If you thought it was bad that developers are discluding women in their games, many developers are charging players to be women in their games as well.
Thanks to some hard earned research discovered by 12 year old Madeline Messer, published on The Washington Post, we now have an eye-opening look at the gaming and the real cost of being a lady. While we’ve heard all the chatter about ladies being threatened as developers, being underpaid, insulted and more, the gaming environment isn’t even catering to ladies in cost. According to Madeline, gaming on iOS will cost a young woman more money if they want to play as a female – assuming that option is even available.
When looking at the gender breakdown of the top 50 “endless runner” games on iOS, Ms. Messer paid out of pocket for complete and accurate research to discover the full details on gender bias in mobile gaming. In her research Madeline found that 18 percent of runners would offer gender-neutral options like potatoes, cats or monkeys. Of the applications which offered gender-identifiable characters, 98 percent offered male characters. Quick math, that’s only one application that didn’t offer a male character. More intriguingly, only 46% offered female characters at all.
More staggeringly, when Madeline looked to play as a female, she would find that a paywall existed. We’ll let her quote stand for itself:
Even worse, of these 50 apps, 90 percent offered boy characters for free, while only 15 percent offered girl characters for free. Considering that the players of Temple Run, which has been downloaded more than one billion times, are 60 percent female, this system seems ridiculous.
On top of the outstanding availability issues, the true cost of buying a female character in these applications is extraordinary. When an application does sell female characters, these characters cost an average of $7.53. Without so much as investigating the average app cost, anyone could see that this is a crazy offer. We’re used to seeing apps that cost MAYBE $0.99, but what’s more, the average cost of applications used in Madeline’s test was only $0.26. What this amounts to: Being a female in your application of choice will cost you about 29 times more than buying the application itself.
This issue drives two major issues that need to work themselves out in the gaming and technology industry. We need female developers and female gamers. Without female characters to look to, why would a young lady imagine themselves as a gaming developer? Let’s even out the cost of gaming as a girl, come on people.