some research on girls and gaming

Sheri Graner Ray of Sirenia Software, Inc;

When designing games for the girls market you should take into consideration some of the basic “differences” in males and females. Some of the big ones I use are: Stimulation, Conflict Resolution, Reward, and Learning Style

(WARNING – broad population generalities being talked about here. Obviously not every one fits into these categories)

Stimulation:

  • Males are visually stimulated meaning when given a visual stimulus they will experience a physiological response: increased heart rate, increased respiration, increased perspiration.
  • Females, while appreciating visual stimuli, do not experience the same physiological response. They react physiologically to tactile input and emotional input.

Conflict Resolution:

  • Males will choose to resolve conflict in a head-to-head confrontation manner; pushing for a win/lose situation. The “victory” is what is important.
  • Females will chose a non-confrontation method to resolve the conflict. This may include negotiation, compromise, diplomacy and manipulation. They will take their opponents feelings into consideration.

Reward:

  • Males will accept the physiological “rush” of the visual stimulus as the reward. They want the “victory.”
  • Females want an “emotional resolution” but do not necessarily require a “victory.”

Learning style:

  • Men learn by doing.

And some general market research

  • Research on girls’ experiences with technology, and their feelings about computer games, has yielded the following findings. Young girls dislike intense competition, and find typical computer games to be boring.
  • Some studies found that girls dislike violent and aggressive game themes, while other studies show that girls are simply bored by violent games due to their repetitious nature.
  • Girls reportedly complain about the lack of game characters they can identify with, and the lack of story or narrative.
  • On the basis of findings such as these, researchers hypothesize that girls enjoy games that include many different activities, social interaction on the screen and between players, challenges, group problem-solving and cooperation, and realistic game settings as opposed to fantasy settings.
  • Females want to know how it works before trying it.
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