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Sex-change predicted for computer games

28 June 2005

Computer games could be on the verge of a sex-change, with massive-multi-player online games (MMPOGs) set for an invasion of female players.

This wake-up call to the games industry will be delivered by leading games consultant Ernest Adams at the 2005 Women in Games Conference in August.

"We are soon going to be seeing massively-multi-player online games that are dominated by female players," he said. "Existing online role-playing games are succeeding with women in spite of their subject matter, not because of it. When we get more games whose gameplay genuinely appeals to female players, we can expect to see huge growth there.

Adams, founder of the International Game Developers' Association, is delivering one of the keynote speeches at the conference, running from 8-10 August at Abertay University in Dundee. His keynote, entitled "Developing Games Backwards and in High Heels", looks at the past and future of women in gaming: what they contributed to the early development of the medium and how they will change it in the 21st century.

In his address, Adams will point out that the advancement of women in the game industry is directly proportional to the numbers of them playing games as consumers.

"So long as men remain the primary consumers, men will run the show. As a general rule in any business, women simply don't build products for men. To get more women building games, we have to get more women playing games -- and PAYING for games," he said.

The address takes its title from a comment about the skill of Hollywood filmstar Ginger Rogers who was sometimes overshadowed by the fame of her long-term dancing partner, Fred Astaire. Ginger, it was pointed out, did everything Fred did, but backwards and in high heels.

Adams said: "Women game developers must also work backwards and in high heels -- backwards because they are usually developing games for a male market; in high heels because they are often impeded by a masculine development culture. My keynote address will examine several different aspects of the question, including the way women are portrayed in games; women as designers and developers; and the wants and needs of the female player."

The 2005 Women in Games Conference will highlight the most recent, groundbreaking work in computer game research and development in both academic and industrial worlds. The main areas for discussion will be professional development for women working in and researching into games and the games industry.

Conference organiser Inga Paterson, of Abertay University's computer arts division, said: "The Women in Games Conference is all about how women and girls interact with computer games, and seeks to explain their historical lack of interaction with games as well as the recent growth in games playing by females as a proportion of the total gaming population."


NOTE TO EDITORS for more on Abertay University for more on the Women in Games Conference

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