All entries for Tuesday 10 April 2007

April 10, 2007

Gender & Videogames

Gender and Videogames

Introduction

Gender and videogames has for a long time been an issue. However as the linked article below from the BBC suggests players of online games are frequently women. It does seem as though the demographic profile of gaming is changing. As computer gaming has been around for a couple of decades now the market is shifting. There are now generations of older gamers who want something different out of their games from the 14 year old lads stuck in the attic. Lets see what is going on. 

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
"With online games, 54% of players are women."

Women in Games Conference


Women in Games at the University of Wales, Newport later this month wants to encourage more girls to consider a career in developing games. This is the latest in a series of annual conferences and is getting to grips with a range of gender issues in relation to gaming. 


Women in Games Programme 

Aims of Women in Games

1. Give a voice to women in the games industry.
2. Analyse and monitor the role of women in the games industry.
3. Provide networking opportunities, especially for women developing and researching games.
4. Support and encourage students, researchers and developers to explore and redress the game industry's
    gender imbalance.
5. Disseminate research into games (past, present and future), especially (but not exclusively) with reference
    to the experience of women playing, developing and responding to games and game culture.
6. Disseminate information on the latest technologies and the best design and development practices.

Some Facts & Figures taken from the stories in the Webliography






Games Women Play

  • Role-playing games - Final Fantasy
  • Narrative adventures - Legend of Zelda
  • Easy to pick up driving sims - Colin MacRae Rally
  • Puzzle adventures - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • Quick-fire arcade puzzlers - Tetris
  • Life simulations - The Sims
Source: Elspa white paper on women in gaming







Women in the UK make up just over a quarter of the total number of gamers. This compares to 39% in the US and 69% in South Korea.

The typical female gamer in the UK is 30 to 35-years-old, plays around seven hours a week and spends £170 (250 euros) a year on games, Ms Krotoski found.

Think about how this quotation below relates to the need for media institutions to keep investing. Also think about the notion of institutions "Desperately Seeking Audience":

The 15 to 24-year-old male market is saturated so it is interested in exploring different populations in order to reach a mass market," she told BBC News Online. (My emphasis)

What does the following comment say about gender relationships in society? why might women have less time to play games? 

There are differences, however, in the types of games that women like playing, and this is partly due to having less leisure time.

Women gamers constitute a big market 

The Sims, which is published by EA, is arguably the world's most successful game - with more than 40 million copies sold  (says David Gardner, chief operating officer for EA's worldwide studios, who was speaking to a conference in Edinburgh.)




Webliography

Women in Games International 

http://www.womeningamesinternational.org/

Women taking on the gaming world

All women gamers, please stand up

Games industry is 'failing women'

Girl gamers who shoot first, love later

Women gear up for gaming invasion

Girl gamers strike at the boysm

Women take a shine to video games

Frag Doll site 



Sony Trumps Apple iPhone with Vaio Micro UX1

Sony Vaio UX1 Ultramobile Computer cum ....






Vaio as Business Lifestyle







The Marketing & Promotion

I first spotted the ads for this machine in the Financial Times Weekend Colur Magazine. The written text is unremittingly sexist it "packs a techno punch; it's the ultimate boy's toy... ". Actually its small size is very likely to appeal to women but it's huge current price will not unless women break through the 'silicon ceiling'. It seems to be aroun £2K right now but as the advertising says occasionally a new technology product "can chqange the paradigm". iPod did that to the Sony Walkman so maybe it's Sony's turn to do it to Apple?









Vaio Micro UX1 1






Well its certainly ultra-mobile. Can it compete with the trend towards all in one devices which Blackberry, iPhone and most mobiles are aiming for? It certainly beats the competition offered from Samsung but at a price. Well it's certainly in the running!  It has 32GB of Flash memory not a hard disc drive HDD  which makes it fast and reliable and proves the sharper predictions of the technology press 3 months ago were right as they said the next big leap forward would be based upon  huge flash memory capacity what companies like Samsung have predicted will be "Super-Blackberries".

From the perspective of mass media can it communicate in a world which is going unremittingly wireless and internet driven? Well the advertising says it can:




Vaio Micro with Camera










But that's nothing. Just check out the Flash driven advert below which I find fun and convincing. A clear case of the media is the message I think :-)






Vaio Rear Screen
Click on the above image and then click on "Get the full story" box for a very impressive interactive advert which has a virtual stylus which you can use to check out the UX1's capabilities. This is an advance in advertising technique I think.

It has wireless LAN for continuous communication and even two cameras built in so that a video chat can be conducted on the move. With Vista as its operating system and a huge memory you can use the browser of your choice. It even has built in microphone and speakers. As a phone it can communicate to more than one person. With headphones its private. At around the size of a PSP its a no brainer if you've got the cash of course !!

Is it a marker of the technology to come? Is it creating a new paradigm. I think so. I want one immediately whereas the latest mobile phone has no interest for me at all.  Imagine how useful this could be for professional photograhers for example. You can have a full working version of Photoshop and computer with you for less than the weight of a medium size fast lens. Edit and upload your shots while out on a shoot in demanding conditions. This beats a lot of laptops and is a prelude to the way many laptops will be going.

This means that prices will become affordable in a couple of years or less. can Nokia and iPhone bring out competitive products or will it be Toshiba who have a powerful place in the laptop market who are challenged as well. With this one I suspect Sony are on a winner. but clearly the ultramobile computing market is set to take off big time. Watch this space.





Webliography

In depth review from Personal Computer World this also has a link to the Samsung Q1 an earlier cheaper but less effective competitior in the ultra mobile market

For a more typical aspirationally minded geeky macho male check out the entirely predicatble GQ lifestyle magazine way of reviewing things.

The Turbo-gadgets Blog is quite interesting for surface reviews. Check out the SonyEricsson New phone for Japan while your here.  


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