October 13th, 2006, 20:31 Posted By: wraggster
Xbox and women don’t mix too well. Despite Microsoft’s PR hyperbole about wanting to reach new markets (read ‘the ladies’) we all know that the company’s Corporate VP ‘of games’, Peter Moore’s ideal consumer is a young, male college graduate, who's also a sports fan and who enjoys playing Madden online with his buddies.
In other words, a jock. Moore admitted as much himself in an interview earlier this year.
Despite making noises about broadening the appeal of Xbox to the fairer sex, Moore is also reported in today’s Washington Post, “the coming lineup of games for the  system features mostly the same old violent, guy-oriented titles that have long given the industry a bad rep.”
Gears of War, which SPOnG has played and can confirm is truly going to be up there as one of our games of the year, is hardly being marketed to female gamers. This is not a sexist attitude on behalf of Microsoft, merely a calculated commercial strategy. And if there are ladies out there who have a deep love for visceral, violent action games, then please tell us more in the forums.
To be fair, Microsoft’s superb Pokémon-a-like Viva Pinata, is going to broaden the 360’s appeal amongst younger gamers – but will they be able to market this and other similar titles well enough to encourage the mums to get involved in playing the game with their children?
The Post news goes on to heap praise on Nintendo for managing to convert a writer/photographer called Tracey Clark, a mother of two girls, ages 8 and 3 and writer of a well-known blog about motherhood-related issues. The Clark family doesn’t own any game consoles.
Nintendo rocked-up to Clark’s drive last month in a truck containing four large-screen televisions and four Wii consoles, to let the Clark family and friends spend the day playing Wii.
Previously unsold on videogaming, Clark told the Post this week, “I think it’s fantastic marketing…moms are who spend the money; moms are the ones who go shopping for their kids.”
SPOnG just spoke with Nikki Sharpe, a friend and mother of four boys, from the ages of eight up to sixteen, who expressed a similar opinion when quizzed about the Xbox 360 and the Wii, telling us, “I don’t really know anything about the Xbox 360. My eldest has a PS2 and wants a PS3 whenever that comes out.”
She continued, “I’m actually looking forward to playing Wii with all the boys when it comes out, which is a first. I’ve never personally had any interest in computer games whatever, but this one looks a bit different, a lot easier and like it might be more of a laugh for us all to play together.”
SPOnG just spoke with Rob Saunders, Nintendo's UK PR manager, who told us that the company will be announcing their trade marketing plans with details of how they intend to appeal to the mothers of the UK later next week.
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