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Another Day, Another Press Conference Without Women
February 21, 2013 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Another Day, Another Press Conference. Yesterday's Playstation 4 announcement was perhaps most notable in what it didn't include: any female presenters. Also discussed by Kotaku and The Verge. (The Verge also notes similar trends in press events from Nintendo, EA, HTC, and Apple.)
posted by kmz (86 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or a Playstation 4, for that matter.
posted by selfnoise at 12:15 PM on February 21, 2013 [20 favorites]


1) Yes, this is dumb, but of course not surprising in the least

2) Another thing that the Playstation 4 announcement did not include was a Playstation 4

3) Is there any way I can get some sort of super-premium kotaku subscription that allows me to physically punch other commenters?
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 12:16 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Another thing that bothered me: the way they dressed. Tshirt, jeans, and a suit jacket. Every last one of them. WTF did they just roll out of the hotel bar?
posted by hellojed at 12:20 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I quite enjoyed this abridged version of the announcement.
posted by BinaryApe at 12:20 PM on February 21, 2013 [36 favorites]


If that Kotaku picture is any indication maybe it's because all the women balked at the "jeans and black blazer" uniform.

I don't blame them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:22 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


all the women balked at the "jeans and black blazer" uniform.

Also at being fitted with extremely heavy prosthetic arms.
posted by Iridic at 12:23 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Kotaku discussion boils down to "Well of COURSE there weren't any women presenting, because the presenters were all heads of their divisions, and none of those division heads are women. That's not sexist."

And none of them have yet figured out that not having any women in a position of power is THE KIND OF THING WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

(and yeah, that's pretty much exactly what the main link says. oops)
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:31 PM on February 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Maybe if women got into positions of power, Sony would put them in charge of divisions.
posted by Nomyte at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


The political Correctness Police scored a Major Victory spotting the Absence of a Female at an idiotic Product Announcement - misses the Point that Millions of Hours of Human Potential will be destroyed by yet another "awesome" addictive Toy ...
posted by homodigitalis at 12:38 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


misses the Point that Millions of Hours of Human Potential will be destroyed by yet another "awesome" addictive Toy

Why are you posting on Metafilter when you could be busy reaching your full potential? Or have you already achieved that?
posted by bondcliff at 12:40 PM on February 21, 2013 [73 favorites]


I must be missing the sarcasm here; we shouldn't care about gender bias because video games are silly?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:41 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


misses the Point that Millions of Hours of Human Potential will be destroyed by yet another "awesome" addictive Toy

I mean, play a game online and turn on voice chat sometime - it quickly becomes clear that these people wouldn't exactly be off curing cancer or becoming the next Vermeer if only they'd put down the controller.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:44 PM on February 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


spotting the Absence of a Female

These days we call them women!
posted by shakespeherian at 12:45 PM on February 21, 2013 [23 favorites]


I mean, play a game online and turn on voice chat sometime - it quickly becomes clear that these people wouldn't exactly be off curing cancer or becoming the next Vermeer if only they'd put down the controller.

Are we talking console gaming or PC gaming?
posted by Slothrup at 12:46 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


spotting the Absence of a Female

These days we call them women!


Unless you're a Ferengi. Been watching a lot of DS9 lately, and really I think we should take up this HUE-MAAN pronounciation.

Actually come to think of it, most Kotaku commentors are probably Ferengi.
posted by selfnoise at 12:48 PM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Gameological Society also covered it in their verbose, thoughtful way:
Sony’s tired thesis, the notion that more technology necessarily produces innovative artistry, was convincingly refuted by the content of its own event. It was like watching the Flat Earth Society unveil the year’s hottest new globes.
posted by muddgirl at 12:53 PM on February 21, 2013 [16 favorites]


homodigitalis: "The political Correctness Police scored a Major Victory spotting the Absence of a Female at an idiotic Product Announcement - misses the Point that Millions of Hours of Human Potential will be destroyed by yet another "awesome" addictive Toy ..."

