Comment permalink

Why Don’t Men Play Video Games?

Fellow gamers, I have called you here today to discuss why there aren't more men among us.  As we all know, most gamers are female.  This is supported by statistics from both the most successful gaming companies in the world (such as PopCap) and the occasional break-out platform specific games like The Sims franchise.

Now granted, men do play video games.  Out of the gender neutral names in online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, one can assume that some of the actual players are male.  And certainly a percentage of those who game under female handles are actually male as well, and are simply posturing as female for personal reasons (anonymity presumably, although I don't want to seem to be disrespecting the transgender audience).

Although many people have studied the question of why men are not drawn to crushingly popular games like Peggle and Scrabulous, few have come to a satisfying answer.  Men are certainly capable of showing the kind of single minded dedication which is required for hitting mega high scores in games like Bejeweled.  And yet, they seem to prefer not to.

One wonders if games like Peggle simply do not sufficiently appeal to the male psyche.  Great care has been taken by the designers to make these games appealing and interesting, but sadly there is a notable dearth of bloodshed and boobies.  We all know that men like boobies!  

This is a pressing issue not just for reasons of equality, but because it's important that everyone like the things that we like.  Wait, I mean because men will bring a new vision to our games, refreshing the industry, and expanding the reach of already successful franchises.  

As previously noted, men are largely drawn to "casual gaming."  Titles like Mass Effect and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 have proved quite popular with the male audience.  Men also show a marked preference for console gaming, perhaps because they like to buy a lot of gadgets.  (That can't strictly be true, of course, because men do not seem to care for the Wii.)

Although these casual gaming titles are popular enough in their way, there seems to be a glass ceiling in effect which keeps men tied to these titles which are aimed specifically at the casual gaming market (which is to say, 18 to 24 year old males).  Why don't more men make the jump to regular games like Wii Sports?  It's hard to say, but I fear the fault lies in all of us.

It is incumbent upon every gamer to make men feel welcome.  Don't assume that just because your coworker is a man, that he would never play a networked Scrabble variant.  Men have good vocabularies, too, and some of them like to use them!  Men have historically been just as apt to solve puzzles as women, and it's time we stepped back and let them do it.  If you have a male friend, give them a no-pressure invite to your next round of Scrabulous.   You might be surprised!