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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The wrong way to bring women to your game

So at this point it is a fairly well known fact that the percentage of men and women in gaming is starting to rapidly approach (and in some cases surpass!) the actual sex ratio. Though I do not have the full statistics, there is some telling that a large portion of this includes Zynga games. At this point more traditional companies are trying to find ways to get a piece of that market pie. Below the break, a company trying a way that in my opinion is flat out wrong.

So the aforementioned game and site popped onto my radar from a Penny-Arcade article which at first I thought was an April Fools joke, but it was posted on April 2nd. Basically, to try and encourage people to play their birth gender and with players of the opposite gender they allow hetero-normative pairs to use a buff on each other for protection. Female players will also get a discount on female Heroes, while Male players get a discount on male Heroes. To encourage players to play their born gender, cause that's totally how virtual worlds should work ( /sarcasm ).

Some fun quotes n the article from the developer:
“When boys gather around to play games just with each other, it’s not really social. When girls gather around just to chat, it’s not very social. The social starts when they hang out together and play games together,”
 “To do the very best, you’ll want a female player on your team,” Nuretdinova said. You don’t need to have male and female players on the same team to win, but it will certainly help. The game will be connected to your Facebook account, so it will actually be able to check that your real-life gender, and the bonus is only available when a team is made of mixture of male and female players who are playing as characters of the required gender.

Even better! Now not only do we have a company poking their nose in our facebook accounts, but they want to shoe-horn mixed gender teams! (Disclaimer: I have NO problem with that, but I think it should happen as a result of friendships, not because you get a bonus...this is a game, not an real life employment situation). Lets not require skill, lets base your team placement on what's between your legs. Also apparently girls just want to chat and never play games...or so the developer has told me.

Further reading! In the comments a commenter claiming to be the developer added this gem:
Hi. My name is Sergey Galyonkin and I work for Nival. I just wanted to clarify some things.
Female players have discounts for female characters, not for all characters. Same for male players and male characters.
Being a female doesn't give you any advantages over being male in Prime World. Playing with people of other gender does.
We don't see female players as weaker ones. It just we often see female players being harrased by hardcore community, so they often have to hide the fact that they're female. We thought about giving gender-diverse team some kind of an advantage, hence optional gender bonus.
Gender bonus is symmetrical - so all-females team will benefit from male player the same way the all-male team from female player.
This talent is optional, you can switch it for something else when you decide on your build. So if you're going all-male pre-made you can choose instead something else. But the way our leveling works you never will have a chance to unlock all talents during course of a game, so it worth keeping it in your build just in case.
You can fake your gender of course, it is Internet after all. But if you create a fake Facebook profile you loose all social benefits, like playing with your real friends in game. Prime >World doesn't post anything to your wall, but if some of your friends are playing Prime World you'll see them in interface and will be able to play together.
Also, if you go with your real profile, changing gender will surely alert your mom :) I don't expect someone to change Facebook gender for a game.
You don't have to use Facebook to play Prime World, you can register with e-mail and password as usual.
But from our tests in Russia we see that most people registered that way later go and add Facebook profile to be able to play with their real-life friends. 50% of the fun is who do you play with :)
So there you have it; you silly gamers! Play your birth gender and be attracted to the opposite sex or you miss out on content! Apparently the way to getting women respect in gaming is by giving them extra powers (because gamers are notorious for respecting people who have any advantage over them, I learned it on XBOX live!).

This is NOT how you attract players; attract players by making a game that appeals to them (read: IS FUN TO PLAY) and encourages a community of mutual respect...this works for men and women, I promise. Shoving people into roles is not going to engender you any extra players. I for one would not touch the game with an 11 foot pole...who are they to tell me which characters I can play? Maybe I like the theme and playstyle of one of the female characters? Or maybe a woman likes the same of a male character and prefers to play him? Ugh, the fact that they think this is a good idea is staggering, but I guess...this is the country that just passed "Anti-gay" laws.

Back to my progressive guild.

Reddit thread that I found this article and comment from here

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