Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

August 23, 2011 -

Silicon Sisters Interactive CEO and co-founder Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch believes that the games industry does not know how to create games that satisfy female customers. Gershkovitch co-founded the Vancouver-based studio last year in an attempt to address the gulf between the rapidly growing number of female gamers on smartphones and social networks, and the lack of products that they want to play.

"I think there are different levels to what you can offer," Gershkovitch said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "What we've seen is a fairly superficial offering where, in the absence of truly understanding what women want in terms of game mechanics and connection, what we're getting is a female wrapper around a game that's really designed for men."

The studio opened its doors after Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes, conducted 6 months of research. From this research they created a "bible" of sorts that Forbes calls "the DNA of the company."

"The bibliography on that is probably 20 pages long. There are an enormous number of academic studies that cover tiny slices of female play in all kinds of different ways. We compiled all of that together and saw certain trends emerge."

"It took 30 years to really perfect the three things that males seem to really love, which are shooting, and driving, and sports. And those are absolutely kick-ass games now, and you really have to sit back and go, 'What is the equivalent for girls? And please God, don't let it take us 30 years to get to as high a quality level as that.'"

Silicon Sisters' first release - the iOS game School 26 - was targeted at 12 to 16 year-old girls, and featured mechanics based on empathy, peer pressure and other aspects of the social experience of high school.

Forbes says that the challenge that the industry faces in creating new forms of gameplay for its female customers shouldn't be underestimated.

"When you look at the visceral thrill of shooting and what it gives men, looking for the equivalent of that in women is non-obvious, and I believe it's going to be more subtle."

Read the whole interview here.

Source: GI.biz

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Comments

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

How misinformative. These games were made by studying what sold, what was considered a failure, and copying what was popular while improving on the formula. Further more I know plenty of girls that love these types of games, and I know of even more guys that love games about social interaction. To say that these games were made for guys is not only a lie, but is also SEXIST AND STEROTYPING!

I'm also annoyed that they didn't mention RPGs.....and I'm still pissed about Megaman Legends 3!

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Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

The video game industry caters to men because we are the ones who supported it from the beginning.  As the article points out, we've spent 30 years voting with our dollars to get the kinds of games we want.  That the end result is skewed towards us might be unfair as far as gender equality goes, but it is absolutely fair as far as who has been behind the industry and supported it as it's grown.  You may as well get angry at a plant because its roots conform to the shape of the pot it's in.  And I'm not saying that it has to be this way forever, but for change to happen, women are going to have to put their own effort into making something that they enjoy.  They can't just waltz in three decades late, snap their fingers, and demand to be catered to by an industry that they spent most of that time shunning.  These ladies seem to be making just such an effort, and good on them for doing it, but whining about the fact that things aren't equal yet is petty, misses the point, and stirs up resentment.

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

this hole article is a bit insulting the kinda games you like has sum correlation with your gender but its not a determining factor while i like the Sims i am much more of a RPG and FPS fan. to sajest that because i am a woman i don't like that game type is just more feminist bull shit news flash to both men and woman game makers WE DON'T LIKE A GAME BASED ON ARE SEX. /end rant

 

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Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

Meh. Since age 3 I've clocked more hours on game systems than most guys I know. While I do get sick of looking at boobs and female asses, the game industry satisfies me just fine.

"Silicon Sisters' first release - the iOS game School 26 - was targeted at 12 to 16 year-old girls, and featured mechanics based on empathy, peer pressure and other aspects of the social experience of high school."

Sounds terrible. I'd never play that crap.

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

Not to mention it sounds like what most of us went through in middle and high school. And they think we want to play a game based on that crap? No thanks.

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

Instead of talking about it to no end, why don't you actually show us that you know what women want. Until then don't pretend you represent and speak for women, because I seem to know many that don't like you... something about stereotyping.

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

They think the industry is sexist, yet in reality, these people are! They're basically saying the the games that are currently out are only for men. Just because they are based on shooting, driving, and sports doesn't mean that they can't appeal to women. Some women don't want to play them just because their peers don't. Most men do because their male peers play them.

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

Ok. I don't know where you are coming from with the whole sexist thing. No where in this article are they saying that the games industry is sexist.

What they are doing is pointing out that the industry does a great job at catering to the male demographic, but the industry lacks the polish and understanding of what women want in games.

I agree with that.

Of course I think it is a bit counter productive to suggest that women should just conform to the men centric game designs of today. That may not be what you mean, but that is the way it came across to me.

I do know of several women who enjoy games like Halo and Madden. But they are a minority among women. I know my wife doesn't like those games.

I also know a great deal more who don't think the current crop of "girl games" are all that interesting either. There are only so many high school sims or pony training games they can take. They would like something that offers the complexity and engagement that male centric games offer but in a package that appeals to their varied tastes.

 

Re: Silicon Sisters: Industry is Failing Female Customers

I agree that men and women aren't completely alike in their tastes, but you can't say that a woman doesn't like Halo because it is too "rough" for her. One of the reasons is that when you know that your peers like a game, you develop an interest in it, generally. If your wife had friends who liked those games, perhaps it would be a different story. The Sims is marketed towards a younger, more feminine crowd, but I actually like the game, and I'm a guy who enjoys games like Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto, as well. Although, my peers don't like that game, so I don't really know...

Maybe because in The Sims, you can choose to manage men or women. In games like Gears of War, all of the main playable characters are men. Niko Bellic? Man. Master Chief? Man. Some women don't mind playing as men, though, just like I don't mind playing as women. I'm tolerant, but regardless, I think you're right that these games are definitely marketed more towards men, though...

 
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