EA: Women 'too big an audience to ignore'

While underlining the female demographic's importance at the Women in Games Conference, EA VP Sharon Knight said developers should avoid making games that only target women.

NEWPORT, Wales--Electronic Arts vice president of Europe Online, Sharon Knight, believes that if game developers and publishers were to ignore the female audience, it would be "a great waste." Knight was the first speaker at this year's Women In Games Conference at the University of Wales, the fourth such annual event.

Making games which appeal to both genders will only increase the success of the medium, she believes, and create potentially hugely successful titles. She gave the example of the film Titanic, which surpassed Star Wars as the most successful movie of all time, because "women loved it, they went to see it in droves, they went to see it multiple times."

That said, Knight thinks it's a mistake to try to create games solely for a female audience. "If you look at how other media forms have tapped into women, for example, you don't see movies and music being exclusive to men," She said. "Women enjoy all forms of entertainment. We [at EA] want to avoid making 'pink games.' Women enjoy many of the same features in gameplay as men do. The way EA sees it is there's a lot of untapped potential out there."

Knight believes a big reason the Wii has been successful is that women find it more accessible than other consoles. "The Wii levels the playing field," she said. "You don't embarrass yourself--you can grab it and right away start having fun. ... [Wii games] don't require the same investment to learn and to master how to pick up and play [as other consoles' games]."

EA's The Sims, one of the most popular franchises of all time, has a 65 percent female audience, said Knight. However, she admitted the series' success was more of a happy accident. "No, Will [Wright, the creator of the game] was definitely not targeting the game at women," she said, laughing. "It just resonated. I think it was at the brink of the whole 'who do you want to be?' trend. You can make an avatar that you play as yourself, as a character that looks a lot like you, or you can be somebody wildly different. Now you're seeing that everywhere."

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182 comments
Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

Funny, I was guessing 80% female for the Sims. Cool. I agree with her. Problem is, most girls just aren't interested in traditional games in my experience. They lap up The SIms and Wii Sports, but just don't get The Orange box.

NightCrowe
NightCrowe

I'm a PC Woman Gamer (mouse and keyboard are best!) and I play most of the WWII action series around on and offline. I also play the Hitman series, Far cry, Splinter Cell series, Deus Ex , Thief series, GTA...in fact anything that has interesting storyline/ great weapons and plenty of enemies to take down. I am NOT interested in 'pink' fluffy games...and, for the record, I also loathe and despise most 'Romantic' films....especially Titanic! Urgh! I'm quite happy playing a supposed 'male-oriented' game, but do occasionally get fed up with the constant assumption that the players of these games must be male and therefore there is constant marketing of men's 'Interests' ( Hot Women articles or adverts) connected to such games in the games magazines, sites and indeed on many forums. I REALLY hate having to stand by the girlie mags in a store in order to look at the computer magazines! It's all sooooo sexist. So, as long as the games designers make something that doesn't absolutely require the player to be a certain sex, then both men and women can and will play if it contains interactive INTELLIGENT gameplay that interests them. Lots of big guns please!

karateyoyo
karateyoyo

YES!!! But no girly girl games please!!! Sims, doa (NOT EXTREME BEACH VOLLEYBALL PLEASE) DDR, KH, FF, JSRF!!! Need more!! These are the best!!! And gamer guys are not better than us girls!!! We're all equal!!!

LaniReaper
LaniReaper

Okay, what's with this again? The girl gamer debate is getting old. Yes, I'm female. Yes, I got my PS3 on release day. I'm debating whether I prefer Resistance: Fall Of Man or ES4: Oblivion better. I played The Sims 2. I hated it. :) A lot of women probably won't go towards video games unless said game is 'pink'. But bear in mind, about 5%, I'd say, of the mainstream gaming community are female. And 'mainstream' doesn't mean female Wii owners. Kthx.

EhopeQuill
EhopeQuill

Sadly, female gamers are not viewed equal to male gamers. Not only are many games geared towards the male player, females are often scolded for playing games. Males are free to use games as a source of relaxation and entertainment however females playing games are viewed as a waste of time. We should be mastering "The Joy of Cooking" and not our critical strikes. Pfft..go make your own chateau brion. I am happy with a salad and a slice of cheese.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

Sharon Knight is freakin hot. Is she single? I live near EA!

demoman_chaos
demoman_chaos

Star Wars lost in movies because most geeks don't go to the theater. Just like Joe Dirt, sucked in theaters, went to Wal*Mart, sold faster than they could produce them.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

hidden ninja - The problem is that mindset is that, for gaming to be taken seriously, it has to evolve out of the frat houses and into mainstream America, and part of that is not treating women (and minorities) like they're lesser. The best selling games in the world - Sims, Wow, etc - have a universal appeal that DoAX2 simply doesn't have. That's what this girl's talking about: games that women can enjoy just as much as men without feeling uncomfortable. And of course Titanic beat out Star Wars in theatres. The Star Wars fans waited till it hit VHS to view it millions of times a day.

