The gaming industry is calling them the sleeping giants that can help launch the games into the trillions but it wasn’t always rainbows and butterfly how the gaming industry silenced or didn’t listen to female gamers. Now they are all ears.
BY FERNANDO MARTÍNEZ
EL NUEVO SOL
Originally RageDarling started streaming World of Warcraft one of the still top selling games in the world. Rage started off as a streamer with under 500 subscribers she now has 5,600. Well’s started off playing GameBoy games many which did not offer the option to choose your own sex the only few that did they would never use it in any of the cut screens as well as allowing you to customize your self.
“Well high school is a scary place and for many teenagers,” said Wells. “A lot of body parts start changing and the video games I was playing, none of them seemed to be representing me, so I almost stopped playing. But what brought me back was the friends that said it was okay to play video games made for guys. We are equal and that told me to keep gaming it didn’t matter, and I am glad I did because video games have changed for the better.”
Since only 2014 video games have been including the option to choose one’s gender as their own or not but that is a very new option that has allowed video games to have a better representation of sexes. Then add on the stress of being a teenager and your classmates bully you for playing video games it would make anyone stop doing what they like, good thing games have changed.
According to Google Analytics of 2017, more women accounts played and downloaded mobile games at a 62 percent. This proved a growing trend that for the last six years women have been gaining popularity in mobile games. The rise of mobile games has allowed game developers to use what makes phones so convenient to make mobile games better. Mobile games have been able to utilize the fact that they are always on them to notify you to play.
USC’s Dimitri William, a video game industry expert, said that males don’t tend to play mobile games because of mobiles games are limited to their graphics.”Mobile games have right now are limited the use of complicated graphics because the phone would need a better processor and a dedicated graphics card which one pc and console system used to have the most optimal graphics,” Williams said. He also stated for mobile games the better the graphics, the bigger the male presence is found in the game. Right now the current mobile games that dominate the top 50 in both Apple and Google are games like idle, puzzle, action puzzle, farming simulators, and some action games. The biggest “drawback in mobile games are designed to make the user spend cash which is known as microtransactions and everyone hates them from children to adults,” said Williams. He noted that mobile games have been able to capitalize on the fact that people always have them on them and they send so many notifications to remind you to play them.
Ally Benavas another twitch streamer who has had to deal with people who have nothing nice to say online also known as trolls or haters says these people make a curious people not want to play video games because they are just toxic people who want a reaction out of you. “At first I didn’t like trolls but know I feel that if I don’t get at least one mean person a day something is wrong with the world. I have learned to deal with trolls and I have found that if you say the right words they will get bored and leave you alone.” said Benavas when asked about how she deals with trolls. Benavas only streams as a part-time she is a full-time pharmacy tech but has always loved gaming. while Benavas is not as subscribed as Well and has heard stories from friends about being trolled for days on end after making videos that pointing out the sexism and misogyny found in big games that’s why Benavas claims she doesn’t criticize games. “It sucks not being able to voice my opinions on games because I have to deal with trolls and it should be like if I don’t like a game I have to hold my tongue, those game developers should be interested in what I have to say and we female wish to voice.” Benavas made a clear point that she loves games that allow the user to be able to not only choose their gender but also their outfits. While the female percentage is growing in the overall numbers of gaming we still see problems like over-sexualization and how gender has to look a specific way.
Jennifer Ramos a California State University, Northridge student who enjoys playing mobile video games said, “ if girls are represented they are but in obscure ways and many women, characters are over sexy and not playable… No pun intended.” While the graphics and playability got smoother the storylines and objectification of women did not cause there to be a mentality that video games were only for guys. While we saw the rise of female playable characters start off as an overly sexualized object like Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider they began to become more respectable as we progress in the gaming industry. Tomb Raider took a lot of heat for overly sexualizing their character in the 1980s but took even more heat from fans of the old game when announcing that they would reboot Tomb Raider in 2013 and Lara Croft would be less sexualized than before. But the game sold well and was received well for thought out for character development. Many critics were glad Tomb Raider didn’t have any cheesy girly lines or end up with a romantic partner really progressive forward and that’s what mobile video games are able to do. Mobile video game industry can look at what the video gaming industry and make adjustments to be able to capture a wider set audience allowing for more sales. While Ramos does like that fact that big video game companies are starting to acknowledge female gamers she just wishes the other gamers would acknowledge them. “It’s always hard to hear oh your good for being a girl that’s why I hate revealing my gender online I have only told my best online friends,” admitted Ramos. While many men get in an online video game server and never have to think twice about how they talk but if you are a girl online you have to think about everything you are going to say in a specific way if not other gamers won’t take you seriously like an inexperienced player or a noob.
Mobile games have allowed people to play games on not just their time but specifically for what they wish to play when they want to play. “I remember seeing my brother and his friend always playing video games and they would never let me play because I was a girl,” explained Anna Alvarez “but when I got a phone I started to play all the games I wanted and then they would come and ask me what cool games was I playing then I was the cool sister.” while Alvarez like the enjoyment games bring her she doesn’t like the fact that girls are not looked at as the majority of player when they make up more than half of the players in mobile markets. “ I don’t like the exaggerated body sizes that game developers give female characters to get more views for being sexy and provocative if guys want to watch xxx material go watch that but leave the video games out of it,” said Alvarez who has had enough of mobile games giving females armor that reveals more body than actual armor. Alvarez who loves playing RPG, action mobile games also said that she sometimes prefers using the male characters because they have more details and extra lines when they get a kill.
Carmen Diaz another female mobile gamer that better represents the growing female crowd plays only casual games like words with friends crosswords FarmVille, clue puzzles and even action puzzles. Diaz also plays any game that her friends are playing and find herself deleting games almost constantly after becoming bored of them.
According to Liftoff an analytics firm that studies games, reported that for 2018 each game installed by a woman it has a 17 percent chance that they will make in-app purchases making them the most valuable gamers. This 2018 data shows that women are purchasing at double then in 2017, this data is key in showing that women games now dominate the mobile games and why there is an overabundance of one type of game in the app stores because game companies want money and know women will pay more often than men leading them to make games for women. Jessica Wells who was happy to be told that more games are being made with women in mind and said “I am happy to see the industry taking women gamers seriously by adding the option to choose either gender in big games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Assassin’s Creed, it’s a good time to be a female gamer.”