 exclusive.

But...but...

But I was expecting something along the lines of "Take a shot when..."

However, the problem here is that if we want to really "put it to the test", correlation will simply not be enough, we'd need to prove a causal link as well.

That doesn't mean I'm pretending the problem doesn't exist; what I'm saying is that we need to first establish just how much of a factor the protagonist's gender is in the process of purchasing decisions. If devs get told by publishers that "Male protagonists sell better", the next logical step would be to do some market research to see to what extent and why.

Yes, I'm sure we can handwave it and go on about "sexually insecure teenage boys", but that's not going to get us anywhere. I do pretty much agree with Jim it's a chicken or egg scene, or maybe it's scrambled eggs with chicken.

I suppose the hulking thirty-something gun-toting brown-haired grizzled "badass" archetype is the lowest common denominator, but, bleh. I don't understand what the appeal is.

Is it really fair to compare a new release, an experiment, and whatever the hell that third game is to two of Microsoft's killer apps? Warfigher is fair, because they're on level ground with the games you listed for females, but Gears of War and Halo are insanely popular titles, not because they have male characters, but because they're marketed and hyped up the bum. I guess it could tie back into publishers not supporting female characters enough though.

Toxic Sniper:
Samus is voiced (And pretty obviously voiced, she grunts a lot when she gets bumped around by missiles and melee attacks) in the Prime series and Other M, she has a large section outside the power suit in Zero Mission, and she has narration in Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. There's also that whole death animation in the 2D games and Other M after Super Metroid. It's kinda hard to claim that her gender is any more cosmetic than the Master Chief's.

Also, Halo CE isn't console exclusive.

Eh, I didn't include the PC version in the number. Close enough.

Vegosiux:

That doesn't mean I'm pretending the problem doesn't exist; what I'm saying is that we need to first establish just how much of a factor the protagonist's gender is in the process of purchasing decisions. If devs get told by publishers that "Male protagonists sell better", the next logical step would be to do some market research to see to what extent and why.

While it's far from definitive, but doesn't Mass Effect 3 tell us that? Fem Shep had the better voice actor by far (This is a fairly objective statement, I think. Sorry, Male Shep, you just ain't got it.), better romance options (I say that as a straight male), and overall better lines (there's minor variations between genders), but only 18% of the players who finished the game used her.

Unless you want to make the point that actiony-killy is primarily a guy thing (I do recall at least one person saying that war/killing/strategy are part of the 'male power fantasy'), in which case it's self-perpetuating. The market is full of shooters and the like because they sell super well. Many of the people who play these games are probably men.

The way to change this would be to start pushing games tailored towards women, but that would require taking a financial hit for as long as it takes for those games to start becoming as popular as Call of Duty and the like (if they ever do). You'll never, ever find a publisher willing to do that. They are explicitly there to make money on the investments they make.

erttheking:
Is it really fair to compare a new release, an experiment, and whatever the hell that third game is to two of Microsoft's killer apps? Warfigher is fair, because they're on level ground with the games you listed for females, but Gears of War and Halo are insanely popular titles, not because they have male characters, but because they're marketed and hyped up the bum. I guess it could tie back into publishers not supporting female characters enough though.

I disagree. I included Warfighter specifically because it was not on the level of the female games mentioned. It was panned by critics and the gaming community as a whole and even EA said 'This game got so fucked we can't even use the IP anymore'. And still it sold on comparable levels as Tomb Raider and Mirror's Edge. That says a lot, I think.

Edit: And how do you not know what Parasite Eve is?! It's RPG Resident Evil. It was SO GOOD.

Vegosiux:
However, the problem here is that if we want to really "put it to the test", correlation will simply not be enough, we'd need to prove a causal link as well.

That doesn't mean I'm pretending the problem doesn't exist; what I'm saying is that we need to first establish just how much of a factor the protagonist's gender is in the process of purchasing decisions. If devs get told by publishers that "Male protagonists sell better", the next logical step would be to do some market research to see to what extent and why.

There were studies and game publishers very likely have various internal studies (and numbers) to base their opinions and decisions on (if this would make them more money, they would do it, since there is nothing they like more than that), the results are pretty much as expected though: http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/10438/article/study-of-box-art-reveals-games-that-feature-non-sexualized-women-on-the-box-don-t-sell-well/

The very few games with female protagonists or characters that sell well are often in proportion to their level of sexualization. Tomb Raider sold a lot because of boobs and ass.

