Do we actually need more female characters?

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#1 Posted by The_Last_Ride (71270 posts) -

This guy is kind of blunt in his view, but when it comes to girl gamers i have to agree with him. I don't know any girl that actually plays games. Female characters are important, but is there such a demand for them?

#2 Posted by hrt_rulz01 (5986 posts) -

I'd like to see more lead female characters in games, but not for the sake of it.

#3 Posted by Jacanuk (4339 posts) -

Hmm, for me personally as a man i pretty much always play the male character , but im up for more games having the choice , so who wants does have the choice.

#4 Posted by Planeforger (15639 posts) -

I can't tell whether this guy is serious, or a hilarious parody of everything that's wrong with the gaming community.

Anyway, let's see...

  1. I know plenty of female gamers (and no, not just mobile phone games - RPGs and whatnot). I'd believe the 20% statistic. They're certainly out there, as much as he'd like to deny it.
  2. "All of my time on Call of Duty..." - HAHAHA. Again, can't tell if he's a parody or not. It's a little too perfect.
  3. "It's men who want to be females. [...] You're f-ing weird" - Well, that says it all, doesn't it?
  4. "I don't appreciate having to play as a little girl" - See, most guys get over their sexual insecurity that when they're, like, 13? If not earlier.

So...yeah, what a colossal waste of time. I'm surprised that this fool stopped opposing gay rights and the theory of evolution long enough to post this video.

As for whether gaming needs more female characters - I think it's less of a question of quantity, and more of question of quality. They're typically depicted as little more than sexual fantasies for the male protagonists/players. Gaming needs to grow up.

#5 Posted by Minishdriveby (9847 posts) -

I know quite a few that play games. I'm dating one that plays them frequently.

#6 Posted by Qixote (10694 posts) -

I really demand that Cate Archer returns for some more NOLF.

#7 Posted by c_rakestraw (14624 posts) -

Can anyone think of a good, logical reason not to have more female characters? That's the better question.

#8 Posted by commonfate (12282 posts) -

Can anyone think of a good, logical reason not to have more female characters? That's the better question.

It disparages my shallow masculinity.

#9 Posted by commonfate (12282 posts) -

"That's bullshit because I don't know a single female gamer."

Yeah, great setup. Thanks for selling yourself short, don't even need to watch the rest of the video.

#10 Posted by Jacanuk (4339 posts) -

Can anyone think of a good, logical reason not to have more female characters? That's the better question.

Can anyone think of a good logical reason to have more female characters? Thats also a good question to ask yourself.

#11 Posted by Ish_basic (4010 posts) -

i think it must be generational with respect to how many girls you know that actually play games. I honestly have never met one my age (in my 30s) that seriously plays games. It was firmly a "guy thing" when I was in school and while we were clustered around a 20" TV playing goldeneye, our girlfriends were kinda sitting "over there" chatting among themselves. But still to this day, it's a rare thing for me to see a female who is not "the girlfriend" or "the mom" at a midnight launch and I go to a lot. Additionally, most of the female gamers that I have met and game with regularly (again, all younger) have been PC gamers....don't know if that's significant.

I didn't watch the video. My immediate impression was "my wife went out with her friends so I get to pretend like I run the place for the next 3 hours."

#12 Edited by c_rakestraw (14624 posts) -
@Jacanuk said:

@c_rakestraw said:

Can anyone think of a good, logical reason not to have more female characters? That's the better question.

Can anyone think of a good logical reason to have more female characters? Thats also a good question to ask yourself.

Women make up almost 50% of the video game audience. That's half of the entire market being underrepresented. There's money to be made there, plenty of goodwill to be earned. Video games should be for everyone, just as every other form of media is. There's no good reason to ignore that significant a portion of the audience.

#13 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18417 posts) -

Women make up almost 50% of the video game audience.

Counting the farmville and iphone games crowd. For core gamers I'd say we are looking at more like 15% of the total. 20% at best. It's growing, but not that fast.

