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52% of game enthusiasts are women – however the industry doesn’t understand it

Gaming

Cast apart the antique stereotype – women are now the majority of games customers. But as characters and creators, they’re still in large part absent
Two teenage girls the use of a phone.
‘While hardcore gamers and the enterprise argue approximately whether or not phone games are ‘right’ or now not, anybody else is playing them.’

Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. Three years in the past that figure changed into forty-nine%, that is hardly a mere minority. Women have always performed games, and in recent years the increase of the cellular video games industry particularly has been driven via a girl client base.

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Yet the stereotype that games are an interest for adolescent boys is an enduring one, and one this is perpetuated by using the competitive advertising of many massive-finances games.

What can we assume when we think of a video game? Most probably a multimillion dollar console title dripping with machismo and bristling with weaponry. Yet the truth is that the most famous gaming tool these days is the phone, and the maximum popular genres are puzzle, trivia and phrase video games. Less Call of Duty and extra Words With Friends.

 

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Now, there will be many who reply to this shift in the market with the objection “but the ones aren’t proper games”. Mobile video games, free-to-play video games, social video games – all games which, unusually sufficient, attraction to girls in droves – are considered somehow lesser through many within the “conventional” gaming world.

Look at the dismissive responses to the wildly worthwhile mobile sport Kim Kardashian: Hollywood – it’s tough to separate judgments of the sport itself from judgments of the sort of individual that performs it. It’s no mistake that the Telegraph put its overview of the game in the “Women’s Life” section instead of “Tech”.

Whether you suspect it’s any excellent or no longer, the game appeals to a vast variety of players. I can’t help but feel that part of its attraction lies in allowing players to select to be male or lady, homosexual or instantly. In that sense, it’s extra welcoming and innovative than the full-size majority of games.

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In the past few years, the very belief of what a game is has broadened to include a selection of reviews that are available to a wider audience than the typical blockbuster console name, and that may best be a good issue for an enterprise which has struggled to put itself in mainstream lifestyle. While hardcore gamers and the industry at massive argue about whether or not these games are “right” or now not, anybody else is gambling them.

Which begs a broader query: are greater ladies playing mobile games due to the fact girls are extra inquisitive about cell video games? Or is it because they were told, again and again, that “proper” video games aren’t for them? That, more extensively, video games are not for them?

Videogames with lady protagonists are nevertheless in the minority, and even being able to play as a woman is often still considered an optionally available more via builders and publishers. (And allow’s now not even get into how video games underserve human beings of color, LGBTQ human beings, and different minorities.) Despite the truth that girls make up the majority of the gaming audience, the number of ladies running the video games enterprise remains shockingly low – only 12% of sports designers in Britain and 3% of all programmers are women. The wide variety of women speaking at enterprise meetings and press occasions is minuscule. And it isn’t because women don’t want to paintings in games.

While gaming is now undeniably part of the cultural mainstream, plenty of the video games enterprise still doesn’t act love it. Not only do video games fail to represent that fifty-two% of gamers identify as ladies, the truth is that girls in games – as characters, and as creators – are still slightly visible.

But we exist, and we’re making video games and playing them and speak me about them – and the broader games enterprise is slowly taking notice. From a merely business viewpoint, it makes feel for the video games industry to make an effort to be the extra consultant of its audience. Developing games that appeal to broader audience calls for a huge variety of views.

I think, and I desire, that for the video games industry and for folks that play games, the first-rate is but to come. Because the information is in: video games are for anyone.
The virtual fact is coming. 2016 will see the discharge of the primary extreme consumer VR headsets for twenty years.

In the primary quarter of the yr, VR pioneers Oculus (a subsidiary of Facebook, on the grounds that a $2bn (£1.3bn) buyout in March 2014) will launch the client model of their Rift headset to the sector. In April, Taiwan’s HTC will launch the Vibe, some other PC peripheral evolved along side gaming firm Valve. And in some unspecified time in the future inside the year – probably to be the first 1/2 – Sony will release its PlayStation VR, an add-on for the PlayStation 4, which will bring VR into the dwelling room.

Those headsets aren’t the primary to market, with the aid of a long manner. In 1995, Nintendo launched the Virtual Boy, a monochromatic headset that promised to offer real 3D pix in gaming for the first time. A clunky, desk-established tool that sold for $180 ($280 in 2015 dollars, or £189) and gave customers splitting complications, it sold slightly a tenth of what Nintendo had hoped and changed into discontinued less than a year later.

The Virtual Boy was the most distinguished failure of the primary wave of virtual truth, but all shared the equal destiny. The technology, in reality, wasn’t there: displays weren’t excessive-resolution sufficient to be located that close to eyes, they couldn’t refresh rapid enough to give a smooth photograph, and the processors in the back of them couldn’t push enough pixels to render a resounding global. The failure of the 90s wave of digital fact turned into so entire that it killed the field for an era.

Much of the credit score for the revival of VR has to visit one person: Palmer Luckey, the founding father of Oculus. Launched to the public with a Kickstarter campaign, his Rift headset raised $2.5m in 2012. It activates the wave of the hobby in the field that continues to at the moment. An outsider to the era industry, Luckey wasn’t birthday party to the received know-how that VR was an idiot’s sport. He thought it turned into cool, and so did greater than 9,000 others.