The Perpetually Tone-Deaf and Cognitiviely Biased Police once again incorrectly interpret the need for recognizing and correcting gender imbalances in positions of power as Political Correctness, while castigating videogamers for wasting their time on a popular Internet Forum used by many to waste time.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:56 PM on February 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I suggest everyone hang on to their money and jewelry. Threads don't get derailed like this by accident and if they got our telegraph at Central, it'll be a few hours until the Rangers ride down and 'til then we're gonna have to fend for ourselves. Now who knows Roberts Rules of Order?
posted by griphus at 1:01 PM on February 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


Maybe I'm missing something here, but my understanding is that video games are by and large a male dominated field. In my own experience I can think of only one girl I know that plays video games. I don't think there's anything wrong here -- some fields just attract certain genders more than others.

Honest question: is it a problem that there are no female baseball or football players?
posted by MattMangels at 1:04 PM on February 21, 2013


Yesterday's Playstation 4 announcement was perhaps most notable in what it didn't include: any female presenters

Where are all the "Leftover Women" when you really need them?
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:06 PM on February 21, 2013


4chans take on the ps4 NSFW
posted by lalochezia at 1:06 PM on February 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


...some fields just attract certain genders more than others.

The problem is that one gender actively repels the other, and doesn't understand why that's an issue. The video game hobby and industry are both mired in everything from institutional sexism to balls-out go-fuck-yourself misogyny. The environment is hostile to women and, yeah, if that's why it's attracting "certain genders," that's a problem.

The sports analogy is completely off. You're asking "is it a problem that there are no women baseball or football fans" and you're going to find very similar issues. Except the intertwining of people who make the content and the people who enjoy the content, and the people whose livelihoods depend on these interactions is very, very different in video games and professional sports.
posted by griphus at 1:08 PM on February 21, 2013 [20 favorites]


To be honest, I think the explicit sex segregation of professional sports is pretty stupid. It doesn't really work with your point, anyway: plenty of women want to play pro sports. That's why the WNBA exists, amongst other leagues.
posted by selfnoise at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


This isn't a Sony problem, it's an industry problem. Still someone at Sony should have said something during planning, even if they just interviewed a few women during the developer montage for the optics.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2013


MattMangels: "Maybe I'm missing something here, but my understanding is that video games are by and large a male dominated field. In my own experience I can think of only one girl I know that plays video games. I don't think there's anything wrong here -- some fields just attract certain genders more than others.

Honest question: is it a problem that there are no female baseball or football players?
"

Yeah, you're missing something. Your assumptions about who plays games are incorrect.

Forty-seven percent of all players are women, and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry's fastest growing demographics.

Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).


The lack of women at this event and in positions of power is reflective of continuing sexist treatment of women in business, not that they just don't belong in the boyz club.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


Plus, being a Football fan, a Basketball fan, and a gamer, I can tell you that there are lots of women who like these things and that astonishingly I encounter them on a regular basis.
posted by selfnoise at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


lots of women play video games. the fact that you only know one isn't really indicative of anything. i'm a gamer, a sports fan, and a woman. so i guess now you know one more.
posted by nadawi at 1:12 PM on February 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't think there's anything wrong here -- some fields just attract certain genders more than others.

That's right: there are no websites dedicated to female gamers, and especially none to female developers, and Metafilter has never posted FPPs about these imaginary people. No.
posted by Nomyte at 1:13 PM on February 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


Loved the abridged version, though it did freak me out on one obscure point. Every time I hear the phrase "panta rhei" the part of my brain that's read a lot of Zippy the Pinhead always pipes up with "There's a manta ray in my panta rhei!". I thought this uniquely marked me out from the rest of humanity, for better or worse. When the guy narrating it made the same connection, it was uncomfortably intimate.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:14 PM on February 21, 2013


So who's going to research and write the piece interviewing all of the women who are getting passed over for promotions in the video game industry?
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:14 PM on February 21, 2013


my understanding is that video games are by and large a male dominated field.

