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
This kind of marketing is short-sighted as it ostracizes a potentially huge
market by not appealing to, or talking to women gamers.
Such concentrated marketing to the male group 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. So much so that according to CNN "more
than 60% of female students 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, according to a survey commissioned by SOE
(Sony Online Entertainment)."
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
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
Competition, and the Windows XP Female Counter-Strike Team Event. With
incredible prize money Microsoft is encouraging women in an area where they
have previously been ignored.
Although much of the gaming market ignores female gamers when it comes to
'boys' games, there are women gamers, such as those belonging to girlz Of
destruction (g.O.d.), who are beating the boys. This gaming group is a
seven-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 just as much as any