hidden_ninja4
hidden_ninja4

ok, comparing box office sales to games doesn't work: you can't go see a game in the theaters and since when were movies catered strictly to men anyway? the vast, vast majority of gamers is male anyway, so what if the market sells to its main demographic

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Video games are designed primarily for men, but there have been many, many games designed with women in mind for a long time. Go all the way back to Super Mario Brothers, which had little gender bias unless you're of the anti-princess rescuing feminist movement. Take Bubble Bobble, Kirby, and Pikmin into account. Sure, there are 10 Doom clones for every Mario Kart, but the games exist. The fact of the matter is that women spend less time playing games and have more of an interest in real-world social interaction. For shame (sarcasm)! Developers are also predominately male, so they tend to develop games with an audience in mind that is similar to themselves. Of course, as more women grow up with games the audience has expanded, so developers are recognizing this. My wife is grateful!

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

My wife has always been into games (from introducing me to the sims to most recently monopolising my psp and it's GTA Vice City Stories) but ever since I got the Wii, I noticed allot more wifes and girlfriends coming out more often for game night. It's definitely the most inclusive gaming machine since the atari. Even some girls I know who always hated video games (and I mean HATE; like you'd think Donkey Kong donkey punched her mom) want to buy a Wii after playing it once. They mean titanic did better in theaters compared to Star Wars' first run. It will never rake in as much overall capital as any of the original Star Wars movies.

Zero_Space
Zero_Space

"She gave the example of the film Titanic, which surpassed Star Wars as the most successful movie of all time" Ummmm. Sorry. I will never believe Titanic was more successful than the Star Wars franchise. lol.

Mezzanne
Mezzanne

I dunno, the popular genres cater more for men, really...like FPS, I don't know if most women are interested in killing things. :D There're others, but as an exception, I think RPGs are generally quite "acceptable" to women.. my ex played a few of them. Still, I do think that generally, women are less interested in games. Besides, what the hell does she's think she's doing out of the kitchen playing games anyway?! ...just kidding :P

ogretroll123
ogretroll123

Dreski83. I do kinda agree with you. You do look pretty dumb when you play with a controller/joystick/whatever. But as fun as it is, it's almost impossible NOT to make an ass out of yourself playing the Wii.

xatman911
xatman911

They could start giving two types of character per game like you can choose who you want to be.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

"stinger503 - How the hell is Zelda a "girly" game?" I'm not stinger503, but I gotta say this: Ever see that hot (if flat chested) dame Link that you play in that game? I think that fact speaks for itself! (Kidding! Kidding!)

Dreski83
Dreski83

I'm seriously tired of people who think playing games on the Wii are embarassing... I mean, when yer in the arcade playin shooting or racing games do you ever think about how cool you look?! If so, go home! Games are ment to be fun no matter the genre or gender playing them so to assume women need more exposure is not a fair thing to say. Leave that up to them if they want to be hardcore or casual...

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

I'm sorry, did you say something? (kidding) I think there is plenty of room in this industry for games that cater to men, to women, and to both. As the market expands, targeting specific demographics will be important. While I think that female gamers still represent a small minority, this will continue to become increasingly important. Now, I'm sorry, did you say something?

willripyouanew1
willripyouanew1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

haesuse
haesuse

i think thats a good point. targeting games solely for women will never work. no ofense to any of the girls, but gamer girls are bit more than ur typical barbies thus i dont think that many of them wanna play crappy games that they target at women. like someone mentioned before, the quality amongst female players is not whats missing its just the quantity. i can name a ton of girls that i played in WoW and are amazing at it, as well as in numerous other games. personaly i believe that a different approach, such as adding more female toon kits, or anything along the lines of making the testosterone loaded games appealing to females too.

trickazzmark
trickazzmark

there are a lot of female gamers. Even on games like Gears and Vegas, some are even too good to roll wit lol.

MogFromLeipzig
MogFromLeipzig

I don't feel ignored. (Ok, maybe by the current offer of PS3 games) And as mentioned before: Wii not embarrassing?^^ Ha!

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

ogretroll123 - That's what I'm thinking... Nothing's quite as embarrassing as playing Wario Ware or Rayman Raving Rabbids with someone watching... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8g-7hIpPAw Look at that video. Notice they're laughing at her.

Channers
Channers

I agree with this. As a female gamer I hate when games like 'Desperate Housewives' are targeted to a primarily female audience. I like a range of games, I'm rubbing my hands in anticipation for Halo 3 and can't wait to play LOTR online, however I do enjoy my 'Sims'. I don't need a 'pink' game targeted at me, although there are those women/girls who need that, i think that the stigma about female gamers only liking soft fluffy games, needs to end. Females like me like gutsy games, with good storylines and good graphics, I think that there are many girl gamers out there who thrive on a challenge.

