EEDAR Says the Chicks Are Alright

EEDAR Says the Chicks Are Alright

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A new study has found that more than half of all current-gen games feature playable female characters and that games with female leads actually earn higher average review scores than those with male leads.

We all know about the whole "lose the chick" business from a few weeks ago, when Activision was accused of mandating male-only lead characters in its videogames because the ladies just don't sell. There's no question that the industry has been dominated by male characters but the imbalance today may not be as great as generally perceived. According to new EEDAR research, 51 percent of games in the current console generation feature playable female characters.

The casual genre goes a long way toward keeping that figure high, with 80 percent of games in the genre featuring playable females, but the core genre does surprisingly well on its own: 46 percent of core games offer playable females as well.

The numbers are still heavily skewed toward males, with 90 percent of games across all genres featuring men in lead roles (ten percent were rated as "not discernible") but as EEDAR's Jesse Divnich pointed out, the relatively high rate of female representation "is an incredible accomplishment for our industry and reinforces our progress towards serving ever widening demographics."

Also of note is the fact that games with chick leads actually tend to review slightly higher than those featuring dudes. A look at the review scores of more than 910 core games found that games with female leads averaged a score of 67.88, compared to 65.78 for those with male leads. Games that offered a choice of gender averaged out a score of 67.21 points, while games without any discernible character genre managed only 59.86.

The differences in review scores are "insignificant," but that in itself is significant. As Divnich noted, "Console games over the last five years show no aggregate statistical evidence that indicates that gender selection (aside from having no gender at all) impacts quality scores."

Sales, of course, are harder to quantify and the exclusion of female characters tends to have no impact on the success of top-selling franchises like Madden, Mario and Call of Duty. "The factors that drive sales are based more on brand licensing, marketing budgets, development budget and a thousand other factors that have little to do with the gender of playable avatars," Divnich wrote. "But as gender relates to game quality, as long as consumers and media critics rate games purely on their inherent quality (and the data suggests they do), then our industry is progressing nicely."

Source: IndustryGamers

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Wait... Mario excludes female characters...?!

If it wasn't for Peach, Bowser would just sit around spanking the koopa shell, and Mario would just be hanging around in the sewers trying to figure out why the hell do all the pipes lead outside, instead of into it.

lol, the only female leads they'd want my bros are the ones that have boobs the size of melons my bros. respect our female bros, we need more than sexy fem fatale in vidya games my bros.

Well, that's good to know.

Also, just noticed a small mistake in the article.

Also of note is the fact that games with chick leads actually tend to review slightly higher than those featuring dudes. A look at the review scores of more than 910 core games found that games with female leads averaged a score of 67.88, compared to 65.78 for those with male leads. Games that offered a choice of gender averaged out a score of 67.21 points, while games without any discernible character genre managed only 59.86.

Should be "gender" there, rather than "genre", I think.

cursedseishi:
Wait... Mario excludes female characters...?!

If it wasn't for Peach, Bowser would just sit around spanking the koopa shell, and Mario would just be hanging around in the sewers trying to figure out why the hell do all the pipes lead outside, instead of into it.

It's talking about the gender of playable main characters, not side characters.

Thing is, there's a big difference between "playable females" and "playable female characters". It doesn't really count if you can just play as either male or female (Oblivion, Fallout 3) without having this choice actually matter on the game world.

The issue is not having female skin for your avatar, it's having believable female characters as those avatars.

ShadowKirby:
Thing is, there's a big difference between "playable females" and "playable female characters". It doesn't really count if you can just play as either male or female (Oblivion, Fallout 3) without having this choice actually matter on the game world.

The issue is not having female skin for your avatar, it's having believable female characters as those avatars.

Never win. Never be happy. Guess what male characters are just as 2D as female characters in those games. Kinda hard to call foul when you are getting the exact same treatment.

I usually play female characters when given the choice. The voice acting tends to be better. Example: Mass Effect. I usually find the male option gets too macho and silly.

squid5580:

ShadowKirby:
Thing is, there's a big difference between "playable females" and "playable female characters". It doesn't really count if you can just play as either male or female (Oblivion, Fallout 3) without having this choice actually matter on the game world.