#14 Posted by mgools (898 posts) -

If it feeds into the games story then fine, but not just for the sake of it.

#15 Posted by c_rakestraw (14624 posts) -

@c_rakestraw said:

Women make up almost 50% of the video game audience.

Counting the farmville and iphone games crowd. For core gamers I'd say we are looking at more like 15% of the total. 20% at best. It's growing, but not that fast.

And that matters because...?

Gamers are gamers, regardless of whatever they choose to play.

#16 Posted by NUSNA_Moebius (37 posts) -

@mgools said:

If it feeds into the games story then fine, but not just for the sake of it.

This. Shoehorning is always bad.

#17 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18417 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

@c_rakestraw said:

Women make up almost 50% of the video game audience.

Counting the farmville and iphone games crowd. For core gamers I'd say we are looking at more like 15% of the total. 20% at best. It's growing, but not that fast.

And that matters because...?

Gamers are gamers, regardless of whatever they choose to play.

The bulk of facebook players are 40+ years old women who don't care about strong female protagonists in action games targeted at a completely different demographic, which is what we are talking about here. The relevant slice of the female demographic for the topic at hand is closer to the aforementioned 15-20% of the core gaming audience.

#18 Posted by Archangel3371 (15493 posts) -

Yeah I believe that there should be more female characters in games. It's not just about better representing the current female gaming population but also bringing in more potential female gamers by being more inclusive.

#19 Edited by c_rakestraw (14624 posts) -
@Black_Knight_00 said:

The bulk of facebook players are 40+ years old women who don't care about strong female protagonists in action games targeted at a completely different demographic, which is what we are talking about here. The relevant slice of the female demographic for the topic at hand is closer to the aforementioned 15-20% of the core gaming audience.

Do you have stats to back that up? Or are you just pulling numbers out of your ass? Because I could just as easily generalize that 40% of the male audience only plays sports games, though I'm sure you'd argue that's false.

Even then, ignoring whatever percentage of women who don't play "real games" is ridiculous. The market is there and there's vocal demand for it. What does anyone have to lose by catering to them? Answer that for me, because I can't think of a single negative.

#20 Posted by Zen_Light (1235 posts) -

Need? Why would we? I don't see how it matters one way or the other.

#21 Posted by Jacanuk (4339 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@c_rakestraw said:

Can anyone think of a good, logical reason not to have more female characters? That's the better question.

Can anyone think of a good logical reason to have more female characters? Thats also a good question to ask yourself.

Women make up almost 50% of the video game audience. That's half of the entire market being underrepresented. There's money to be made there, plenty of goodwill to be earned. Video games should be for everyone, just as every other form of media is. There's no good reason to ignore that significant a portion of the audience.

That is ESA an institution who show absolute no data to back up the number and seem to take it out of thin air, not to mention that it seems the number is inclusive of casual gaming like Farmville, Kim Kar cash milking apps and other mobile/facebook "games"

And yes there is a very good reason to ignore people who doesn't actually play the games you and others want to include more female gaming.

#22 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (18417 posts) -

@c_rakestraw said:

Do you have stats to back that up? Or are you just pulling numbers out of your ass? Because I could just as easily generalize that 40% of the male audience only plays sports games, though I'm sure you'd argue that's false.

Even then, ignoring whatever percentage of women who don't play "real games" is ridiculous. The market is there and there's vocal demand for it. What does anyone have to lose by catering to them? Answer that for me, because I can't think of a single negative.

"Vocal demand" for what? Casual gamers are vocal about nothing. They've been defined casual exactly because they are not passionate about gaming enough to become vocal. Do you see why they are not relevant to the topic being discussed in this thread? 50 years-old mom may play farmville, but she does not care about Lara Croft becoming a stronger female protagonist. She has never and will never play a Tomb Raider game. 20 years-old sister might, though, hence why she is relevant and mom isn't. Different demographics. The mom demographic is out of the equation for the topic we are discussing.