I fail to see any kind of problem here though. It's like most people liking milk chocolate and then there's a small group of other loudmouthed people that don't even like chocolate all that much that assert white chocolate is the superiour chocolate and everyone should like that more and there should generally be less milk chocolate in favor of that. Or action/superhero movies doing extremely well, but there being a group of people that suggest romantic comedies are the superior movie type that everybody should be seeing instead and you better turn all those action movies into romantic comedies (despite them having a lot less appeal on a large part of the main audience and them generally doing magnitudes worse at the box office because a lot of people simply don't want to see them).

Then there's the seemingly incessant bitching whenever there is a female character somewhere somehow involved that she isn't the most perfect thing on gods green earth and incarnation of perfection by some sort of universal standard, whether its some supposed "rape" scene in the newest Tomb Raider.
The size of a characters breasts, despite not knowing anything about characterization or context, that apparently needs to be changed to appease the feminists:
image
Or whenever there's violence against female characters, an outcry doesn't seem to be far behind, because that's apparently equality or something: http://www.gamespot.com/news/god-of-war-dev-pulled-back-from-violence-against-women-6388007
http://www.awesomeoutof10.com/discussion/war-games-god-of-wars-woman-hating-ways/

It's just not worth all the trouble and stupid press about it especially when it proves to also decrease sales on top of it, nobody would go and question a male character, no matter how bulky or exaggerated he looks, what he wears, what personality he has or what stupidity would come from his mouth, how many people he kills or how violent he maims and minces his opponents.

defskyoen:
[quote="Vegosiux" post="9.404274.16740248"]
-stuff-

Well, I wasn't actually aware of that particular brand of Bioshock controversy. Guess I should start try kicking up a shitstorm every time another soulless meat wall stars in a shooter, because I find them offensive.

In any case...better comparison that I don't think anyone can find fault with.

Bayonetta (Multi-platform): 1.92 Million

Devil May Cry (PS2): 2.99 Million

Edit: I looked super, duper hard and the only games with a female protagonist that sold very well, that I could find, are Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider II. Except both of those games were sold on the basis of T&A more than anything else, so I don't even think those can count.

If I remember rightly the last time a poll was taken on gender breakdown of The Escapist it was an overwhelming sausage party; 85% male as I recall. Assuming that's a realistic sample of gamers generally, and personally I think it is though really that is apropo of nothing, then the above numbers make sense; men and women will be more likely to buy a product when it is advertised by someone of the same gender. Is that a bad thing though? The only way I can think of exploring this further is if we can contrast gaming with another entertainment medium which doesn't have the same problem/feature.

Could we use music as a comparator? Is there a section of music where you have both genders represented in a non-exploitative sense?

Hmmm...

What about folk music? Lots of blokes and birds peddling that stuff and same hoovering it up. Does anyone here listen to/know about folk music?

defskyoen:
The very few games with female protagonists or characters that sell well are often in proportion to their level of sexualization. Tomb Raider sold a lot because of boobs and ass.

I fail to see any kind of problem here though. (...)

But that exactly is the problem. People who wish for more female protagonists want interesting, strong female characters, characters who are taken seriously. And too much sexualization doesn't exactly help with that. Just like it usually doesn't in the real world.

I don't want to generalize here, but if you are a female gamer who is looking for a female protagonist to identify with, do you really think it makes no difference if this character is overly sexualized, if it is objectified to satisfy the male gaze?

I surely wouldn't want male protagonists to behave in ways you can frequently see in entertainment targeted at female audiences.

Then there's the seemingly incessant bitching whenever there is a female character somewhere somehow involved that she isn't the most perfect thing on gods green earth and incarnation of perfection by some sort of universal standard, whether its some supposed "rape" scene in the newest Tomb Raider.

I don't believe this is true. Flaws make a character more interesting, and isn't that just what people desire? The flaws should just not always fall in one of the common female tropes.

Vegosiux:
But...but...

But I was expecting something along the lines of "Take a shot when..."

However, the problem here is that if we want to really "put it to the test", correlation will simply not be enough, we'd need to prove a causal link as well.

That doesn't mean I'm pretending the problem doesn't exist; what I'm saying is that we need to first establish just how much of a factor the protagonist's gender is in the process of purchasing decisions. If devs get told by publishers that "Male protagonists sell better", the next logical step would be to do some market research to see to what extent and why.

