Monday, October 21, 2013

Non-Combat Ready Female Avatars

Before I hear the roars of men, while the women are
covered, by comparison to the male counterparts, it's
obvious that these women are not "combat ready" by
any stretch of the imagination.

Continuing the discussion about female avatar sexualization in video games,Crytek (devs for the Crysis series) is getting some backlash from gamers and the press. They are releasing tomorrow a new product called Warface, a free-to-play FPS. The problem is that the studio has very blatantly taken the stance that the female character choices are wearing slimmer, formfitting, boob exposing clothing because “that’s what the audience wants.” 

According to their test markets in Europe, Russia, and the U.S. more people preferred the avatars with the exposed chests and short shorts versus standard combat gear. Because, you know, when I’m taking up a sniping position, I want to make sure my rack is all out there, making myself an easy target to kill.>.>

The NBC article continued to correlate this issue with the findings from the Stanford University article I posted last week. Sheri Rubin, a board member for the IGDA for women, was concerned about the study and some of the conclusions it tries to present. However, there is an obvious problem if women are objectifying avatars because of their clothing choices. And it is equally a concern that a few vocal minority for Warfare were able to change the attire of the female characters so much that it trivializes the product.

The counter-argument will probably be that most men will play the FPS and probably not choose the female avatars, which is fine. But that doesn’t exclude Crytek from taking responsibility with their product. Not to mention, think about the numerous amount of players they are alienating by having cleavage enhanced females. The gender gap between gamers has been closing more and more every year, and women are more likely to buy a game, whether for themselves or for a loved one, more than a man. What women is going to buy a game with titillating females on the cover? Whoever did their “test groups” should revisit their conclusions, because they are going to lose at least 50% of their potential market. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm looking to sell a game in today's world, I'd try to ensure that it appealed to both genders. Bigger share of the pie, is all I'm saying.

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