Marketing in the video-game industry is just as imaginative and lucrative as practically any other form of advertising and although sex sells; does it really work? So many of today's top titles push the boundaries of sexism and despite creating both controversy and hype, it's an advertising method still deployed by many of the big PR companies.
Whether you're exploring dense jungles as Lara Croft or using stealth to tear apart your enemies in Hitman, both games have used controversial advertising campaigns based around female involvement, but is it fair to gamers of both sexes?
The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) published a report at the end of last year showing the current demographic of video-gamers based on their own facts and figures; and the results are surprising to say the least.
- The average gamer is 30 years old and has been playing for 12 years. Sixty-eight percent of gamers are 18 years of age or older.
- Forty-seven percent of all players are women, and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry's fastest growing demographics.
- Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).
- Sixty-two percent of gamers play games with others, either in-person or online. Seventy-eight percent of these gamers play with others at least one hour per week.
- Thirty-three percent of gamers play social games.
Based purely on the demographics I see used by the majority of gaming websites, and the gamers I know personally; I would never have guessed the female market to occupy such a large percent of gamers. Although surprising, these statistics don't offer enough incite into the gender appeal of specific games and franchises to warrant any severe changes, but it does make one wonder.
Entering the MMORPG space and Aeria Games recently announced the upcoming launch of their femme fatale MMORPG, Scarlet Blade. The game does boast some interesting features and mechanics but it does not take a genius to figure out that a large appeal to this game is the scantily dressed female characters. You've only got to Google the game name and check image search to find dozens of official images with an ass in full view, and the fan art is even more provocative will almost complete frontal nudity. But is it fair to female gamers?
Well as a guy, not only would I feel uncomfortable looking at game images with nothing but naked guys on it but I wouldn't really find the game very appealing to play either. Do female gamers feel the same? Are you tired of seeing such a sexist approach to marketing?
It could almost be forgiven if 99% of all gamers were 16-19, single and living at home, but as the ESA shows; that is no longer the case. I can't speak for the entire male population but I would like to think, with an average age of 30, we've all got past the drooling stage and grown up into more mature adults.
With corporate brands' budgets increasing over 10 fold in the last year, companies are now seeing advertising budgets around the $600,000 mark for in-game advertising - but is it really fair to spend a large portion of that trying to demean 47% of the gaming audience? Leave your thoughts below.
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