Symphonycometh
Symphonycometh

@carrierj1: I know its wrong for me to laugh but.... Lol...LOl...LOL...LOLL at your comment! That's so mean! I would love to get owned in a fighting game by a girl/woman.:D

carrierj1
carrierj1

I know a good game: "Cookin' and Cleanin'". Here's another one: "Barefoot and Pregnant".

-SlipSkull-
-SlipSkull-

Eh, there are a lot of female gamers, but there are more male gamers than female gamers that post on game forums.

ogretroll123
ogretroll123

You don't embarass yourself playing the Wii? Hahahahha...!

Tviper7
Tviper7

I wish ppl would stop referring to the Frag Dolls as true girl gamers the whole clan is fabricated marketing blitz promoted to help cement the fact that women can be highly competitive in professional gaming if paid to due so hence the games they play are target markets to prove this Rainbow Six Vegas, Gears of Wars and the like. Funny thing is they had girl gamer who was also a pornstar who racked guys up in Unreal Tournament years ago by the name Asia in fact she was so good she actually modded the characters for partial nudity(boobies) she got real buddy friendly with UT developer team and got early betas UT updates. anyways there may be girl gamers out there but diehards are the rarity to truly tap into broad market of females they focus more of thinking skills required to play game geared toward the female demographic less about physical dexterity(controls layout and buttons) because besides making characters which don't appeal females(which some female gamers could less about) most developers fail realize men& women, and Boys&Girls think different and utilize different parts of their brains its been proven, when game developer finally realizes that and make game that will appeal the female gamers sensibility they will come in droves.........

langfora
langfora

She has a great opinion but I disagree women are not the ultimate determiner of what is successful. Gamer makers should make games for gamers and screw catering to a particular demographic if you have an idea that is produced well into a game people both men and women will play.

dietpepsi
dietpepsi

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Axe_336
Axe_336

This isn't really anything new, I think this kind of thing has been being said for at least 2 or 3 years if not longer.

CookiesCream
CookiesCream

titanic wasn't that bad. was it? nevertheless, if you can cash in on the gal market, money will be flowing thicker than oil

kb555
kb555

I'm a girl gamer! And she's right about girls liking the same games guys do. Oh, and to njjennjim.......please tell me you're joking.

KentTalbert
KentTalbert

Since when does Titanic appeal to both genders? I'm a guy and I HATE it.

ysabelkid_basic
ysabelkid_basic

What's the big deal? People will play whatever games they like, regardless of their gender. So I like Sims, and Oblivion, and Warcraft ... how does that categorise me? As long as games aren't pink and fuzzy, I could care less. How did this molehill take on such overweening proportions?

mrtweed2
mrtweed2

Women gamers are HOT, much like gals who know how to rebuild an engine (especially if they are easy on the eye)...LOL! I know that's sexist. It is true though! Women gamers are also really smart...even a bit geeky, and that turns me on!

njjennjim
njjennjim

If by "big", you mean "fat"; then I would agree. Girls need more games about cleaning the bathroom, ironing and cooking. Y'know, practical stuff.

sazwolf
sazwolf

"Knight believes a big reason the Wii has been successful is that women find it more accessible". Yes, because figuring out the playstation 2 controller is too hard for our small female minds.

gameboy360
gameboy360

im not saying that there arent girl gamers there is not one in my school of 700

ArchangelMRN
ArchangelMRN

I don't have a problem if chicks play games. Hell I play against girls in Gears of War that whoop my ass every time! More power to the female gamers if you ask me.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Shirk - Most GUYS say that too. Gaming is still growing. There are tons of gaming girls, perhaps not nearly as much as guys, but it's not like looking for a needle in a haystack.

ShirkDawg
ShirkDawg

ChinoARC just cause you know one or two girls that play doesn't mean its common. I've only heard girls say that games are for nerds or kids around here. I think while what you're saying happens once in awhile its not very common although it'd be cool if it was.

Jerian
Jerian

The only 2 games I have known Woman to play is The SIms, Any MMO like WOW. I wonder why that is? (Sarcastically spoken of course)

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

stinger503 - How the hell is Zelda a "girly" game?

jdiegs21
jdiegs21

this is kind of weird I guess it depends on what generation you grew up in Ive been gaming since atari ( I am 22). Back then most girls I Knew could careless about beating frogger and even now most women i know could careless about video games. But I have two little cousins who are about 14 and they like to play videogames but low and behold their console of choice the Wii and all of its mini game glory. P.S. My girlfriend hates coming over when Im playing 360 especially if Im online.

fritigoerd
fritigoerd

I met lots of women that play games ( mom , aunts , cousins) , mostly racing , Tetris like , card games and rpgs. I think is ridiculous to try to make women oriented games. Women will play games if they feel like it , just like any person will do.