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Women gamers just as competitive as men, says Ryan

Oberon's COO thinks that action-puzzle games can bridge the core and casual markets

Oberon Media's new COO, Don Ryan, believes that there is little difference between male and female gamers.

"My experience at MSN and Xbox Live is that women are as competitive if not more competitive than men, except that they just don't want to spend or have the time or learn 'up-down-X-X-Y-Y'...They don't want to deal with that," he told

"You give them one button, they'll kick your butt."

Ryan also recognises that although the current generation of consoles aren't necessarily considered as casual devices, that could change significantly over time - so that while the USD 300-500 price points of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can compare with the PlayStation 2 when it launched, Sony's older console has a much bigger casual appeal today.

"I agree with your general premise in that, if I'm a single mom that really likes puzzle games, I'm not necessarily going to go and buy a PlayStation 3 to come home and download Bejeweled," he said.

"When we designed Xbox Live Arcade...That's the reason it had a retro-arcade tilt to it. We knew that we had to have the rabid owner of the box completely engaged. So, you know, Geometry Wars and the rest of it.

Then, what happens, underneath it you have this nice foundation of Hexic, Bejeweled and Astro Pop."

Ryan knew that the users of the Xbox 360, and those who paid for content and services, were often different people - giving Microsoft the potential to reach both.

"What we tried to do was, again, segment into these two core audiences, with some content bridging - puzzle games always bridge, especially action puzzle games - and link them to the community."

"And what ended up happening is exactly what we thought. 'Hey, I'm familiar with that. I know how to play that! Get out of my way. Oh, I beat you!. And then the competition kicks in..."

To date, Oberon's titles haven't yet appeared on the PlayStation Network or WiiWare - but that could change in the near future.

"Ultimately, what we're going to try to concentrate on are a few set of core platforms, then we'll partner with people for expanding the distribution of our intellectual property across other platforms," he said.

"Just like any publisher who is focused, we are going to identify potential franchise extensions and find people who are just as excited about our IP for those devices."

So, while the company doesn't have any plans to internally build WiiWare games, for example, that doesn't mean they won't talk to other parties about exploiting their IP on other platforms.

"Ultimately, what you are going to see is the PS3, the Xbox the price curves comes down, you are going to see more and more casual content."

The complete interview with Don Ryan is now online.

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