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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Games industry is 'failing women'
By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website in Edinburgh

Pink PlayStation 2, Sony

The videogames industry is continuing to fail women by not producing suitable content, a senior executive at Electronic Arts (EA) has said.

David Gardner, chief operating officer for EA's worldwide studios, was speaking to a conference in Edinburgh.

He said: "We have all been talking about this for a long, long time."

EA's own research found that 40% of teenage girls played video games versus 90% of teenage boys and most girls lost interest in games within a year.

Viewing figures

"We are only reaching a small proportion - not only geographically but also genetically," said Mr Gardner.

He said if EA cracked the problem the firm "could add a billion dollars to its sales."

He said the industry had to learn from the film business.

"The movie industry doesn't just make films for boys.

"Star wars was the biggest film of all time until Titanic came along; Titanic became the biggest because women went to see it and women went to see it multiple times.

"Just boys saw Star Wars multiple times."

Mr Gardner said one of the biggest problems was that the content aimed at women gamers was not appealing.

"They don't want 'pink games'. They are not trying to play girly games where Paris Hilton and Britney Spears go shopping and put make-up on.

"Those kind of things have not been that successful."

But he said games such as The Sims and websites such as Pogo.com proved there was a market for women gamers.

"Most of the Sims players are girls - 70% are women under 25," he said.

"The Sims is really a game about relationships - and that's what girls want - they want relationships, they want to be able to chat."

The Sims, which is published by EA, is arguably the world's most successful game - with more than 40 million copies sold.

Mr Gardner said the industry needed to "create some mega hits in the girl space."

He added: "One of the things that is going to make games for girls happen is creative teams. It's going to be new people and experiments. Four of our 11 studios around the world are run by women. That's an important start.

"Investing in new and upcoming talent is critical."

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