Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No girls for Activision

I recommend everyone go read this article which was posted over at Gamasutra about how Activision, the company that brought us Guitar Hero, views female characters. It's an interesting read and after looking over it and the titles that Activision has put out I have decided to boycott their products.

Honestly, I don't recommend reading the comments. There is little productive conversation there. But if you will bear with me, I'm going to put in my two cents. Yes, Activision has every right as a company to decide that female leads in video games are too big of a financial risk. That is their prerogative as a corporation who must satisfy investors. However, as a consumer I have every right to decide NOT to purchase their products based on these practices and instead support game developers who don't look at female characters as liabilities and encourage others to do the same. Only by putting our money where our political ideals lie can we change the gaming industry. If people purchase good, solid games with female leads companies will discover that a vagina is not a liability and will be encouraged to make more.

I encourage everyone to look at the evidence available regarding this and make your own decisions about where you put your money.


  1. The thing I find difficult to believe is that, between Joanna Dark, Faith from Mirror's Edge, Lara Croft, Bayonetta, Samus Aran and others there is somehow no evidence that a game with a strong female lead would sell. Now, I can understand that if it's a game that would let you choose your gender there is an additional cost in rendering all of the animation and extra character designs for both male and female characters, effectively doubling the cost of certain parts of development, but in the instance that there is a single lead character there seems absolutely no reason to believe that it won't sell just because that character is female. "Hurr durr ladies don't sell" seems like a huge copout, and can only really hurt them here.

  2. Hmm. The actual sales being affected overmuch by a famale vs male protagonist is an interesting concept, but seems dubious. On the other hand they have access to numbers we don't, obviously, and since Activision of all companies is out to make money above all else...one would think if they're that decisive about it they must know something we don't. Not that I like giving those jerks the benefit of the doubt. In any case, I could see them avoiding female leads simply to ease headaches for themselves if nothing else. Nothing gets criticized more than female lead characters. Putting boobs on a wire frame just asks for trouble, given all historical gaming evidence. (minus samus aran, mostly because nobody KNEW she was female until the end of the game anyway. Dodged the boob bullet there with the armored suit I suppose.)

    I'm all for boycotting Activision either way though! They clearly love money and hate gamers at the same time more than any other company I can think of off the top of my head.