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Game Developers Targeting Women

The traditional face of video gaming is changing. In a bid to attract more players, some of the major game developers are adding new content, new colors and a new attitude in a bid to attract a new generation of female gamers. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

The appetite for high-octane action and eye-popping moves will always be there, but game developers say the testosterone crowd is not the only game in town. Driven by the success of new game platforms, the 30 billion dollar a year industry is turning its attention to the fairer sex.

Nintendo's latest advertising campaign features Hollywood star Nicole Kidman playing the company's new "Brain Training Game". Experts say such games appeal to women who prefer more socially engaging themes.

Electronic Arts' online business manager Sharon Knight says, "I think that women are potentially more interested in community, and chat, and relationship-based games a bit more than first person shooters for example."

The shift towards "casual games" as they are called, is evident in store shelves. Popular titles include Nintendogs, which require game players to care for a virtual pet. Also popular are devices such as Wii's balance board, which allows owners to play fitness games.

With women already making the majority of retail purchases for the home, "Game" retail spokesman Simon Sofe says it was only a matter of time before marketers caught up. "In the last couple of years, far more games have come out that have appealed more to women. And that has moved on because they've focused more on music, focused more on dance. Whereas, traditionally, they would have focused more on sport, action, driving, or shooting, or more adventure type games."

There's also been a strong emphasis on the color pink.

For software developers -- the gaming world keeps getting bigger. "I think it's a fantastic time in the industry right now, the next generation consoles, and particularly the Nintendo Wii are very much helping to widen the demographic for gaming,” says Knight. “I think it's attracting more women, more families. Encouraging more people to engage in more social play. I think it's an excellent time to foster new content."

Women are the largest buyers of the new content, which experts says is now the fastest growing segment in the video gaming industry.