From the Verge article in the FPP:

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 47 percent of gamers are women — effectively gender parity. But only eleven percent of game industry employees are women, measuring across all departments.

In terms of people playing games: no, not really male dominated. In terms of people making games, yes, the industry is mostly male. That those two numbers are so disparate is the issue underlying most of these articles: women are a substantial fraction of "people who play games," but you would never never never guess that from industry events, press coverage, or marketing.
posted by cjelli at 1:15 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


So who's going to research and write the piece interviewing all of the women who are getting passed over for promotions in the video game industry?

someone with a high tolerance for death threats, one assumes
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:16 PM on February 21, 2013 [15 favorites]


I suppose that marketing is responsible for a great deal of this imbalance too. As a kid in the 90s/early 2000s the only video games I remember as being specifically geared towards girls were of the "Mary Kate & Ashley" sort. Ewww.
posted by MattMangels at 1:18 PM on February 21, 2013


What imbalance are you referring to?
posted by lazaruslong at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


@MattMangels - the 47% of gamers being women stat kind of negates that idea. The issue as presented isn't women not playing games, it's women not making games.
posted by zeoslap at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2013


I want to love Sony, hell, I want to invest in Sony, but they are so fucking stupid.
posted by phaedon at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2013


In terms of people making games, yes, the industry is mostly male.

In fairness, most software developers are male, at least in my experience. I (currently) work at a small company, and we have two female developers out of a dozen. They are competent and respected (one of them is VERY respected), and I strongly doubt there is much bias against women in our particular workplace. Very few applicants are female. I'm not saying that there isn't a problem, but to the extent that there is one, it starts a lot sooner than the presentation stage, to put it mildly.
posted by Edgewise at 1:21 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


The gaming industry really kind of sucks to work in. The hours and demands are unreasonable, the possibilities for advancement are limited, and the job insecurity is well-documented. If you had the high skill level necessary to be a developer, you have the skill necessary to do many other things.

The fact that only young men put up with it for any length of time doesn't surprise me.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Regarding women who work in the gaming industry, there's Women in Games International.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:25 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks maybe talk about the topic of this thread and don't use this to start a generalized "Let's talk about the ways in which men are the victims of sexism" argument. Join the conversation that is already in process.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:36 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


The lack of women in software development is really fucked. We need to do something about it.
posted by scose at 1:44 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]



So, I was watching American Chopper or whatever sometime ago, and they were commissioned to design and build a motorcycle for Die Hard batteries. At the end when they did the big unveiling to a bunch of Marketing Douchebags in the Jeans and Blazer marketing uniform, the head MD says : "This motorcycle really represents the Die Hard brand and demonstrates our commitment to reliability and performance".

Which is bullshit nonsense. So much bullshit.

Anyway, the point I'm making is that video gaming has sorta always been boy-zone, but ever since these schmucks have taken over, it's gone to Frat-Boy Zone and turned The Brah up to 11.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:46 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the Sony CEO:
"I've listened to the criticism about our lack of women at the Playstation 4 announcement and I understand where they are coming from. Sony is doing everything it can to meet the needs of our diverse audience. At our next product announcement, I promise to have some super hot bikini models appear on stage to help showcase our wonderful products."
posted by perhapses at 1:47 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's fewer women in game development.
Which means there's fewer women to hire into positions of power.
Which means there's fewer women in positions of power.
Which means fewer women as speakers at press conferences like Sony's.
Which means fewer women public role models in game development.
Which means the women who do make games are largely invisible to gamers.
Which means more people assume women are just not naturally interested in making games.
Which means more people assume women just don't play games.
Which means more people assume that women who like games and make games are non-existent.
Which means that fewer people are going to take seriously the women who make games.
(Which means fewer women will be promoted internally into positions of power, and more women in game development or CS programs are isolated and pushed out by educators and peers)
Which means more marketing or press about game development as a career ignores women.
Which means many women seeking to become game developers don't know how or where to start, so they give up prematurely.
Which means fewer women see game development as a viable career.
Which means there's fewer women in game development.
Etc.

