Any industry that is trying to build profits has a few ways of going about it. They can raise prices, or sell more, or open up a new market. Those are the basics. In consumer products, raising prices is tricky business, and selling more to an already saturated market is difficult. So, creating a new market is usally a great way to go, if it is a possibility.
It seems that video game developers decided that women were an untapped market just waiting to get into the game. 38% of gamers are now female, up 33% from 2 years ago. Personally I would assume this has a lot to do with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but I don't have numbers to back that up at the moment. I think it is a safe assumption though, that these type of social and interactive games are what is drawing women in.
Of course numbers like these make marketing men so excited. And so, they try and develop games just for girls. And what do girls like? Why, fashion, cooking, babies and makeup, of course!! What else is there for women?
Enter "Imagine Babyz" (reviewed here) an "action" game for girls which is, " the first simulation game focused on caring for babies. Players take on the challenges of raising a baby throughout all stages of development and will also be able to take photos and exchange tips and clothing through a unique online component."
Ok. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure simulated baby experiences help all kinds of people. They give you those sacks of sugar in highschool family studies for a reason, right? On Degrassi it was an uncooked egg. Now I hear it's an actual life sized baby that really cries and pees. And you know, if these help girls who might be considering having a baby while they are very young to consider different options for their life, I am all for it.
What I wonder is, who on earth is going to buy a video game like this? I mean, raising a baby is hard work. Not exactly fun, like say, racecar driving or super star wrestling. Why would anyone want to simulate this as a hobby?
What is next? "Period Party Time!" "Divorce Extravaganza!" or "Train the Doggie!"? Girls like things other than those which are domestic, see? We enjoy all sorts of unique experiences.
Here is my advice for game developers: how about some female kung-fu characters? How about an all-female "Rock Band"? How about women's soccer?
How about simulating things that women actually like to do?