Yes, I'm sure we can handwave it and go on about "sexually insecure teenage boys", but that's not going to get us anywhere. I do pretty much agree with Jim it's a chicken or egg scene, or maybe it's scrambled eggs with chicken.

I suppose the hulking thirty-something gun-toting brown-haired grizzled "badass" archetype is the lowest common denominator, but, bleh. I don't understand what the appeal is.

You want a game like that?
Ok, take a shot whenever a new thread about sexism/gender issues pops up.
Hard mode: Choose one thread and take a shot whenever a post uses the words "feminazi, strawman, ad-hominem, "she is not a feminist", "What about the men". Synonyms also count.
Hardcore mode: Choose a thread, take a shot for every reply.
Dark Souls mode: Prepare to die: Take a shot for every reply to any gender/sexism thread.

I am just goin to leave this here. Apparently over 37% of male gamers said they play a female character "most of the time" if given a choice, as compared to 34% of male gamers saying they played a male character "most of the time". So given a choice, a majority of male gamers will play a female character, according to that study.

Gethsemani:
I am just goin to leave this here. Apparently over 37% of male gamers said they play a female character "most of the time" if given a choice, as compared to 34% of male gamers saying they played a male character "most of the time". So given a choice, a majority of male gamers will play a female character, according to that study.

That's an informal, opt-in survey though - it probably attracted more guys who were specifically interested in the issue. That only 18% of ME3 players who used femShep (including female players) would suggest that that 37% is artificially high.

Kopikatsu:

defskyoen:
[quote="Vegosiux" post="9.404274.16740248"]
-stuff-

Well, I wasn't actually aware of that particular brand of Bioshock controversy. Guess I should start try kicking up a shitstorm every time another soulless meat wall stars in a shooter, because I find them offensive.

In any case...better comparison that I don't think anyone can find fault with.

Bayonetta (Multi-platform): 1.92 Million

Devil May Cry (PS2): 2.99 Million

Edit: I looked super, duper hard and the only games with a female protagonist that sold very well, that I could find, are Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider II. Except both of those games were sold on the basis of T&A more than anything else, so I don't even think those can count.

I find it funny that you say Tomb Raider games were sold for T&A when they have more substance in their gameplay than all the run-around-shooting-people-in-the-face games mentioned in this thread, by you and everyone else.

Raikas:

That's an informal, opt-in survey though - it probably attracted more guys who were specifically interested in the issue. That only 18% of ME3 players who used femShep (including female players) would suggest that that 37% is artificially high.

Definitely a possibility. Another possibility is that there's a difference between different types of gamers, such as between those that play MMOs (where gender selection is abundant) and those that play single player RPGs (where gender selection exists in some games).

My point was really just to show that apparently there is a sub-section of male gamers who either don't care or even prefer female avatars, for whatever reason.

defskyoen:
snip

Your post has made me lose faith in humanity... Elizabeth is the best gaming sidekick ever! (And they're usually men not that it makes a damn difference.)

The god of war thing is also ridiculous, so much for fucking equality in these crazy people's heads...

Anyway, we have little evidence but it's hard to argue decently with it, and there even was a recent thread here where a woman asked others if they disliked playing male characters. I remember quite a bunch of them saying they'd rather play more relatable characters gender-wise, the same goes for most men including me by the way.

CloudAtlas:

defskyoen:
The very few games with female protagonists or characters that sell well are often in proportion to their level of sexualization. Tomb Raider sold a lot because of boobs and ass.

I fail to see any kind of problem here though. (...)

But that exactly is the problem. People who wish for more female protagonists want interesting, strong female characters, characters who are taken seriously. And too much sexualization doesn't exactly help with that. Just like it usually doesn't in the real world.

I don't want to generalize here, but if you are a female gamer who is looking for a female protagonist to identify with, do you really think it makes no difference if this character is overly sexualized, if it is objectified to satisfy the male gaze?

I surely wouldn't want male protagonists to behave in ways you can frequently see in entertainment targeted at female audiences.

Then there's the seemingly incessant bitching whenever there is a female character somewhere somehow involved that she isn't the most perfect thing on gods green earth and incarnation of perfection by some sort of universal standard, whether its some supposed "rape" scene in the newest Tomb Raider.

I don't believe this is true. Flaws make a character more interesting, and isn't that just what people desire? The flaws should just not always fall in one of the common female tropes.

