Remember When Developers Just Made Games?

Real life and some other business has kept me away from blogging here for a while. But I'm back now. and look, another post about gaming. Well, it is E3 week, and I promise I don't always rant. I will be talking pleasantly about gaming soon enough.

I read this a short time ago:

Ubisoft Unveils Imagine(TM) Video Game Series for Girls
Thursday July 12, 3:06 pm ET
First Video Games in Series Available in October

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced its all-new Imagine(TM) series of video games targeted at girls ages 6 to 14 years old. The Imagine line allows girls to explore their favorite interests and hobbies – as indicated in extensive lifestyle research on this audience – in an interactive and entertaining way. Ubisoft's Imagine series is part of the company's strategic expansion into the casual video game market.

Source: Ubisoft   

The first games in the Imagine line will launch in October 2007 for the Nintendo DS(TM) system: Imagine(TM) Fashion Designer, Imagine(TM) Animal Doctor, Imagine Babyz® and Imagine(TM) Master Chef. Imagine(TM) Figure Skater will follow in early 2008.

"Ubisoft is excited to finally offer young girls a line of games that give them the chance to explore their hobbies and interests in interactive and creative experiences," said Helene Juguet, senior director of marketing at Ubisoft. "Our consumer research revealed that the young girls' market has been relatively overlooked. We are happy to introduce a variety of titles relevant to what girls in this age group have indicated they are most interested in."

Imagine(TM) Fashion Designer invites players to become hip Manhattan designers handling all aspects of the fashion business, from creating their own line of clothing to directing photo shoots. Online gameplay allows players to share their designs and ideas with friends and fellow aspiring young fashionistas.

Imagine(TM) Animal Doctor puts young players in the role of a veterinarian, not only by treating and curing all types of animals, but also by creating new facilities to expand the veterinary hospital.

Imagine(TM) Babyz® is the first simulation game focused on caring for babies. Players take on the challenges of raising a baby throughout all stages of development and will also be able to take photos and exchange tips and clothing through a unique online component.

Imagine(TM) Master Chef allows players to create recipes from all over the world using the stylus to prepare, stir and cook ingredients. Players can customize their kitchens with utensils and appliances. Fun mini-games include cooking quizzes and kitchen challenges.

In Imagine(TM) Figure Skater, players live the life of a champion who needs to balance her life between training, school and friends. Girls take on the role of a professional figure skater and use the stylus to perform jumps, spins and a variety of skating combinations.

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I remember back when developers just made games and we all played them. I'm sure some little girls would have a blast with these, but do we actually need such specialized titles and marketing? Why not just market games to everyone? I swear, the games marketed to little girls are some of the cheesiest, cheapest sounding titles out there. I think if these were the types of games that I played when I was a
little girl, I wouldn't be a gamer today. They're mostly sims. Yes, these are backed up by market research, but there's a problem: many gaming focus groups exclude females completely unless the company behind them specifically decides to make a game with females in mind. Who's to say that those other games wouldn't appeal to female players, even little girls? Don't they deserve better?