Or I guess you could just say women are not as interested in games cause that's just the way it is so why should anything change and- BLARGLASFDFGJ!!@KLJhglg#! is how this attitude always makes me feel.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


Can I just say that it really says something about the "Men are victims too!" crowd that this post was derailed into that discussion faster than it was derailed into a discussion of the newly announced ps4?

I'd have lost money on that bet, I think.
posted by jermsplan at 1:55 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


some super hot bikini models

If they're allowed to have their heads and limbs still attached, that's a step forward in the industry.
posted by gladly at 1:57 PM on February 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


On topic (so that I'm not helping any derail), as a 30ish man who's played video games his entirely life and recently has a wife and is contemplating a larger family: I would appreciate if women were given a larger role in game development because frankly I'm embarrassed by some of the games I play and many of the people I play with online anymore. I truly believe women's voices are badly needed to try and bring this thing (the video game industry) back from the brink of really bad decisions.
posted by jermsplan at 1:59 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:04 PM on February 21, 2013


Here's a tip to the head of Sony marketing: don't sign up for a press event as your top quarterly deliverable if it's based on something that engineering isn't shipping.
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


from a couple months ago - david gaider, the lead writer for dragon age, discusses why it's useful to have women involved in the game development process.
posted by nadawi at 2:22 PM on February 21, 2013


Goddamn it, you guys aren't even derailing about the right thing.
“When people ask me what feature I want in future consoles, my answer is always the same: emotion,” Cage said. (Never mind that “emotion” was explicitly advertised as a feature of the PlayStation 2—the PlayStation 2 is old, and therefore it is a shitbox of lies.) He then launched into a cretinous analysis of media history. Cage asked us to consider black-and-white silent films. Their images were indistinct, Cage noted, and the actors had to exaggerate their actions. These films struggled to convey emotion because the technology was just too darn limited. Cage argued that until the PS4, video games have been akin to those old worthless silent movies. But because the new box has a super-fast processor, games will finally be able to convey emotion.

On the big screen behind Cage, he illustrated his points with scenes from Edwin Porter’s 1903 silent film The Great Train Robbery, which is only one of the most important and influential motion pictures ever made. Touring the nation to sellout crowds for years, The Great Train Robbery introduced the concept of cross-cutting—in which the action on screen cuts back and forth between two scenes taking place at the same time, creating remarkable dramatic tension. So, to recap, Porter expanded the cinematic vocabulary in a way that forever affected the way we perceive moving images, and David Cage saw fit to look down his nose at him.
I hope I'm not the only person outraged by this horrendous revision of film history. David Cage can go fuck himself with a bag of rusty nails.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:18 PM on February 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


I personally know two women, former coworkers at one game development company, who are now producers at other major video game development companies (neither of which are directly related to Sony.)

I was wokring with a female software engineer at one point but she left our company to go on to greener shores.

And there have been some in art, IT, and marketing over the years.

That's not a lot of women, but it's not zero.
posted by Foosnark at 3:38 PM on February 21, 2013


If David Cage were a humble person with a deep respect for the history of narrative media, his games would not be nearly as interesting. I will take the next product of his overinflated ego over Blow's anodyne Myst remake any day.
posted by Pyry at 3:42 PM on February 21, 2013


If David Cage were a humble person with a deep respect for the history of narrative media, his games would not be nearly as interesting. I will take the next product of his overinflated ego over Blow's anodyne Myst remake any day.

I think JBlow's ego is pretty healthy, dude.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love to play a David Cage game half as interesting as Braid.
posted by straight at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2013


Hi! I'm a woman game developer on the art end.