If they actually cared about character writing and storytelling in general, they would complain about that (and no sexualization doesn't exclude "interesting, strong female characters who are taken seriously" either, for instance see The Witcher 2) and not specific parts of it that fit in their agendas. More often than not it seems to flow directly into borderline psychopathic militant "social justice" ramblings about "evil patriarchy" in one way or another, demanding that every little aspect of the game pander to them.

For instance look at these:

"Hegemony of Play: Banjo-Kazooie": http://lmc.gatech.edu/~cpearce3/lcc4725/blog/?p=6039

Another character that might not be so obvious is Gruntilda, the witch. It is typical in many Disney movies that strong, intelligent, independent women are portrayed as being ugly or evil. In Gruntilda's case it's both. She speaks in an annoying nasally voice, has a hideously long nose, covered in warts, is foul-tempered, and green all over. Beyond just her appearance, Gruntilda's reason for abducting Tooty can also be perceived as being sexist. Her intention in taking Tooty is that she wants to take her beauty for herself. Gruntilda has built this elaborate machine in order to do this. This is interesting that she has used her intelligence in order to change her appearance instead of putting it to better use.
These extremely generic and obvious stereotypes might be contributed to the large number of males in the gaming industry. In this case, it might be that the creators were making these stereotypes on purpose as a joke since the names can sometimes be extremely apparent to who the character represents. It is safe to say, though, that Banjo-Kazooie shows many hegemonies of play that attribute to gender, race, and culture.

"Progressive Gender Roles in Skyrim": http://lmc.gatech.edu/~cpearce3/lcc4725/blog/?p=6024

Being used to character customization having aesthetically pleasing models to choose from, I was somewhat taken aback by the range of options presented bySkyrim. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I felt none of the choices were very good looking, albeit there being a plethora of ways to change your character's appearance. I assumed, at that point, that this was necessary to build a certain style of gruffness and grime that is accentuated by other part of the game: minimal background music, lack of overall splendor even in royal environments, ritualistic chanting whenever you level up etc. So although the first depictions of women aren't vixens in miniskirt armor, I thought that maybe later you would find more scandalous content that is almost canon in medieval based popular media.
Fron et al, inThe Hegemony of Play, define the hardcore gamer arena as one being "characterized by an adolescent male sensibility that transcends physical age and embraces highly stylized graphical violence, male fantasies of power and domination, hyper-sexualized, objectified depictions of women, and rampant racial stereotyping and discrimination" (7). There is no doubt thatSkyrim fits into the first part of this definition, with gaining power being a major driving factor to play. The presence of a skill tree and several different ways to build your abilities just begs for the player to grind away and unlock perks to become an indomitable beast. Well, for the male player at least. While the adrenaline inducing fights contain power moves of decapitation and gore that will trigger grins from boys, "butt-kicking is not what many girls and women have in mind as a form of empowerment through play" (Fullerton, 4). Although beasting through dungeons is the more simple way of playing the game, it is not the only way. Players can choose to sneak and lockpick, or sometimes even persuade and talk their way out of conflicts. Methods of battle also vary, from barbarian axe wielding to magic and familiar conjuration. So although the major mechanics are male interest driven, there is at least some space to allow for more conservative play styles.

"On Gender: Plants vs. Zombies": http://lmc.gatech.edu/~cpearce3/lcc4725/blog/?p=6030

Despite a variety of fairly unusual or quirky mechanics by video game industry standards, the majority of the gameplay still revolves around traditional game mechanics. As with all tower defense games, players create structures to destroy enemies before they can reach a goal point. The game similarly utilizes a variety of projectiles, either catapulted or shot from different plants, a traditional fixation of "boys games" (Fullerton 2). If nothing else, the core struggle of the game places it well within the male sphere, with the player having to either destroy the zombies or be destroyed by them.
[...]
Imagine for a moment that Plants vs. Zombies had attempted to focus more towards a particular audience, in this case, girls. Not in an attempt to make the game a "girl" game, but merely as an attempt to make it even more gender inclusive. By far the most obvious thing to first remove would be the male death scream, or at least the text reading "Zombies ate your brains". Without the text, the scream becomes more ambiguous, perhaps indicating the player's death, but perhaps indicating the death of a brother, father, or husband. Furthermore, some slight attempt at story could have done much for the game. Presently, the game ends with the introduction, and subsequent surrender of Dr. Zomboss, apparently the individual responsible for the zombies attacking your home. While presently shoehorned in at the end, a game that weaved the looming threat of Dr. Zomboss to you, and your loved ones, would serve as a more interesting alternative to the present version to female gamers (Pearce).

