1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Women in fantasy

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Chilari, Mar 10, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    1,908
    585
    113
    In that case, should the expectation in games be laid on the smaller companies? They Bleed Pixels, for instance, seems to be selling well relative to its budget.

    Then again, there's currently a lot of noise over whether The Last of Us features strong women. If it does, that's a game from a major publisher that set sales records. And while the Tomb Raider reboot didn't sell as much as the publisher expected, it did sell quite well by the developer's standards.*

    * I know some people think the recent Tomb Raider didn't have a "strong" protagonist, but I think she's a pretty good character, all in all. I'll avoid getting into that for now lest we get sidetracked.
     
  2. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

    1,430
    184
    63
    I usually make characters based off my characters in games where I get to design them, so I am one of those males playing female toons.

    Couple things to respond to here, but I'll just focus on one. Gaming is getting better. The rise of the indies is affecting gaming just like it has been affecting books. I am very hopeful for the future of gaming and think that if people have ideas they want to float that there IS a venue for them now even if they are not popular ideas.
     
    Devor likes this.
  3. saellys

    saellys Inkling

    477
    107
    43
    I read a figure last night (in an actual paper magazine article, or else I would link it) that said that even after games with female protagonists get greenlighted, they receive just 40% of the marketing money male-led games get. How in the world are games with woman protagonists supposed to reach the maximum audience if, even after they're produced, they have to get by with less than half of the marketing potential?

    I honestly wasn't even thinking of MMOs or character-customizing RPGs when I mentioned female protagonists, but all the posts since then that have mentioned them make me really happy. I enjoy playing about a fifty-fifty mix of male and female characters, and really like it when I can have a completely different physical appearance, like in LotRO where I can play a hobbit or dwarf.

    One of my male friends was in a LotRO kinship where everyone had to play an opposite-gender character, in fact. So all snarkiness aside, plenty of men don't just play female toons so they can stare at her rear.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,739
    3,227
    313
    I don't know your source, and I don't come by a lot of gaming statistics, but my first impression is that 40% seems high, and I wonder if it isolates other factors, like new brands vs. established brands, or genre. That is, a lot of games may be all male, but they're established brands, which might throw off the numbers (that women aren't the leads in established brands would be a slightly different problem than to blame the marketing budgets). If a lot of female leads are in games that are based on movies, they might rely on the movie to promote the brand and skew the numbers further.

    Marketing budgets - if we're talking about advertising - also get over-emphasized and mostly make their impact in the short-run. Promotions get a game to sell the first week or two, but it's reviews and buzz that get people to buy it later on. I find it hard to accept that a good game with female leads just won't do well because of a marketing budget.

    Then there's another thing: The "bar" a game has to meet might not be a comparison to other games. A game with a female lead, to get a sequel, just needs to do better than expected to show game designers the potential and to grab a bigger corresponding budget in the sequel. The budgeting, even the development budget, is an issue that a game can get past in the long run.

    Honestly, I don't mean to say all that much. I only mean that the industry isn't necessarily acting in a way that's counter to the way they'd be expected to act based on market forces.

    If you want to see more games target women, and to do so by incorporating female leads, then instead of complaining and demonizing, the solution is to find ways to change the market forces: Find the games which do the things you like, and get more people to play them.
     
  5. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    1,908
    585
    113
    The likely source of the statistic.

    And how exactly is a game that no one's heard of going to get any buzz? (Beyond Good and Evil is the quintessential example here--it's a cult classic, but not enough people heard of it for it to make much money at the initial time of release.)
     
    saellys likes this.
  6. saellys

    saellys Inkling

    477
    107
    43
    As I mentioned earlier, I don't want to see more games target a female audience by incorporating female leads. I just want to see them incorporating female leads. No ulterior motives--just more games with girls carrying them.

    I get the "stop complaining and do something about it" admonishment a lot in these situations, so I want to make something really clear to you. I do spread the word about the games I love to everyone I know. Every single girl gamer I know does this, because we already know that's the only way underpromoted games get any support, and when we find one that truly Does It Right, we want other girl gamers to have the same fabulous experience we did. It's how I found out about Gone Home (woohoo, this week!) in the first place. It's not an either/or situation.

    When I point out things that are broken, like how the industry treats female led games, or how I bought Torchlight because it had fabulous reviews and then found out that my only option for a female playable character involves a leather bikini, and my first armor upgrade covers her midriff but the second bares it again, that is not demonizing, or setting back progress, or in any way hindering my evangelism of games that do things right. It's pointing out things that are broken.

    It may irritate you and everyone else who thinks the status quo is a-okay (which is what you're saying when you tell me the creative choices of the gaming industry correspond to the market forces, because that is not an argument to support preserving everything as-is at an institutional level that I've seen literally a hundred times or anything), but fortunately it doesn't mean I have to stop pointing it out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,211
    3,527
    413
    The general response is often "You're criticizing something I like, and therefore I'm going to be defensive whether you have a point or not."

