Video Games May Always Be A Male-Centric Hobby
As always, a necessary disclaimer before I begin:
In no way is this article meant to be sexist. It is merely a series of observations and nothing more.
Now, while some statistics will have you believe that half of all gamers are female, those who play on a frequent basis know the truth of the matter. Those stats typically include anything that can be called a "video game," including apps, Solitaire on the computer, etc. If you hang around your local GameStop for an hour and count up the customers, you'll find that the ratio of men to women is still about 10 to 1, if not higher in favor of the males. The women buying for their boyfriends or husband don't count.
That isn't to say that more women aren't playing games, because clearly, they are. However, I think gaming may always be more appealing to males, simply due to the interactive nature of the hobby. It has nothing to do with reactions or chemical superiority or anything like that; it's merely a chemical difference. There are those out there who desperately try to prove there's no difference at all between men and women, which I deem entirely absurd; those differences are what make life worth living, damnit. If we were all the same, I'd be so bored I'd be suicidal.
But anyway, the point is this- If we are interacting with something, we're making things happen. In turn, those events need to be interesting enough to hold our attention. It's a proactive thing; there's very little passivity involved. So in other words, a game about gardening that has you press a few buttons wouldn't be all that popular, even among avid gardeners. Why emulate that hobby when it's vastly more entertaining in reality? The point of gaming is to be involved in a fantasy, in that which we can't do in reality, and yeah, that usually includes a lot of impossible action.
And in turn, action tends to appeal mostly to males. In the world of movies, the entire hobby is 100% passive. And that's why a sappy romance could do as well at the box office as a blockbuster action flick. Think about turning the action movie and the romance story into video games...even those more interested in the romance wouldn't really care about pressing a button to control a slow dance or a kiss, would they? On the flip side, controlling the crazy action - which of course, none of us could ever do in real life - might seem like fun. It's just a matter of what humans generally find entertaining and fascinating.
Obviously, you'd say this argument falls apart if women are just as interested as men in action and adventure-related stuff. ...but you can't say that, because of course, it isn't true. It's just not the way we're made. There are some women out there who prefer the action but the majority...? Never. And as long as interactive entertainment remains focused on the totally unfeasible fantasies, and so long as those fantasies involve traditionally "guy" stuff, gaming will always be dominated by men.
I hope readers understand what I'm getting at here. I really don't need a bunch of hate mail from people who didn't read a word beyond the headline...that bugs the snot out of me. But I'm always interested to hear intelligent feedback from those who read the piece and are civil-minded. Thanks. :)
3/25/2012 9:14:48 PM Ben Dutka