Monday, March 2, 2009

Girls and Gaming in MMORPGs

This is probably not particularly shocking news to anyone experienced with the MMORPG genre, but a recent study has shown that of the hundreds of thousands of people who play Everquest 2, around 40% are women with part of the reason being that they're playing with their husbands or partners.

Guys have been trying to introduce their girlfriends to games for ages now though, so why the sudden success with the MMORPG genre? I'm going to make a couple of bold pronouncements here: first off, they require very little twitch gaming skill -- the kind of fast reaction-based gameplay that you see in games like shooters. This makes it very welcoming to people who don't usually play games and might otherwise be intimidated.

Second, there's a large focus on creating a character and an identity rather than just accomplishing a goal like destroying a tank. This ties into the other large factor, which is the fact that these games are inherently social. They require players to cooperate with one another in order to accomplish objectives, and very large social networks spring up that can eventually encompass dozens or hundreds of people who then often form guilds.

All these things allow for an environment where new gamers (of which many are women) can ease into an environment that isn't immediately overwhelming and also feels lively and social, whereas many might normally feel kind of isolated playing a game alone.


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