People are actually studying professional whining/bitching about video games and wasting grant money on that instead of doing something productive.

Well sadly this is a result of that focus group stuff where they get random ignorant folk to sample some things and then they ask them what their preferences are, thus we end up with: "must be dumber", "more guns", "more splosions", "must be male", "must have pretty ladies with huge boobs", "minus clothing", "must not require effort", "or thinking", "I can't remember 5 buttons so why don't you keep flashing them on screen throughout the entire fucking game", "actually I don't really like games at all so make only corridors and cinematic shit",... and similar things.

And sadly that creates it's self fulfilling prophecy, people wallow in their ignorance because they were never challenged to make a step to the next level, and the industry in turn keeps that bar low so the morons still come.

defskyoen:

People are actually studying professional whining/bitching about video games and wasting grant money on that instead of doing something productive.

And who are you to say it isn't productive to study the gender structures of gaming and game design? Considering the earlier portion of your post I'd even go as far as to say that your obvious negative bias against gender analysis makes you hilariously unqualified to determine if these kinds of analysis and inspection of games is productive.

You see, some people, somewhere obviously thought that this was interesting/important enough to grant the money (hence the term "grant money") to allow for these kinds of studies. Unless they are taking the money directly out of your pocket, you are also in no position to determine whatever that money is being well spent or not.

defskyoen:

Vegosiux:
However, the problem here is that if we want to really "put it to the test", correlation will simply not be enough, we'd need to prove a causal link as well.

That doesn't mean I'm pretending the problem doesn't exist; what I'm saying is that we need to first establish just how much of a factor the protagonist's gender is in the process of purchasing decisions. If devs get told by publishers that "Male protagonists sell better", the next logical step would be to do some market research to see to what extent and why.

There were studies and game publishers very likely have various internal studies (and numbers) to base their opinions and decisions on (if this would make them more money, they would do it, since there is nothing they like more than that), the results are pretty much as expected though: http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/10438/article/study-of-box-art-reveals-games-that-feature-non-sexualized-women-on-the-box-don-t-sell-well/

The very few games with female protagonists or characters that sell well are often in proportion to their level of sexualization. Tomb Raider sold a lot because of boobs and ass.

I fail to see any kind of problem here though. It's like most people liking milk chocolate and then there's a small group of other loudmouthed people that don't even like chocolate all that much that assert white chocolate is the superiour chocolate and everyone should like that more and there should generally be less milk chocolate in favor of that. Or action/superhero movies doing extremely well, but there being a group of people that suggest romantic comedies are the superior movie type that everybody should be seeing instead and you better turn all those action movies into romantic comedies (despite them having a lot less appeal on a large part of the main audience and them generally doing magnitudes worse at the box office because a lot of people simply don't want to see them).

Then there's the seemingly incessant bitching whenever there is a female character somewhere somehow involved that she isn't the most perfect thing on gods green earth and incarnation of perfection by some sort of universal standard, whether its some supposed "rape" scene in the newest Tomb Raider.
The size of a characters breasts, despite not knowing anything about characterization or context, that apparently needs to be changed to appease the feminists:
image
Or whenever there's violence against female characters, an outcry doesn't seem to be far behind, because that's apparently equality or something: http://www.gamespot.com/news/god-of-war-dev-pulled-back-from-violence-against-women-6388007
http://www.awesomeoutof10.com/discussion/war-games-god-of-wars-woman-hating-ways/

It's just not worth all the trouble and stupid press about it especially when it proves to also decrease sales on top of it, nobody would go and question a male character, no matter how bulky or exaggerated he looks, what he wears, what personality he has or what stupidity would come from his mouth, how many people he kills or how violent he maims and minces his opponents.

I whole heatedly agree with this. Simply put, there is no way to please anyone. I specially want to highlight the Elizabeth ordeal.
People, in no way, shape or form knew much about the character. Simply her looks, and the complaining begun. I honestly never understood what's wrong with just some sexualization, I mean, people see cleavage every day. So it's nothing out of the ordinary. *Note: but by that, I do not mean sex being thrown at my face every 5 minutes, no.* Hell, her old design WAS legitimately a great design, even if it had some cleavage. I loved the blue dress/coat thing she had going on.

