Welcome back to Girlfriend Mode- my new column for MTV Multiplayer where I (Kiala Kazebee, woman) talk about the serious business of games, the games industry and my period. JOKES. I makes jokes. Anyway I hope you enjoy my column about vaginas. I mean games.
By now it's somewhat old news that Naughty Dog (developers behind the much anticipated The Last of Us) had to demand women be included in the focus testing group for the game. This news broke in April which is roughly 5 years ago in internet time but with demo codes being sent out this Friday and the game release date 2 weeks away (June 14th) I felt like we should talk about it again because I mean omgwtfwhyisthisevenathingomgseppuku.
Let me tell you a story:
One day I went to a job interview at a very well known and respected ad agency here in Portland, Oregon. They were looking for a Senior Copywriter to head up their XBox Team. In some ways I was perfect for this job but in other ways I was WOEFULLY under experienced. I knew this but I also knew it was a great chance to make some connections and steal some of their pens. I mean impress them with my moxie. Anyway, the "girlfriend mode" debacle had just happened at E3 and as I sat there explaining to the creative director (who btw had no respect for Youtube as a viable industry marketing model and who I had to tell later on that I do a YouTube show with Felicia Day - AWKWARD) why this was such a big deal he nodded and I could see he knew it was a PR mistake but he also started in on the "well research STILL shows that the lion share of games are sold to 18-24 year old males". I tried to keep my mouth shut and nod and smile but what came out was "Well that's a self fulfilling prophecy isn't it? I mean if you only market to these guys who are buying your game then of course the only people who will buy your games are the ones being catered to. It's a total Circle Jerk. The reality is that the gender split in games is about 50/50 at this point but the industry is stuck in this infinite loop of well that's how things are so that's the way it is". He dismissed me pretty quickly after that and then at that moment I swear we were all Peggy Olsen - head desking in a frustrated gif loop for all of eternity.
Look. It's not that hard. Put women in your focus groups. Last I checked women were human beings who buy and play games. Just ugh...just get over yourselves and do it. It's like you don't want our money - it doesn't have cooties on it I swear. And you won't grow breasts by touching it. Maybe. I'm no scientist.
You can follow Kiala on Twitter if you'd like to know more about her feelings about burritos and whiskey and viddyo gamez.