#23 Posted by Jacanuk (4339 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

@c_rakestraw said:

Women make up almost 50% of the video game audience.

Counting the farmville and iphone games crowd. For core gamers I'd say we are looking at more like 15% of the total. 20% at best. It's growing, but not that fast.

And that matters because...?

Gamers are gamers, regardless of whatever they choose to play.

Gamers are not gamers.

There is actually a big difference between people who play mobile/facebook cash cow games and the gamers which market you want to change, so it matters what kind of games they play since its interesting in terms of who will actually be playing it.

A interesting number you could look at is that 85% of all people who sent data to Bioware about their masseffect 2 and 3 game, all chose a male sheppard, so a question you could ask, is why do we need more females when they almost never get chosen when people actually play the game.

#24 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (18417 posts) -

Back on topic. Yes, we do need more and better female protagonists, and I may add: antagonists (aka villains). I am sick to death of the trite, bilaterally offensive, lazily written female characters who do nothing but spew sexual innuendos and wear revealing outfits. Those caracters can be fine in their own context (Bayonetta, I guess), but when it's all you get, it gets annoying in a hurry, at least for me. Characters like Faith from Mirror's Edge, Fourty-Five from SOCOM 4, and the latest Lara Croft are the way to go: they present a more dignified image of females without being a slur of feminist propaganda. They still need to be better written (I did not like the Latest lara's constantly helpless attitude despite killing a million dudes) but we are on the right track.

#25 Posted by c_rakestraw (14624 posts) -

"Vocal demand" for what? Casual gamers are vocal about nothing. They've been defined casual exactly because they are not passionate about gaming enough to become vocal. Do you see why they are not relevant to the topic being discussed in this thread? 50 years-old mom may play farmville, but she does not care about Lara Croft becoming a stronger female protagonist. She has never and will never play a Tomb Raider game. 20 years-old sister might, though, hence why she is relevant and mom isn't. Different demographics. The mom demographic is out of the equation for the topic we are discussing.

You didn't answer my question.

How is catering to the female market -- regardless of how much of it is a part of the "core demographic" -- not worth pursuing? Give me one -- no, five good reasons. I've yet to hear a convincing, no bullshit argument on that side.

#26 Edited by c_rakestraw (14624 posts) -
@Black_Knight_00 said:

Back on topic. Yes, we do need more and better female protagonists, and I may add: antagonists (aka villains). I am sick to death of the trite, bilaterally offensive, lazily written female characters who do nothing but spew sexual innuendos and wear revealing outfits. Those caracters can be fine in their own context (Bayonetta, I guess), but when it's all you get, it gets annoying in a hurry, at least for me. Characters like Faith from Mirror's Edge, Fourty-Five from SOCOM 4, and the latest Lara Croft are the way to go: they present a more dignified image of females without being a slur of feminist propaganda. Tey still need to be better written (I did not like the Latest lara's constantly helpless attitude despite killing a million dudes) but we are on the right track.

I agree completely.

You can disregard that last post, if you want. Didn't see this post before writing it.

#27 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (18417 posts) -

@c_rakestraw said:

You didn't answer my question.

How is catering to the female market -- regardless of how much of it is a part of the "core demographic" -- not worth pursuing? Give me one -- no, five good reasons. I've yet to hear a convincing, no bullshit argument on that side.

I never said any of that and the quid-pro-quo should be resolved if you read my latest post, above.

In short: sure we should cater to the female demographic, it's nuts to say otherwise. I love female protagonists, I'm writing three as we speak. I simply contest your 50% figure and your assertion that "gamers are gamers"

Facebook and iphone gamers have their dignity and place, but when discussing which meat tastes better, vegetarians are really not part of the discussion, if you catch my drift.

#28 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (18417 posts) -
#29 Posted by Planeforger (15639 posts) -

"That's bullshit because I don't know a single female gamer."