I love playing games, but long ago I've given up on any multiplayer interaction that involves a lot of, well, interacting. Forget both genders, I don't know how guys manage to throw themselves into those pits full of violent language, sexual harassment, etc. I don't know why anyone would. Many online game environments are beyond hostile, and it's not worthy my time (or the time of my gaming female friends) to put up with such bullshit. So a lot of "hardcore" gamer guys never run into us and think we don't exist. But the thing is, I want to play FPS/RTS games with other people. I quite like them, and I'd love to join an actual voicechat session that doesn't involve immediate derogatory remarks. I'm just not going to risk it going south, again and again and again.

Secondly, the industry itself has a lot of toxic elements that prevent moving upwards unless you have no life outside the studio. Most game development is done by 20-somethings who live and breathe this stuff, and are happy to be run over by management because they're finally "in the industry." They're rockstars, and they pay heavily for it. I've finally found myself in a decent studio that cares about whether they're burning out their people or not, and this is after some 8 years of working. If you're starting a family, or to be more specific if you're a woman and you're going to be starting a family and raising a child, you're not going to find your way back to the top until all that "junk" is behind you. Even then, you'll start from the bottom again. You're out of the loop for a few years and your knowledge isn't relevant.

It's not getting better any time soon, there's no sign of stability. Not when more and more projects are getting outsourced overseas, everyone moves from salaried to hourly, etc. So it's tough, but us girls are working just as hard. We show up because we love this stuff too. I just want that to be possible without the crazy pace this industry is going at.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 4:04 PM on February 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


Do you know how that compares to other entertainment industries? That is, how much of this instability do you think is due to the fact that entertainment is risky (people have fickle tastes, predicting what will be popular is very hard), and how much do you think is a cultural thing specific to game development?
posted by Pyry at 4:11 PM on February 21, 2013


misses the Point that Millions of Hours of Human Potential will be destroyed by yet another "awesome" addictive Toy

Video games make people happy. Toys make people happy. If you have a problem with games because people aren't 'being productive', then you have a problem with all entertainment. And, if that's the case, I'm really glad I don't live your life.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:15 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Do you know how that compares to other entertainment industries? That is, how much of this instability do you think is due to the fact that entertainment is risky (people have fickle tastes, predicting what will be popular is very hard), and how much do you think is a cultural thing specific to game development?

I've had a glimpse into movie production, working for several years in a small company that bigger studios outsourced to. Game development seems to move a lot faster from what I could tell - it's only the largest names that get to spend a year or more on a single title. Most games I've worked on finish development in 6 months or less, and then you're out while a core group of programmers bugfix and release patches. If you're lucky you get rolled over onto another project and the cycle starts again, but I suppose that's all very similar. The only real difference is that timeframe.

The entertainment industry as a whole is still in a very shitty place, and as an artist it sucks no matter what end of it you work in. There are very few regulations in place to make sure you don't burn out in 5 years.

I will say though, as time goes on (and as I find myself in different companies) I've noticed the general misogyny and sly sexual harassment in game studios decrease a lot. I'm sure there are still a lot of bad bubbles out there, but at least I feel confident about this trend. I think everyone is starting to realize this shit flies less and less in work environments.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 4:29 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


But the thing is, I want to play FPS/RTS games with other people. I quite like them, and I'd love to join an actual voicechat session that doesn't involve immediate derogatory remarks. I'm just not going to risk it going south, again and again and again.
Obligatory link to MeFight Club, a metafilter offshoot for gamers. AFAIK the FPS crowd still plays a ton of TF2, the minecraft people craft mines, and so on. I mostly just post on the forums? Although I've definitely played games with MFC people, and actually pretty regularly hang out IRL with a couple met through it.

MFC is an example of how people create their own fix for the "online gaming is a cesspit" problem: we all make our own little communities where we don't have to put up with the bullshit. And yeah, it's nice to be able to talk to people and mention the funny thing my boyfriend is doing (or whatever) without a chorus of gasps and spluttered epithets, or the low-grade demoralizing "ha ha aren't gays/women/people of color just big ol' jokes" culture that's so common.

