I’ve seen a few news items this week about how different games companies/marketing departments are approaching the female market. You can feel for these guys. They look at their demographic and they see one big chunk missing, and like rabid pokemon collectors (a game that was crazy popular with girls, as it happens) they’ve gotta have them all. It’s a challenge.
Some day someone will make a game where you are in charge of marketing and have to figure out mad ways to get into all segments of the market. And then maybe some of these things will make sense.
Girls’ Night in with Madden
Invite your girlfriends round to play Madden, For the non-US crowd, Madden is a popular American Football game. (I assume, cos I’ve never seen it here.) The EA marketing team has balls to try this one, I think. Here’s the actual site: Girls’ Night In. It has a pink logo and lots of girly stars and moons. It has recipes for things you can cook to feed your female friends while they are sitting in your lounge and .. err… playing Madden on the Wii. It suggests that you lay in “napkins with a football theme or your favorite (or cutest quarterback’s) team’s colors”. It notes that you will learn lots of impressive football facts to impress your friends.
IT CAME FROM PLANET ZOG!!!
I don’t want to be too cruel to the marketing team. Hey, maybe it’ll work. Maybe I am not the target audience (I am scared of the target audience!). At least they are making an effort to reach out to that part of the market. Maybe this is a good way to reach casual gamers. Certainly the Wii is a good console to pick. And bear in mind that this is the industry which invented the phrase 2 Cs in a K (note: work unsafe link due to bad language) to describe marketing to women. Advertisers are not known for respecting their target markets, they do this to everyone equally.
This is the sort of scheme I might have thought up if I was drunk and playing a game in which I had to pretend to be a marketing manager who had to sell stuff to people who didn’t want it. I don’t know if that’s a recommendation or not.
Another approach: make them good games with girly themes
I thought this was a much more interesting approach. Legacy Interactive are making casual female-friendly games and they’ve had some publicity this week. How about Mean Girls with the gameplay of puzzlequest?
MTV multiplayer ask at the end of that article:
“Puzzle Quest” in a high school full of mean girls via a “Mean Girls” game. How do we feel about that?
I don’t know about you but I feel great about that. Why should making games for a girly (I won’t say female because lots of us like shooting stuff and playing regular types of games) audience mean that they skimp on gameplay? Why not design a great game and clothe it in girl-friendly colours and story themes?
What about WAR?
I look forwards to seeing the pink-themed elf page with the cute goblin dancers when Mythic get around to acknowledging their female market!!11111!!!
<scene: 2 blonde female high elves are sitting with wine and biscuits in a room that might be a kitchen>
ELF1: Oh, I’ve had such trouble with my garden lately, I just can’t seem to keep the weeds in order.
ELF2: You poor thing. I used to be just like that, but then I discovered a miracle solution!
<camera pans in to ELF1, with an expression of surprise and hope on her face>
ELF1: Really? Whatever might that be?
<camera swings round to ELF2, who is now dressed in full Swordmaster battlegear (renown rank 30 for anyone who is counting). She slams the table with one mailed fist, breaking it.>
ELF2: Screw the garden! We have fashion disasters to kill!
<camera pans to fashion disaster dark elves, being killed with arrows through the throat and perfectly executed sword actions>
<next shot shows ELF1 in Shadow Warrior gear, doing some Legolas tricks>
<scene: a war camp, which may be a kitchen>
ELF1: <takes off her mask and shakes out her hair, still blonde> Warhammer! For all your garden related problems!