Yeah, great setup. Thanks for selling yourself short, don't even need to watch the rest of the video.

You missed his evidence for that - he asked someone off screen whether they knew any female gamers (they only knew one).

He then confirmed it by saying that, in all of his years on Call of Duty, he has only encountered 15-20 girls.
....yeah.

#30 Posted by The_Last_Ride (71270 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

Hmm, for me personally as a man i pretty much always play the male character , but im up for more games having the choice , so who wants does have the choice.

i don't mind having them as a choice or having games like Tomb Raider with Lara Croft. Don't get me wrong there, it's just that i never see these gamer girls except for online video's here and there

#31 Posted by Star0 (443 posts) -

What the hell...this thread?

#32 Edited by AdrianWerner (28016 posts) -

A bit, but not by much. I mean..I expect females already are about half of all main characters in games, they're just overwhelmingly so mostly in casual games, which also happen to be the type of games women play the most. It's not realistic or even wise to expect half of action game leads to be females, because women aren't half of their audience. It would ba bassicaly like starting to complain there aren't enough male protagonist in romance novels.

#33 Posted by The_Last_Ride (71270 posts) -

@Star0 said:

What the hell...this thread?

i am not as blunt as the guy in the video is, but i think he has a point when he says there is a lack of female gamers

#34 Edited by Archangel3371 (15493 posts) -

Saying that there is a lack of female players so there shouldn't be more lead female characters in games seems like a foolish self-fulfilling prophecy to me. Perhaps if there were more better developed games with a female then that would draw in more female players.

#35 Posted by Ballroompirate (22778 posts) -

Honestly I don't care if there should be more female characters in video games or not, I usually play male characters if there's a option for ether since I'm actually a male irl.

#36 Posted by Notorious1234NA (531 posts) -

Cool more of these threads lol

#37 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11670 posts) -

I definatle Demand for more female characters, gamers, developers and fan girls.

This industry and community are in dire need of a woman's touch.

#38 Edited by kyacat (4049 posts) -

I'm female gamer don't play casual games like Farmville and we need more female leading characters even know I like the uncharted series and getting into gears of war series now

#39 Edited by Randolph (10501 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

Gamers are not gamers.

There is actually a big difference between people who play mobile/facebook cash cow games and the gamers which market you want to change, so it matters what kind of games they play since its interesting in terms of who will actually be playing it.

A interesting number you could look at is that 85% of all people who sent data to Bioware about their masseffect 2 and 3 game, all chose a male sheppard, so a question you could ask, is why do we need more females when they almost never get chosen when people actually play the game.

Exactly what i was thinking. It's a good ideal to just say "everyone who plays a game is a gamer", but it's also entirely misleading when you use that ideal to present a statistic that could fool a developer into changing their games for an audience that never materializes. It's simply not a realistic approach to actual lived reality to say everyone who plays games is a gamer. Before the advent of facebook games and mobile games, sure. Now? Nope.

Whether people like it or not, the core and casual labels are here to stay, and I'd argue, they are necessary. Casual shouldn't be seen as a put down, and core shouldn't be seen as egotistical bragging. They are distinct and different flavors of the same thing, and developers and publishers need these distinctions to understand who they are making their games for, and where. If you are making an action game on consoles and PC for instance, the 50% of gamers are female stat is misleading about your potential audience.

Take away the facebook games and mobile, and you have a real idea of potential female customers. I'm all for more female characters in games, and better written/portrayed ones at that. I mean yeah, when I was 16 or so the warrior chick in a fantasy RPG wearing bikini armor was cool. Not so much now. When I see a character like that I no longer think "Oh man so sexy, nice!". I think "That so called armor is entirely impractical, it offers no real protection from enemy attack or the elements… it's snowing on this level, she should be dying of hypothermia… what is this I don't even..."

#40 Posted by thehig1 (1714 posts) -

I just want to see "Good Characters" don't care what sex or race they are.