Just wanted to mention you're not alone and that there are many little walled gardens of civility and respect in the gaming world.

ps, thanks for posting! Insider perspectives are always awesome.
posted by kavasa at 5:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sony particularly sucks at this, agreed. The other companies may not have had a lot of women at their press conferences, either, but Sony's glass ceiling is definitely the thickest.

I'm normally not a Nintendo fan--we've always preferred first the Sega Genesis/Dreamcast consoles and then the Xbox--but I have to give huge props to Nintendo on this, because in the three major events I went to as a press-type person involving gaming-related stuff (PAX and a couple conferences), Nintendo had the most diverse group of people talking up their products, demoing and playing their games. etc. At least half of them were women, and they certainly weren't tokens put up to impress us--they clearly knew their stuff.

And they totally beat me at two out of three of the games they demoed for the Wii, too (I rocked the penguin one).

We pretty much only own a Wii because, as a woman and a casual gamer, I wanted to support Nintendo for their efforts toward inclusiveness.
posted by misha at 5:26 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


The stat that 47% of women are gamers is off in this case because it counts casual gamers (browser games, Farmville, etc.) At game companies, people are much more into games, into more intense games, and play more games -- all majority male areas right now.

Look at game companies that make casual games and you do see more women, which makes sense.
posted by michaelh at 5:26 PM on February 21, 2013


The stat that 47% of women are gamers is off in this case because it counts casual gamers (browser games, Farmville, etc.)

The only reason that is "off" is because casual games get discounted because women play them. It's certainly not because they're not profitable, popular, and a massively growing segment of the market.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:37 PM on February 21, 2013 [24 favorites]


i'm one of the 100 best chime players in the world. ain't nothing casual about that.
posted by nadawi at 5:42 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


If David Cage were a humble person with a deep respect for the history of narrative media, his games would not be nearly as interesting. I will take the next product of his overinflated ego over Blow's anodyne Myst remake any day.

ANODYNE? Did you SEE that trailer for The Witness? Blow has proven himself capable of brilliant puzzle design, and here he's working with one of the original Myst people, an ex-Ubisoft art director, and a bunch of other incredible people, and that island looks so viscerally tempting I can't stand it. I dunno the last time I saw a world as wanderable as that.

Heavy Rain was a neat demo that sucked as a game. The big reveal was awful, the mechanics were slow and clunky, and the constant fetishization of its female characters (ugh that shower scene) suggest that to Cage, "emotion" has less to do with gameplay than it has to do with better tits, ass, and gunplay. Heavy Rain is the VG equivalent of a Michael Bay movie. Braid, meanwhile, had some major issues with its storytelling, but as a game it was one of the most enchanting experiences I've ever had. If anybody'll do Myst one better, it's Jonathan Blow.

(Though it's worth pointing out that the woman-to-man ratio on his dev team is something like one to five. Sighhhh.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:53 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


For all it's faults, Heavy Rain really isn't the VG equivalent of a Michael Bay movie. I'm not sure what is...Gears of War, maybe?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:29 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"At game companies, people are much more into games, into more intense games, and play more games"

Citations, please? I would like to know, particularly, how "being into games", and "intensity" of games have been quantified.
posted by gingerest at 6:42 PM on February 21, 2013


Yes, 47% of gamers are women. At least, per a fantastic lecture I recently attended given by the brilliant Jane McGonigal. But as she herself stated, that's a very recent uptick (relatively speaking). The numbers have never been anywhere like that before. Is it so hard to believe there's going to be a certain lag time before women are giving the latest Playstation presentations? Folks who've grown up with the instant feedback loop of the internet their entire lives (and the sense of immediate entitlement to all things that it fosters) seem to assume that if something doesn't happen INSTANTLY, it's evidence of evil and oppression. Gimme a break. Have a little patience. The numbers suggest this is at least one fight that's being won.
posted by azaner at 6:53 PM on February 21, 2013


ANODYNE? Did you SEE that trailer for The Witness?

