I was invited to go to a focus group tomorrow for the new X-Men game. I was all set: tonight I've been playing X-Men: Rise of the apocalypse, and I've also started to plan what games or anime I was going to buy with the hundred bucks I was going to make. Then I was called by the person who invited me with the information that I couldn't come because I'm a woman. Immediately, I was pissed. I asked why it mattered. His only explanation is that focus groups are split into age groups, therefore the groups are also split by gender. He then wondered how many women could there be that are interested in gaming and the X-Men? How many women do I personally know that game? I could only respond that while I only know a few women in real life that game, I know they're out there. I know that from blogs I read. (Besides, I live in fricken Chicago--there's a lot of women here.)
I asked if there's going to be focus group for women and he wasn't sure. I'm sending Shion's Glasses in my place--he promised to find out if there will be a separate group for women, and if there isn't, to give them hell in my honor. Hopefully, either way I'll convince him to post his experience up here.
It's annoying that I won't be getting the cash, and it's aggravating that my voice won't be heard. But the worst feeling is that this is all because of the attitude that women and men are completely different, which in turn fuels the gender gap in gaming in terms of perception and representation. I know that biologically there are differences between men and women, such as the fact that symptoms for a heart attack in women are different than that of men--but we're gamers. It's a hobby, an interest. If everything, especially video game marketing, keeps focusing on the differences between men and women, we're not going to get anywhere.
Update: I found out that there won't be any focus groups dedicated to female gamer's interests.
Update #2: per zeldasrevenge's suggestion here is Activision's mailing address:
3100 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Their phone number: 310-255-2000
If you would like to shoot them a message electronically, click here.
Let's let them know that women gamers are part of their demographic.