[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: EmergentBehaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Michael Sellers mike at onlinealchemy.com
Wed Sep 14 15:48:35 CEST 2005

Sean Howard wrote:

> ... Gender is no more important to marketing than whether you
> listen to your iPod, and as far as why people play games and
> should play games, is even less important.

> Bold Statement: Gender has no purpose in any discussion about
> videogames, except for discussions about why this is the
> case. Girls play for the exact same reason boys play, and
> marketing to girls is no different than marketing to boys.

Bold, but once again inconsistent with reality.

Boys in the west, especially the US, over the age of about seven
(and probably younger than that) respond to media differently than
do girls.  Over the age of about twelve these differences become
more pronounced.  By late teens/early twenties, the effect appears
to maximize.  By the early thirties, gender effects are still
present in how men and women respond to media and marketing, but
other more common effects (family, career, etc.)  begin to rise.

Overall, males (again, in the US at least) respond more readily and
more positively to themes of achievement and direct conflict than do
females.  Girls and women respond more negatively to themes of
aggression and more positively to themes of positive relationship or
resolution of tension in relationships.  Males respond more
positively to overt sexuality than do women.  Males and females
respond differently to various forms and indicators of acquisition
and material possession, though this area is often not as clear-cut
as the others.

There are many ways in which both genders subdivide as well, for
example in terms of early vs. late adoption of marketing themes.
But within these groups, there are persistent and consistent
differences in response according to gender.

Given this, it's irrelevant whether these differences arise from
biology or culture (though clearly both play a part).  These are the
marketing conditions that any commercial game developer needs to be
thinking about.

> ... You can make ANYBODY buy ANYTHING, so there's really nothing
> we can take away from successful marketing other than
> manipulation.

And yet, "anybody" doesn't buy "anything."  Men buy homes, cars,
computers, TVs, movies, clothes, food, beer, and even games
differently than women do.  What sells easily to young single men is
not bought as readily by older married men -- much less older
married women.  Saying "you can make ANYBODY buy ANYTHING" is true
but facile: it's like saying you can program anything you can
imagine.  Theoretically true, but it glosses over many of the
troublesome realities that tend to get in the way of actually doing

Mike Sellers
MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the mud-dev-archive mailing list