Jul 2011 19

by Bob Suicide

A study which purported to highlight the equality among the sexes when it comes to computer gaming was recently published in the uber-reliable Daily Mail. The survey was funded by the scientifically-minded, and above-bias team at Doritos, which lends further credence to the findings.

That’s right, Doritos. Now why would the chip company — known philanthropically funding scientific discovery in key areas such as how to make ranch “cooler” — waste it’s time researching women’s interest in computer games when it could be curing cancer, you say? Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with the recent launch of their own online computer game: Doritos Dip Desperado. No sir.

I’m honestly surprised that the survey didn’t find that “women say that computer games taste great and are less filling than the leading chip brand,” it’s that blatantly obvious this is a sad marketing ploy. But what the press release of an article did say was:

That while 50 per cent of men readily admit to frequent online gaming, a surprising 49 per cent of women confess that they too are addicted to Internet games.

And while men spend 22.3 per cent of their time online playing games, women trump them, whiling away 23.2 per cent of their time online playing games.

Revealingly, the study showed that not only are women just as keen on gaming as men — but that the majority would rather spend time playing on their gadgets than having sex.

Sure, women love gaming more than sex — but not more than CHIPS! And the only way to appeal/pander to the carb-craving, sex-shirking, mouse-clicking female geek is to download the new Doritos app. *eye roll*

Don’t get me wrong, I support ongoing research into both the subtle and blatant differences between the sexes and their gaming preferences. After all, it’s that kind of information that inspires better game development that appeals to both sexes in a more accurate and realistic way.

However, regardless of the issues of the survey’s reliability and dubious source, it does inadvertently but nonetheless usefully highlight one issue — namely what should be defined as “gaming” for the purposes of collecting and analyzing such data?

The survey argues that the difference in gender preferences lies in the “type” of game they choose:

Women, it found, are more likely to play games with a social element or that test their brain power, with almost half the women surveyed admitting to be fans of such games compared to just a quarter of men.

So while women download apps, solve problems or exchange bushels of hay on the popular Facebook app Farmville, men, who were found to be far less selective in their gaming habits, are more likely to be shooting up virtual opponents in an online war game (over a third play regularly), or gambling, with one in five admitting to logging on to such sites.

However, it seems to me that the question that needs to be asked before such gender comparisons can be made is: “What do we consider a computer game and what do we consider a social media application?”

As a hardcore gamer myself, I don’t feel comfortable touting the impressive statistic of 49% if over half of those women consider chucking sheep on Facebook’s Farmville to be on the same level as my attempts to syphon little girls in Bioshock. It feels almost as dirty as comparing the average gaming enthusiast to someone who would walk into a Game Stop to buy a used copy of Burger King’s Sneak King. (You know who you are, and you should be ashamed!)

I know I’ve rallied the war cry of the female gamer in past blogs, and make no mistake we’re out there fraging with the best of the boys, but the hardcore female gaming community is never going to be taken seriously if we don’t clearly define and respect the differences between apps, casual, and hardcore gaming. Until then, when attempting to profess your genuine interest and dedication to the gaming community people can sadly legitimately make comments like, “Oh you play games? You probably play Farmville and shit like that,” and companies like Doritos can use our very existence as a shocking, tongue-in-cheek marketing ploy to push a stupid app.

We’re worth more than that. We deserve more. There’s a frigging difference between fragging and Farmville — and the difference is that REAL women FRAG.

Image: Leon Ryan


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