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Female Heros “Less Profitable” Because Publishers Aren’t Giving Them a Chance

By Jon Ireson in Opinion Pieces

According to a new statistic released today by video game researchers, studies have been used to show that female characters in video games serving as the main character provide less profit to publishers than male character driven games such as Halo or Gears.

After the explosive success of the latest Tomb Raider title by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix it is almost negligent for researchers to continue this line of thinking when these same studies have also revealed that female characters receive less than half the funding for advertisement as their male companions on the average game release.

The success of breakaway title Mirror’s Edge is also pointed to as a strong source of inspiration for the gaming community as the upcoming title Remember Me is being chosen for debate amongst fans and speculators who may be considering things from the investment side of things.

If you aren’t giving a game the proper investment, nobody will know it exists. Tomb Raider was successful because it’s a great game, but it’s also successful because of a never-ending rainstorm of news, impressions, and videos that were positively reinforcing the fact that the game was good to consumers leading up to and post-launch release date. As mentioned earlier, Halo is one game that does some of the most notable launch week sales numbers in the industry meanwhile Halo 3 received $55 Million in advertising funds to help propel it to where it is today. Games featuring females are largely not getting investments anywhere near the titles that feature male protagonists meaning they are never really given a chance to do big sales in the first place. And publishers know it.

However, we feel the need as gamers to urge developers and publishers that female protagonists in games are worth investing in. Games should always be judged by their gameplay and fun factor, and not by their fashion statement. The marketability of gaming may have become mainstream as an overall business, however the titles in question such as Remember Me are not depending on market trends and shouldn’t have funding subject to it. Some of the most innovative titles in terms of gameplay include Mirror’s Edge by DICE and the Mass Effect series by Bioware feature the ability to play as a female and yet experience the latest gaming technology has to offer.

There’s also no need to release studies trying to convince us that it is financially unstable for gaming publishers with mammoth millions to invest the same in a female character-based game as they do a male. How many games released in the past console generation that were hyped to launch only to never be heard from again and become abandoned when early Reviews and Impressions came from the media and real, live gaming communities alike unleashed their findings that these games were just as mediocre and generic as their competitors, or worse the times when a game was not even worthy of being mentioned by gamers much less criticized.

Instead of conforming to a reality that was caused by lack of funding, poor decisions, random bad luck or timing, and a number of many other various factors contributing to low sales, let’s not blame it on the entire female gender further alienating one of the largest demographics in the industry. Investment and the goal of any game featuring a female protagonist should in fact be that their title will be the game that breaks the mold for the female hero. We are highly anticipating the release of Remember Me and you can read our Tomb Raider Review here if you want to see how we feel about the results of females in the game industry. In short, less complaining researchers and publishers and more groundbreaking gameplay and investment in awareness advertising for genuinely good games.

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