Those who make major blockbuster video games have held the misconception that their target demographic are teenage boys for a long time. Because of this, whether it’s Call Of Duty or Assassins Creed, video game makers have often made their products to suit what they think this demographic wants. Their protagonists have been gun-toting alpha males with female characters (if there are any) reserved to supporting roles as scantily-dressed damsels-in-distress.
It is safe to say that companies like Microsoft and Sony have been detached from reality in doing this, unaware of the seismic change going on in the video game industry as more and more women become interested in the medium. However, the Internet Advertising Bureau’s latest report may finally prove to the likes of Microsoft and Sony what is really happening. It has found that there are now more women playing video games than men.
The preferred console of choice for female gamers is the smartphone with 54 per cent of the people playing games on a phone being girls. It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise either. The accessible nature of smartphones has opened the door for females who may never understood the appeal of gaming before. Furthermore, they are a place where independent app makers have been able to make games that don’t just conform to the teenage boy demographic, making products that can be accessible to any age range or gender.
So what does this mean for the gaming industry, and in particular the developers of blockbuster console games like Grand Theft Auto or Far Cry? For starters: this should be the final nail in the coffin of an outdated stereotype that gaming is for teenage boys. Game developers need to sit up and pay attention to the figures and realise that their games must, at last, change to meet the demands of this growing market. Games now have to be conscious of gender, giving women stronger roles than just sidekicks, girlfriends and captives.