Yes, it looks like Myst with all the edges rounded off and with Masyu puzzles inserted everywhere (was he unable to get the rights to Sudoku?).

Braid, meanwhile, had some major issues with its storytelling, but as a game it was one of the most enchanting experiences I've ever had.

The best part about Braid was the art, and that was David Hellman's work, and, honestly, I would have preferred more A Lesson is Learned [...] strips over Braid. In all other respects Braid was a bog-standard, albeit very polished, indie platformer.

On the other hand, Cage's games aren't good, but they're weirdly idiosyncratic in a way that makes them interesting.
posted by Pyry at 7:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Video games make people happy. Toys make people happy. If you have a problem with games because people aren't 'being productive', then you have a problem with all entertainment. And, if that's the case, I'm really glad I don't live your life.

I don't think the way to debate a strawman is to setup an even larger humanoid figure filled with dried cereal stalks. Somewhere along the line when games started going from a toy into an industry, they've picked up certain practices from gambling and behavioral science that are not designed to make people have fun, but to get them to keep playing or spending.

Now, the original person that made the comment about the "addictive toy" misses the point. Lack of women in the game industry is a real problem, and it's not like people can't acknowledge that both issues exist.
posted by FJT at 7:51 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that somehow, "casual" games will often get defined to be "things women play" and "hardcore" games are "things women don't play."
geekfeminism article about this behavior from 2009.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:04 PM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


The stat that 47% of women are gamers is off in this case because it counts casual gamers (browser games, Farmville, etc.) At game companies, people are much more into games, into more intense games, and play more games -- all majority male areas right now.

Do you also consider statistics for male gamers off because they include casual gamers who only play the latest Call of Duty/FIFA?
posted by ersatz at 8:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


In all other respects Braid was a bog-standard, albeit very polished, indie platformer.

Except that it's not a platformer. It's not about reflexes and jumping skill at all. It's a puzzle game.

Blow's been tight-lipped about the mechanics of the Witness, but from the hints he's dropped, the puzzle-tablet things seem more likely a way of demonstrating that you've figured out some pattern or puzzle in the environment than simply a crossword puzzle you do to open the next door.
posted by straight at 9:04 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do you also consider statistics for male gamers off because they include casual gamers who only play the latest Call of Duty/FIFA?

I'm not this person, but probably not because in this case the Playstation 4 announcement is being discussed and Call of Duty/Fifa are both Playstation games.
posted by Winnemac at 9:31 PM on February 21, 2013


Do you also consider statistics for male gamers off because they include casual gamers who only play the latest Call of Duty/FIFA?

Hey now, by this point I've probably got 60 hours invested in FIFA 13, so I think that's a little more than "casual"...
posted by asterix at 11:50 PM on February 21, 2013


Women 'casual' gamers often spend a *lot* of time on games. Sometimes these are games that weren't considered casual before. Puzzle Bobble is an arcade classic but Bubble Safari or Bubble Witch Saga are casual games; gamers get an aneurysm over Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert asking for money for a new adventure game, but escape-the-room or find-the-object are casual games; Harvest Moon or SimWhatever are simulation classics but Farmville scratches a casual itch. Now don't get me wrong: Mechanics like wait (or-pay)-to-play or spamming other people are odious, but I know plenty of people waking up in the dead of the night to water their plants coordinate a raid when their spaceships have been built and no one calls these games casual. Personally speaking, I have a soft spot for rpgs, I've met a lot of women who share that and I don't see why someone's passion ought to be accepted or discounted according to their genre. That's unacceptable in the 21st century.
posted by ersatz at 6:14 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


By the way, football games can be technically demanding, but it's not as if certain puzzle games are easy either.
posted by ersatz at 6:29 AM on February 22, 2013


We pretty much only own a Wii because, as a woman and a casual gamer, I wanted to support Nintendo for their efforts toward inclusiveness.