Also, I must also highlight how they claim they want equality when it comes to games, but in reality, they just want goddesses as playable characters/NPC's. But, I must ask, what do you exactly mean with the part about rape? I don't quite see how that connects to being perfect, unless I misunderstood.

What's the point of this thread?
Because all I'm getting is `Yeah, ladies, your games don't sell so just shut up!`.

Perhaps I am being too jaded here, but it's a sentiment I've heard too many times before.

Do games with female leads sell less because they are marketed less or are they marketed less because they sell less?

Either way, it's bloody ridiculous to try and focus an entire medium at one demographic, imo, and hopefully something gaming can grow out of.
Maybe if we had a more accepting community there'd be more female players about and having their voices heard. God knows I know too many women who just threw the towel in because it wasn't worth it.

So i'm the only one who wanted Sarah Kerrigan to steal one last kiss before flying away at the end of HoS? D: that would have been so beautiful :(

Also.. starcraft heart of the swarm which is completely centered around a female protagonist who is badass and actiony as fuck, yet still has several intimate moments with her male love interest, and still displays vulnerability and real human emotion -not like femshep with that damn im just gonna act like a stupid generic jock guy, except with a vagina because women can be stupid and brutish too-... umm anyway 1.1 million copies in first 2 days i think its north of 2 million now, plus 1 million streamers for the launch broadcast and was received quite lovely from a gender equality perspective. The majority of story-related criticism are about why certain things aren't fully explained (like mengsk having the artifact) and having nothing to do with gender.

So fantastic female protagonist, that does the stuff they said female protagonists arent supposed to do and it sold well... tho starcraft might be a terrible example because of its prominence as an esport means story is largely irrelevant to sales. Though maybe the lesson is you can make the story about whatever the fuck you want as long as your game is so damn fun to play people are going to buy it regardless.

Gethsemani:

defskyoen:

People are actually studying professional whining/bitching about video games and wasting grant money on that instead of doing something productive.

And who are you to say it isn't productive to study the gender structures of gaming and game design? Considering the earlier portion of your post I'd even go as far as to say that your obvious negative bias against gender analysis makes you hilariously unqualified to determine if these kinds of analysis and inspection of games is productive.

You see, some people, somewhere obviously thought that this was interesting/important enough to grant the money (hence the term "grant money") to allow for these kinds of studies. Unless they are taking the money directly out of your pocket, you are also in no position to determine whatever that money is being well spent or not.

The vast majority of grant money is derived from government grants (especially for gender studies, as business has little interest in it). Government is funded by taxes. Taxes are taken directly out of your pocket. Therefore this person, based on your criteria is in a position to determine whether that money is being well spent or not.

Also academic government grants aren't given based on the potential of the study/work to prove useful they're given based on whether or not the study would be possible without financial assistance and whether or not those preforming the study will use those funds effectively (for whatever the goal of their study is).

I'm actually fairly certain it's actually illegal for a government official to deny grants based on whether or not they think the study being conducted is interesting/important. Grants are more of a way to encourage and enable education, not accomplish anything useful (the premise being that investing in education will make more productive people in the long run),

What, no hard liquor?
I am upset.
I can't really argue with the logic presented though. It's a little sad, but this is where the gaming community's at right now.

Female lead games get less than half the marketing than male lead games do and probably less development money. If you think this doesn't matter look at Okami or Psychonauts.

I think the reason why we are so critical of female characters is because we want to tell developers what we actually want. It's constructive criticism, we are trying to help. Maybe if you are unhappy with male characters you should do that too. Elizabeth of BI is wonderful btw I think she's great.

I'm kind of tired of people telling me I'm not allowed to have a voice because I'm not a majority in a subject. That smacks a lot of the excuses used when they wouldn't let women vote. Women aren't interested in politics why should we let them vote? Why the fuck do you think they aren't interested in politics dumbass.

Sometimes this whole subject just makes me want to travel to Japan and utilize that table flipping arcade game.

And roflcake at linking Tomb Raiders sales figures it's been out all of a few weeks...

Fluffythepoo:
Snip Snip Kerrigan Snip

Kerrigan is a terrible character, although that's wholly unrelated to her status as female (Raynor in SC2 is also terrible, and probably even slightly worse, given that Kerrigan never swore to kill Kerrigan and then backed out and kissed Kerrigan). Of course, HotS shows us that it's entirely possible to have a required-to-be-female character and succeed.

defskyoen:
If they actually cared about character writing and storytelling in general, they would complain about that (...) and not specific parts of it that fit in their agendas. More often than not it seems to flow directly into borderline psychopathic militant "social justice" ramblings about "evil patriarchy" in one way or another, demanding that every little aspect of the game pander to them. (...)

