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Mar 03, 2004

Comments

1.

Richard wrote:

"And if there were an award for "best player of a virtual world", what criteria could be used to determine a winner?"


If social-play (whether cooperative or competative) is the defining feature of MMOGs... why not a something from along these lines. E.g. how many MMOG players will vote for you in some uber cyber popularity contest?

I thought i recall reading that A Tale in the Desert had some sort of test based on N in-game folk not stealing stuff from your locker or some such... sort of the same theme: if folk trust/like/respect/... you in a VW - that counts for something.

-nathan

2.

Nathan wrote:

"If social-play (whether cooperative or competative) is the defining feature of MMOGs... why not a something from along these lines. E.g. how many MMOG players will vote for you in some uber cyber popularity contest?"

I wouldn't go the popularity contest route - I'd look to awards for guild leaders. In my experience surprisingly large number of these turn out to be older women, and not just in so-called "family" guilds, but also in many of what I think of as "midlevel" guilds -- those that are actively moving through the guild content offered by the game, but not at the absolute cutting edge. There would have to be multiple awards in various categories of course - a single award per game would go to the leaders of the powergamer guilds. (Not that I have any problems with these guilds, just that the point is to attract people less likely to be powergamers).

Indeed, I expect they would attract more women if they added a conference type component to the event. I am imagining round tables on guild leadership strategies and such things. Forgive the analogy, but the sort of a cross between a sorority convention (they involve leadership seminars and such) and a game neutral fan faire.

3.

Nicole Wyatt>I expect they would attract more women if they added a conference type component to the event

They might get some of the older male gamers that way, too. It wouldn't make good television, of course, but it would give them the more balanced profile they seek.

One thing I always find depressing is that no matter how much a TV show professes to aim for the broader range of players, they always seem to end up being presented by presenters in their early 20s who talk nothing but console games. If they manage to find a female player, she'll either be from somewhere other than the UK or she'll dress like an early 80s tail-end punk, or both.

This is in the UK, though; other countries may be different. Come to that, I know they're different because I was interviewed by Swedish TV for a feature on one of their games programmes at the end of last year. I'm not convinced that the BBC even knows that virtual worlds exist any more.

Richard

4.

Richard> As the Terra Nova angle on this, is this kind of "balancing" a good idea or simply patronising?

I often wonder about that. I haven't read very much on gaming and gender issues. This list looks like it would be a good place to start...
http://www.game-culture.com/articles.html#wom
IGDA has a women game dev SIG:
http://www.igda.org/women/ and Jason Della Rocca has posts on this topic pretty frequently.

Women-Dev Archives here.

My *uneducated* reaction is that there's a chicken v. egg issue here... obviously the face of gaming is male, the game designers are mostly male too, and if you read any issue of PC Gamer, the demographics are obvious. I think there are obvious business reasons to change that. The change can't just be about marketing, though, it probably has to go deeper than that...

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