Huh... the main thing I remember from recent Nintendo events is 3DSs or Wii Us literally chained to models. Felt super creepy.
posted by kmz at 6:36 AM on February 22, 2013


Honest question: is it a problem that there are no female baseball or football players?

The problem is that their existence is ignored. *raises hand* I played baseball as a kid. BASEball. Not softball. (Btw, damn I get sick of having to point out that I know of what I speak because of the mere fact that I have a vagina. If I were a man and said I played "baseball", no one would chuckle paternally and singsong at me with "don't you mean softball, hon?" Effin' eff.) I still throw better than most men. Make a point to put the ball really, really far with the ones who say women can't throw. Hot damn. I always let them throw first. "Be sure you put all your strength into it, don't worry about my ego," I say. Then they throw, some give me helpful "here honey let me show you a better way than you learned" tips, then they STFU forevermore as soon as the ball has left my hand and they realize I've just kicked their ass and could have given them lessons, if they'd had a mind open enough to that possibility.

Indeed, sometimes I wonder why people who go the "men this, wimminz that" route actually believe their spiel about men supposedly being more competitive, because you'd think that if they were as superior in competition as they claim, they would realize that bluster and bragging are, like, the easiest way to out yourself as incompetent the very first second you're set in front of anyone of the group you're deriding who can do anything you so loudly claim they can't.

There are also plenty of women football players, though yes, they are not given the same opportunities because of the problem which is being addressed by many participants in the discussion in this thread (sexism). I was told I wouldn't be allowed to play baseball any more on school teams once I hit adolescence. That opportunity was shut off from me, it was not a choice of my own. I still played baseball with friends. Still have my gloves and a few old balls, and new ones to practice with. But I'll never be able to play professionally, no, because I was not allowed to even join school teams after a certain age.

This has direct parallels in the business world.
posted by fraula at 6:58 AM on February 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Personally speaking, I have a soft spot for rpgs, I've met a lot of women who share that and I don't see why someone's passion ought to be accepted or discounted according to their genre.

I meant according to their gender, sorry.
posted by ersatz at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2013


We pretty much only own a Wii because, as a woman and a casual gamer, I wanted to support Nintendo for their efforts toward inclusiveness.

kmz: Huh... the main thing I remember from recent Nintendo events is 3DSs or Wii Us literally chained to models. Felt super creepy."

I think you maybe are referring to E3 back in 2010, when Nintendo had the models wearing belts so that people could access the 3DS prototypes without any of them getting "lost"? That's how that started, anyway, though I think they kept it up because it worked for them.

And yeah, it is a little strange!
posted by misha at 9:33 AM on February 22, 2013


The only reason that is "off" is because casual games get discounted because women play them. It's certainly not because they're not profitable, popular, and a massively growing segment of the market.

Sorry, but that's completely made up. Casuals were casual back before anyone knew a lot of women played games.
posted by michaelh at 6:57 PM on February 24, 2013


Nope. Your assumptions are wrong.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:09 PM on February 24, 2013


Please cite. I've been following gaming news and stats for quite awhile.
posted by michaelh at 9:49 PM on February 24, 2013


“When people ask me what feature I want in future consoles, my answer is always the same: emotion,”

LOL.
posted by JHarris at 10:51 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"One big factor to be untapped up to now is 'emotion'. PlayStation 2 looks as though it could have this covered, but we'll have to wait and see." -- Peter Molyneux, 1999.

"I was interested to hear that Sony is to use 'Emotion Synthesis', which focuses particularly not just on how images look, but how in-game characters think, act and behave" -- also Peter Molyneux in 1999.

"I was interested to hear that Sega is to use 'Blast Processing', which focuses particularly not just on how images look, but on how they are blasted through the processor" -- Old Man Murray imagining something Peter Molyneux probably said in 1991.
posted by straight at 8:18 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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