People are actually studying professional whining/bitching about video games and wasting grant money on that instead of doing something productive.

Look at your own language. You're "whining/bitching" every bit as much as those you complain about. Why do you get so defensive if people who want games to match their tastes too? They (like Moonlight Butterfly above, or me) have the same right to make their voices heard as you do. And, I don't know, doesn't feel like wishing for good, non-sexualized female characters is not legit, you know. Certainly not less so than the other way round...

Gethsemani:
And who are you to say it isn't productive to study the gender structures of gaming and game design? Considering the earlier portion of your post I'd even go as far as to say that your obvious negative bias against gender analysis makes you hilariously unqualified to determine if these kinds of analysis and inspection of games is productive.

Well put.

Mr.K.:
Well sadly this is a result of that focus group stuff where they get random ignorant folk to sample some things and then they ask them what their preferences are, thus we end up with: "must be dumber", "more guns", "more splosions", "must be male", "must have pretty ladies with huge boobs", "minus clothing", "must not require effort", "or thinking", "I can't remember 5 buttons so why don't you keep flashing them on screen throughout the entire fucking game", "actually I don't really like games at all so make only corridors and cinematic shit",... and similar things.

And sadly that creates it's self fulfilling prophecy, people wallow in their ignorance because they were never challenged to make a step to the next level, and the industry in turn keeps that bar low so the morons still come.

I think focus groups are pretty carefully selected to be cross representation of the market they sell to? It's pretty easy to get carried away by The Escapist and assume everyone who plays games is 19 - 26, extreme left wing and obessively focused on gaming. Sadly, I think the people who you describe as "random ignorant folk" are actually just people.

Vanquish has a brown haired man as its protagonist, received a lot of praise from both reviewers and players, and still flopped with nothing more than 0.89 million copies sold. It is now over two years old.

I don't know why did this happen, but I am rather sure it's somehow connected to the weak sales of the 'Female Dominated Games' you listed. The answer can't be that simple.

Weighting on the 'bitching when a female character is in a game', I expect it will eventually go away after we have more identifiable female characters on the market.[1]

As of right now, I don't think resisting will make the complaining disappear, instead I think it will only increase the aggressiveness of the complaints. This is nothing else but a natural growth caused by the increased popularity of gaming. Acting as a brake will only continue to do self-harm.

[1] Yeah, I'm boring like that.

Jiefu:

Fluffythepoo:
Snip Snip Kerrigan Snip

Kerrigan is a terrible character, although that's wholly unrelated to her status as female (Raynor in SC2 is also terrible, and probably even slightly worse, given that Kerrigan never swore to kill Kerrigan and then backed out and kissed Kerrigan). Of course, HotS shows us that it's entirely possible to have a required-to-be-female character and succeed.

Kerrigan didn't swear to kill kerrigan, and then kissed kerrigan? Que?

If you were trying to say Raynor swore TO kill Kerrigan and then didnt i think you may have missed the end of WoL

Phasmal:
What's the point of this thread?
Because all I'm getting is `Yeah, ladies, your games don't sell so just shut up!`.

Perhaps I am being too jaded here, but it's a sentiment I've heard too many times before.

Do games with female leads sell less because they are marketed less or are they marketed less because they sell less?

Either way, it's bloody ridiculous to try and focus an entire medium at one demographic, imo, and hopefully something gaming can grow out of.
Maybe if we had a more accepting community there'd be more female players about and having their voices heard. God knows I know too many women who just threw the towel in because it wasn't worth it.

Personally, I hope they were going for a 'it's not just the industry, it's gamers as a whole who are sexist, since you're not buying the female leads' but I'm not holding my breath over it. I really don't see how fewer sales indicate that sexism doesn't exist...because if people aren't buying games with female leads, if feminine games aren't marketed, or if no-one is even making good games with female leads, then I'd say we've got a much, much bigger sexism problem on our hands. Because then it wouldn't just be a couple of white-haired CEO's holding the industy back, it would be everywhere...like say, in movies...or in job-opportunities...or in casual remarks on a daily basis. -.-'

Moonlight Butterfly:

I'm kind of tired of people telling me I'm not allowed to have a voice because I'm not a majority in a subject. That smacks a lot of the excuses used when they wouldn't let women vote. Women aren't interested in politics why should we let them vote? Why the fuck do you think they aren't interested in politics dumbass.