#41 Posted by Randolph (10501 posts) -

@thehig1 said:

I just want to see "Good Characters" don't care what sex or race they are.

I'm playing The Last Of Us for the first time and am up to my balls on good characters right now. Especially Bill, fucking love Bill.

#42 Posted by The_Last_Ride (71270 posts) -

@thehig1 said:

I just want to see "Good Characters" don't care what sex or race they are.

That i agree with

#43 Posted by AdrianWerner (28016 posts) -

Saying that there is a lack of female players so there shouldn't be more lead female characters in games seems like a foolish self-fulfilling prophecy to me. Perhaps if there were more better developed games with a female then that would draw in more female players.

I think it's not true. Mass Effect is prime example. The female lead was actually more interesting and only 15% played it. The simple fact is that most women don't like action-heavy games and it won't change no matter what gender the lead character is.

#44 Edited by Bigboi500 (29636 posts) -

Nothing wrong with a little diversity in gaming.

#45 Edited by The_Last_Ride (71270 posts) -

Nothing wrong with a little diversity in gaming.

that's not what i said. I just think the whole debate for women is overblown. Let developers make what they want to. And i also think the statistics are wrong

#46 Posted by bezza2011 (2416 posts) -

You know I'm not bothered and I bet most girl gamers aren't either, there are plenty of games out there you can pick and choose who you want to be and there are games out there where you can't, it's just a game, way overblown to be fair, just a few bunch of plenty who want choice and feel it's there right, when there only right is if they should play that game or not, you don't get this sort of thing in movies when most leads are male esp in action genre's, if someone wants to make a game with a male lead then great if they want to make a female lead game then great, the worst is, if you start adding more female leads, we'll get more media attention about the abuse for women because we have women killing people and getting beat up and this isn't right lol its a lose lose situation

#47 Posted by _BlueDuck_ (11986 posts) -

A few thoughts:

1) I don't think this issue is overblown as I haven't really seen much about this issue aside from online discussions. There are no laws, no protests, nothing blocking developers from making the games as they see fit. The fact that there is backlash to people simply talking and discussing these issues is a bit telling..

2) The idea that you shouldn't have female characters just for the sake of it, that they need to fill some necessary role in the story is a bit of a "your privilege is showing" moment. This suggests that the standard character, regardless, should always be male, and that if that standard male character is to be switched over to a female character,there had better be a good reason for it (otherwise it's just shoehorned in), and of course that reason will always have something to do with gender (because if there's no need for femininity in the game, why not just make the character a male!). I see no problem with main characters being female for no other reason than "we needed a human character for this role".

3) Not personally knowing any female gamers does not mean they don't exist. The statistics say otherwise, as do other people's anecdotes. When I was in school many of the women living in our section played video games just as the rest of us did. I've also worked in schools and got to meet a very wide variety of young people. This included many female gamers (playing more than candy crush on their phones). Wouldn't really surprise me that gamers who take time to complain about women in games on the internet might not be part of social circles that contain a large and diverse group of women.

4) Even if women make up a minority of gamers, market leaders don't just appeal to existing markets, they actively create and shape new ones. Half the planet's population is female, and if your company is not trying to figure out ways to tap in to that market, your company isn't doing a good job.

#48 Posted by Randolph (10501 posts) -

The fact that there is backlash to people simply talking and discussing these issues is a bit telling..

That has more to do with the terrible arguments the people who claim to be taking up the cause are making, than anything else.

#49 Posted by Gamerno6666 (1060 posts) -

Yes. Also we need Cate Archer back. Atleast April and Zoey is coming back in the upcoming game Dreamfall: Chapters.

#50 Edited by udUbdaWgz1 (631 posts) -

@c_rakestraw: that has to be one of the most irresponsible and ridiculous statements one can make when discussing this issue. black knight has the proper rationale.

no, we don't need more "female characters" for the sake of having "more female characters."