    It's like sports teams. I like the Raiders. They've sucked in recent years. If someone talks about how they suck, I might defend them, but deep down I know they do suck :)
     
  8. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    2,888
    450
    83
    I think what Devor was trying to say is that these companies aren't motivated by any guiding philosophy or a vague desire to put down women. They're motivated by greed, pure and simple. They want to make money. And you can only ever reasonably expect them to do what they think will make them money. The fact of the matter is they're not going to change the status quo because people, even a large number of people, say it's the right thing to do. They don't care. Because the status quo is what's raking in the dollars. If you want them to change the status quo, it needs to be profitable for them to do so. I.e. the status quo has to stop making money, and the changes you want made have to be proven more profitable. I don't think Devor wants to "preserve the status quo". He's just telling you why it is what it is. And to that extent, I agree with him. You have about jack squat chance of influencing the directions of mega-corporations directly. But that doesn't mean your complaining is entirely in vain. If you and others like you can "convert" enough people to your perspective and convince them to forego video games that fail your standards while buying those that meet them, you can become the sort of market force that does get the attentions of corporations... eventually.

    So really, it's not the corporations you should be worried about contending with. It's the fanbase that buys the games. As far as changing that goes, you have two options: either you can try to "assimilate" as many people already within the fanbase as possible, or you can try to bring people who are already pre-disposed to agree with you into the fanbase from outside it. Either way there's bound to be tons of internet flamewars, but I think the latter might be a more successful approach. There's already an influx of so-called "casuals" and new gamers changing the state of the industry. (The Xbox One, for all the hoopla surrounding it, is evidence that the big corporations are looking to expand their demographic appeal, which bodes well for you.) All you have to do is see that a large number of this target audience agrees with you strongly enough to stick to principle instead of just buying the hot new releases anyway.
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,739
    3,227
    313
    So, you're saying it couldn't possibly just be a difference of opinion? That's absurd.
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,211
    3,527
    413
    You may not have noticed the word 'often,' Devor, but it has a meaning. When I post on a writing site I anticipate a certain facility in both the reading and writing of the written word. If you don't bring that to the table, maybe my posts aren't for you.
     
  11. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    1,945
    1,098
    163
    Now, you two boys better not make me pull over this website! Keep it up and we're not stopping at McDonalds for ice cream cones on the way home. *stern face*
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,739
    3,227
    313
    There are a great many people who would say that the game industry - or any other industry - should do some really crazy stuff. I've heard it. At least if they're listening to market pressure, large varieties of games will occur.

    I don't want them to listen to people like you and me complaining about things. I want them listening to market pressures.

    This might be surprising, but I've been trying to help you. If you're talking about game companies and publishing companies being jackasses, you're not going to get the large swath of people who don't see it that way to agree with you. It's a bad message to push, and not because people are jerks to ignore it.

    If you want to change market pressures, you'll do better by dropping some of the negative messaging. From a PR-perspective, it makes your movement look like it's chasing ghosts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  13. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,739
    3,227
    313
    I did notice the word often. I also noticed the fallacious attack. Why does it become necessary for you to dismiss opposing viewpoints out of hand?
     
  14. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

    3,030
    463
    83
    I still want to see this research stating that "women don't like other women" as a reason to not put women on games. I'm intrigued.
     
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,739
    3,227
    313
    As a rule I don't like to Google to make a point, and I sometimes fall back on things I recall from Consumer Behavior, even though I don't have those materials on hand anymore. My only point was that female protagonists don't necessarily draw a larger female audience, and I'll stand by that point regardless of how many or how few women sometimes don't like other women.

    I also want to reiterate that I didn't characterize it in any way, or intend to make it a very sweeping statement. Some portion of women aren't interested in games or shows or books about other women. That's all I intended to say.
     
  16. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    1,908
    585
    113
    Since it keeps coming up, I'd like a little more proof of the statement that games companies do what will make a profit. It's a well-known and well-documented failure in Hollywood (discussed at length by Moviebob, among others) that movie producers often don't do what will make a profit, but what they can make excuses for if it doesn't make a profit. ("Movie A had all these traits and made a lot of money. Movie B had the same traits, so I don't know why it didn't make as much money. Therefore, I should be allowed to keep my job.") At least some companies, most obviously Activision, put out their games in ways that would seem to match the I-should-keep-my-job pattern. (For instance, I don't know of anyone high-level being fired when Activision milked the Guitar Hero brand so much and so thoroughly that people actually stopped buying it and the franchise died.)

    This might sound a little petty, but it determines the real reason there aren't many high-selling games with female protagonists. If the problem is genuinely that the masses aren't willing to buy diverse games, then this can only change if the audience changes. If the problem is that female protagonists don't fit the I-can-keep-my-job checklist, then the fix needs to come from within the industry.

    (To give a little more support for this: The Last of Us, while in what's typically considered a "guy" genre, was also intended to be a game women would buy. The devs had to specifically ask for women to be included in the focus tests, because the folks arranging the test just assumed men were the only target audience.)
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,211
    3,527
    413
    I think it is more of the latter.
     
  18. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

    3,452
    1,165
    163
    This thread has been putting people against each other for too long. The discussions go off topic very fast, the same topics are covered over and over again and, honestly, the thread should be dead and forgotten by now but people insist on bringing it back to life.

    Women in Fantasy has completed its original purpose. I am locking the thread now.
     
    Devora, A. E. Lowan and Ireth like this.
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page