I don't think anyone's calling for dissenters on the matter to be silenced, just insisting that their opinions don't matter because they don't conform to the majority, and it just so happens that the video game market does not exist to pander to minority demographics, or to advance a political agenda, or champion equal rights: They exist to make money, and the money is with the masses.

If gamers - female or otherwise - showed the industry they wanted a change in characters or protagonists by blowing up the sales charts with staggering profits, every publisher would be clamoring for their developers to follow suit. It's not about sex or sex politics, it's about money. Short brown-haired and blue-eyed gruff twenty something white male protagonists are a carefully calculated marketing decision, not an ethically uneasy artistic choice made by an archaic old boys club to keep the women down.

UberPubert:

Moonlight Butterfly:

I'm kind of tired of people telling me I'm not allowed to have a voice because I'm not a majority in a subject. That smacks a lot of the excuses used when they wouldn't let women vote. Women aren't interested in politics why should we let them vote? Why the fuck do you think they aren't interested in politics dumbass.

I don't think anyone's calling for dissenters on the matter to be silenced, just insisting that their opinions don't matter because they don't conform to the majority, and it just so happens that the video game market does not exist to pander to minority demographics, or to advance a political agenda, or champion equal rights: They exist to make money, and the money is with the masses.

If gamers - female or otherwise - showed the industry they wanted a change in characters or protagonists by blowing up the sales charts with staggering profits, ever publisher would be clamoring for their developers to follow suit. It's not about sex or sex politics, it's about money. Short brown-haired and blue-eyed gruff twenty something white male protagonists are a carefully calculated marketing decision, not an ethically uneasy artistic choice made by an archaic old boys club to keep the women down.

Well you see we are telling them but when we try we get shouted down. Voting with our wallets doesn't work in this case. What the fuck are we going to play in the meantime.

It's like locking someone in a room and giving them only oranges to eat. Then saying 'Oh you don't like the oranges? Eat apples then!'

-.-

Unless we complain about it the devs aren't going to know and if they don't know then this 'Boys only play video games we shall have a boy protagonist!' crap will not change. So stop telling us to shut up.

You not think maybe if they try to appeal to female gamers just a little bit then female gamers will spend more money on games? That's how it works right?

'The survey revealed that women spend more than 70 per cent of consumer dollars worldwide' 2011 Financial Times.

Guess they don't want any of that though huh.

UberPubert:

If gamers - female or otherwise - showed the industry they wanted a change in characters or protagonists by blowing up the sales charts with staggering profits, ever publisher would be clamoring for their developers to follow suit. It's not about sex or sex politics, it's about money. Short brown-haired and blue-eyed gruff twenty something white male protagonists are a carefully calculated marketing decision, not an ethically uneasy artistic choice made by an archaic old boys club to keep the women down.

Obviously, this is why EA is still getting away with publishing half-finished DMR games.

Look, it's a bit difficult to say 'I will ONLY buy a game with a female protagonist since this is what I want from the industry', because there isn't that big of a choice, is there? Should I wait a year-and-a-half to buy a game that was made haphazardly and is totally not my genre JUST because there's a woman in it? No. Should I miss out on a good game that I like JUST because there's a man in it? No. Would I like to see a more balanced percentage when it comes to gender in games? Yes, I would.

How am I supposed to vote with my wallet when there isn't much to vote for?

Moonlight Butterfly:

Well you see we are telling them but when we try we get shouted down. Voting with our wallets doesn't work in this case. What the fuck are we going to play in the meantime.

It's like locking someone in a room and giving them only oranges to eat. Then saying 'Oh you don't like the oranges don't eat them then!'

-.-

Unless we complain about it the devs aren't going to know and if they don't know then this 'Boys only play video games we shall have a boy protagonist!' crap will not change. So stop telling us to shut up.

Hey now, I don't want anyone to shut up. Nothing productive happens in a vacuum.

But the devs do know, and in fact, devs trying to get female characters in leading roles or even on box art and getting shut down by publishers has made some controversy very recently. And there are games with female protagonists and just good female characters in general; any gamer worth their salt can name just a few off-hand, never mind someone who actively follows these kind of things.

So you have developers who know what a demographic wants, and other developers who are already producing it. They have their problems and I'm sure people want more titles to choose from, but it's not just oranges up in here.

captcha: face the music

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