Why it has become so hard to convince our girlfriends, mothers, or even our grandmothers to pick up a videogame controller and invite them to our world of gaming that they don't seem to appreciate that much. Mind you, that there are many female gamers out there but their voices haven't reached the gaming public or the gaming industry. However, this news seems to bother Nintendo as well. Nintendo slowly started to capitalize the female market by releasing titles such as Nintendogs and Brain Age, on their current handheld phenomenon the Nintendo DS. Now, they want to make the same thing with their next-gen console The Wii. Are they going to succeed?
It's no shock that much fewer women play video games than men. So from a business standpoint, it makes sense that Nintendo would want to expand their sales into that new market. But whether the Wii and its PR are doing something "good" for the state of gaming equality, that's a whole other story.
On the one hand, it's refreshing to see a major player like Nintendo thinking about women -- not just in terms of one game, but a whole console, and with it a slew of "non-girly" titles. It's also encouraging to see female players linked with innovation, something the video game industry, as a whole needs desperately. Women have finally made it onto the larger marketing map. But there is something unsettling in the way Nintendo has been pushing the Wii for women. It's not that a new design will knock down the social barriers to entry, but that the system is so intuitive, so simple, it will knock down barriers of ability. As if women, like young children and the elderly (another target audience who has the right to be upset), were incapable of playing traditional games.
Now, here’s the wacky thought: the Wii isn't being given to women. It's being given to men to give to women. In some sort of crazy, gender-based, gaming colonialism, Nintendo's new system isn't being marketed toward women themselves, but to their sons, boyfriends, and fathers. Women, like other family members, are only then invited to play along.
Does marketing "easy" gameplay to women hold water? Maybe, maybe not. What's certain though is that, even as Nintendo looks toward its female market, they still consider women as secondary gamers. How many more generations of consoles will it take before women get to hold the controls?
Posted by Angelo
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