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Gender Inclusive Game Design

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We told you girls don't play computer games!' Why did this happen? ... it as a genre of 'fashion, shopping, and makeup games for girls ages 6-10. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gender Inclusive Game Design


1
Gender Inclusive Game Design
  • What it is and why we need it

Sheri Graner Ray ScreenBurn SxSW Interactive
Festival March 10, 2006
2
Sheri Graner Ray
  • Game designer since 1990
  • Author of Gender Inclusive Game Design Expanding
    the Market
  • Worked with Origin Systems/Electronic Arts, Her
    Interactive, Sony Online Entertainment, Cartoon
    Network and more
  • Chair and Co-founder of Women in Games
    International
  • Recipient 2005 IGDA's Game Developers' Choice
    Award for work in gender and games
  • Hard Core Gamer (20 hours/week)

3
Pink Poison
  • a brief history of the girls game
  • movement in the U.S.

4
1995
5
Why should we make games for girls?
6
1996
7
How do we make games for girls?
8
1997
9
1997-1999
10
  • March 1999
  • Big Pink Buys Purple Moon 
  • Oct 2001
  • Mattel Sells Interactive Division

11
See? We told you girls dont play computer
games!
12
Why did this happen?
  • The industry took an entire market of women and
    defined it as a genre of fashion, shopping, and
    makeup games for girls ages 6-10.

13
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14
  • Computer game revenues have topped 9.4 billion
    dollars, outranking Hollywood box office
    receipts.
  • Salon magazine.
  • So whats the problem?

15
  • The traditional target market of males ages 15-25
    is not growing as fast as the games industry.
  • Salon Magazine

16
  • Today, females between the ages of 15 and 25
    control over 14 billion dollars a year in
    disposable income.
  • -Newsweek Magazine

17
Houston, we have a problem
18
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19
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20
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21
What does work?
  • We can identify and remove the barriers that
    prevent women from accessing the titles we are
    making today.

22
An example of areas where barriers exist in our
games
  • Learning styles
  • Avatar representation

23
Warning
  • The following information is based on broad
    population generalities. It is highly likely you
    will know of someone that does not fit exactly
    into these profiles.
  • (If you are female and you are in the audience
    today…then that person will most likely be you!!)

24
Gender Differences in Learning Styles
  • Males
  • Females
  • Risk-takers
  • Explorative
  • Want to know how it works first
  • Modeling/Imitative

Most of the tutorials in todays games are
designed to appeal to an explorative learning
style.
25
  • Avatar \Avatar"\, n. 1. An image representing
    a user in a virtual reality space.

26
  • Because they represent heroes, male and female
    avatars will often exhibit exaggerated physical
    signals of youth strength, and fertility/virility

27
Youth, Strength and Fertility/Virility
  • Males
  • Large Shoulders
  • Slim waists
  • Slim hips
  • Large thighs and calves
  • Long, thick hair
  • Females
  • Large breasts, placed high on the chest
  • Slim waists
  • Round derrières
  • Long, thick hair

28
  • Very often female avatars display exaggerated
    physical signals of sexual receptivity.
  • Male avatars rarely display these signals.

29
Sexual receptivity
  • Red, full lips
  • Heavy lidded eyes
  • Heavy breathing (usually indicated by a slightly
    open mouth)
  • Erect nipples

30
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31
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32
Solutions
  • Design tutorials that use imitative models as
    well as evaporative models
  • Use educational software as models
  • Make your female characters heroic, but do not
    hypersexualize them
  • Use female athletes as body models

33
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34
Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman
  • The game industry isnt on womens career radar
  • Must recruit in non-traditional areas
  • Build today for employees tomorrow

35
Production Environment
  • Quality of life issues
  • Women have less leisure time
  • Benefits are very important
  • Physical space
  • Keep it clean
  • Appropriate facilities

36
Solutions
  • Understand you will have to recruit women and
    get creative in your recruiting
  • Address quality of life issues in your office
    including - but not limited to over time,
    benefits, and actual physical space

37
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38
Traditional channels do not reach female consumers
39
Traditional box and ad images can actively stop
female consumers
40
Ad messaging can adversely affect not only
product but corporate image
41
The Second Best Thing To Do In The Dark Ad for
GBA
42
Where to start
  • Adjust tutorials to allow for modeling learning
    styles
  • Consider forgiveness for error rather than
    punishment
  • Make female avatars attractive, but not
    hyper-sexual
  • Clearly state you intend your audience to contain
    females
  • Seek out qualified female candidates

43
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44
But what if the player is female?
Sheri Graner Ray ScreenBurn South by
Southwest March 10, 2006
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