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VWN Product Reviews: Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding The Market

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Site Shop > Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding The Market




First created in 2003, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding The Market deals with the ever-present problem of game and virtual-space designers assuming, incorrectly, that young males, typically 13-25 years of age, dominate the market.

In truth, young girls and women of all ages make up 70% of casual online gamers, and a sizable proportion of core online gamers. In fact, 52% of internet users ? and growing ? are female.

By focussing solely on the 13 to 25 male demographic, developers are limiting their potential audience severely, and turning away more than three quarters of their potential revenue stream.

Beyond the obvious issues, there iws one stark fact that all developers should bear in mind: The games industry, and, to a lesser extent, the VR in entertainment industry is currently growing faster than the target market. In other words, growth is far faster than the rate of breeding. In order to maintain strong and growing swiftly, the target market must expand. It can either look to include an older male audience, or it can grow to encompass both genders, and take in females aged 13-25 and beyond, who are just as voracious for gaming, if not more so, than their male counterparts.

Successful entertainment industries have sustained growth for decades because they have considered the diversity of their audiences. Today's blockbuster products, be it movies, recordings or books, are most often the ones with elements that directly appeal to many market sectors, while containing very few barriers to access for others. By understanding the issues and barriers connected to gender, the game and entertainment VR industries can benefit from similar growth.

Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market addresses issues that help designers and developers understand the real differences between how the genders approach and resolve conflicts, and what their entertainment criteria and responses are.

It also explores the differences in reward systems, game play preferences, and avatar selection criteria, and how these issues all apply to game design, regardless of genre. By understanding these differences, designers can apply this knowledge to the traditional genres that make up the contemporary computer game industry and begin tapping the future market. Perhaps the real question developers need to be asking themselves is, "but what if the player is female?"

 

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