The issue is not having female skin for your avatar, it's having believable female characters as those avatars.

Never win. Never be happy. Guess what male characters are just as 2D as female characters in those games. Kinda hard to call foul when you are getting the exact same treatment.

Yes but skewed views based purely on gender are okay when it is being done to men.

bojac6:
I usually play female characters when given the choice. The voice acting tends to be better. Example: Mass Effect. I usually find the male option gets too macho and silly.

that's why my mass effect guy looks both macho and silly. to match the voice.

Scarx:

bojac6:
I usually play female characters when given the choice. The voice acting tends to be better. Example: Mass Effect. I usually find the male option gets too macho and silly.

that's why my mass effect guy looks both macho and silly. to match the voice.

Well fair enough. And that is the beauty of Mass Effect, Shepherd is who you want Shepherd to be. I've always pictured Shepherd as suave, savvy and a tactician more than a straight up fighter, whether male or female. But there's really no reason Shepherd can't be Marcus Fenix, is there?

I don't know if you could make a completely incompetent Shepherd that stumbles along and gets lucky, though. I'm not sure that's an option. Basically, I'm picturing Shepherd played by Rick Moranis. While hilarious, not sure it would make for a fun game. Probably wise of Bioware for not allowing this.

ShadowKirby:
Thing is, there's a big difference between "playable females" and "playable female characters". It doesn't really count if you can just play as either male or female (Oblivion, Fallout 3) without having this choice actually matter on the game world.

The issue is not having female skin for your avatar, it's having believable female characters as those avatars.

As a woman who plays videogames, I'll take what I can get. The Bioware-style relationships, even if stilted, are kind of neat but not necessary, and if I had to contend with gender-politics all the time in a game - well, there's enough of that in real life, I don't mind a break :)

Dosnt surprise me...I mean, I tend to play a female in a game if I get chance more often than anything - For that same rule most guys do...heh

Unless its online, then I am male

Reminds me of one of those hilarious "hurr hurr girl gamer so sad no female leads" threads that was active a couple of weeks ago. This makes me laugh quite alot now.

Again, Tomb Raider.

Nine sequels, one remake. Sells very well. Rating ranges from "Excellent" to "Mediocre".

All feature a pleasant butt a female lead.

Liquidcathedral:
lol, the only female leads they'd want my bros are the ones that have boobs the size of melons my bros. respect our female bros, we need more than sexy fem fatale in vidya games my bros.

Cool Story, Bro.

Boobs help sales. Details at eleven.

Not really surprising. Having a female lead character, or even an optional female main character is seen as a risky proposition and the best games are the ones that take risks and try new things.

Not to nit pick, but this doesn't resolve the statement that games that have a main avatar that is female sell less than others on the AAA console market.

What is actually depressing is about 45% of games on the console allow you to play a female avatar, when you consider main of those games would be like Mass effect (and mass effect 2), Dragon age, fable, fallout 3 and saints row 2 (to name a few) where the main branded avatar is male but the game itself offers the options of creating a female character this figure is depressing, as I suspect if you where to compare female avatar only games versus male avatar only games the mix would be much lower.

That said most women I know who are interested in games are bored by high violent goal oriented games and tend to enjoy social or causal games more (and strangely Diablo) so maybe its just a case of market targeting.

Am I the only one that doesn't care what gender the protagonist is?

I only care that the game is good (and to a lesser degree that the protagonist is a good character that I enjoy playing as).

I have never bought a game based on who the protagonist was because usually I don't find out who they are until I actually play.

Also tomb raider doesn't count, cause we've all been seduced by her polygonal jubblies.

I wonder if there is another factor at work here.

"games with a playable female char sell better" or something like that seemed to be the point to me. Perhaps the real point is that better designed games with MORE choices (a male/female lead being an easy one) rate better.

Going back to the original doom - the choices were "shoot this mook with the pistol or the shotgun?". Dragon Age...well, I've been playing 44 hours according to steam and haven't even finished it once. Choices everywhere. The game would be just as good without the "female" option. Its not being able to play as female selling the game, the being able to play female is just a facet of the idea "give the players the choice"

 

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