Silicon Sisters – A pensar nas mulheres!
Gosto de afirmar que o Pplware é de, todos para todos. De jovens para mais velhos, de especialistas para leigos, de homens para mulheres! É talvez essa uma das grandes mais valias dum site como o Pplware.
Ora é precisamente segundo essa premissa que tivemos a oportunidade e o prazer de entrevistar Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, CEO e co-fundadora da Silicon Sisters, o primeiro estúdio de desenvolvimento de videojogos (sediado no Canadá) a desenvolver títulos exclusivamente, ou quase exclusivamente, orientados para o público feminino.
Na foto abaixo podem-se ver as duas fundadoras da Silicon Sister, Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch (á esquerda) e Kirsten Forbes (à direita).
Antes de avançar queria deixar os nossos agradecimentos à Silicon Sisters pela amabilidade e disponibilidade para esta entrevista.
Pplware- Silicon Sisters’s main objective is, as far as we know, the idea of producing more attractive games to women that understands the female way of thinking and gaming, right? How did Silicon Sister appears as a company? Silicon Sisters- The founders of Silicon Sisters—myself and Kirsten Forbes—were both working in the games industry for many years building traditional games for the core audience, who are about 80% male. We both love the game industry and want to see it expand to create more quality games for women and girls, so we started Silicon Sisters to work on that agenda.
Pplware- As far as we know, one, if not the only of your main objective is to produce games for women. Which are the main differences between male and female gaming and its style of playing? Which are the main characteristics of a female gamer? Silicon Sisters- There are many female gamers who enjoy the games that are currently on the market. We want to build games that are different than that, we are hoping to expand the range of games that women enjoy. For example, we know that about 13% of the PS3 players are female and a little less than that for the Xbox. Women have not embraced those systems. It may be that the gaming industry isn’t offering content that is of interest. On the other hand, women are playing games on their smart phones, on tablets, and on their PCs, as well as DS and PSP (especially in Asia). The type of games women enjoy are varied, as are the type of game men enjoy, but to generalize, women usually prefer a game that involves a compelling story, or quick repetitive gameplay that they can do for five minutes then put down again. Female gamers generally have less time than male gamers devote to gaming, and are looking for a more social experience.
Pplware- Do you think that, female gamers are, in overall terms, best gamers than masculine individuals? In what ways do you think female gamers are better gamers? Silicon Sisters- I think most people who get really good at a game do so by playing a lot, regardless of age or gender. There are some studies that show there are certain elements to the way women and men process information that is different by gender, and this impacts gaming preference. For example, women are better at finding objects in cluttered spaces, and men are better at shooting moving objects. (Interestingly, women are better than men at shooting still objects.) In light of this data, I think it is interesting that women are the vast majority of players of hidden object games, and men the vast majority of players of FPS’s. Perhaps we play more of what comes easier to us, because it is more fun? But with practice both genders can be great at any type of game, I’m sure.
Pplware- Do you think that there is any kind of exclusion to women regarding the actual games? Silicon Sisters- It is hard to speak in generalities, because women make up a vast group of people, not all of whom see the world in the same way. Some women don’t like games that have female characters in slinky, sexy clothes, while other women enjoy playing these characters. There is no one way of thinking about such things. Women are half of the planet and have very diverse interests and opinions. We just want to add to the types of games that are out there so women have more choices in high quality gaming experiences.
Pplware- In your opinion what is needed to improve the female gaming? Media attention and encouragement, investment from publishers, courage of developers…? Silicon Sisters- I think we need more women making games. This is the real key, in my opinion. I also think we need more people of color, more gay and lesbian developers, more people from all walks of life. Games are a huge slice of culture and there are so many more ways we can share our experiences and stories though games than what’s available now. I think we are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of what stories and experiences we express through games.
Pplware- Here in Portugal there are some cases of Game Guilds made of women only. Are you regular gamers as well? What would you like to say to those gamers? Silicon Sisters- I’d like to say, “You rock!” Women who are serious gamers are huge leaders to the rest of the gaming girls out there. I think they are paving the way for younger gals not to be intimidated, and to jump into playing games as well. I am 44 and have been playing games since I was 11. I used to practically live at the arcade, plugging all my babysitting money into Astroids and Space Invaders, Pac Man and Galaga. I’ve been lucky to see this industry grow right from its inception. It’s an amazing industry, and it’s a great place for more women to come and work.
Pplware- Do you think that women that are regular gamers can be somehow affected in their private lives by gaming? Silicon Sisters- You hear of people sometimes becoming addicted to gaming. This is more of an Asian phenomena, I think. I am not sure why. Like anything, we need balance in our lives to be well and healthy.
Pplware- In your opinion what are the main obstacles to women, regarding games? Why aren’t there much more women gamers? Silicon Sisters- This is always an interesting argument. Are women not playing games because there are not good games out there for women, or are women not playing games because women don’t game? I think if we create more interesting content, designed for a female audience, more women will play. In fact, we have seen this in the emergence of companies like Big Fish, who sell more than 1.5 million games per day, to an audience that is made up of 85% females. They build games for women and are a huge success.
Pplware- And why there are not more games oriented exclusively for women? Silicon Sisters- Games are expensive to make and publishers are very risk adverse. Publishers are making more and more conservative bets as the cost of development continues to climb to astronomical levels. This is largely why we see the emergence of the female market coming from the social and casual games space – there are fewer barriers to bringing product to market, so more companies are willing to take risks to expand the market. Are you going to produce games for all platforms? Which ones are the main objectives for Silicon Sisters? We are going to develop wherever there are female communities playing games. Right now that is largely smart phones, tablets, and Facebook. We hope to eventually develop for consoles, but we’ll see.
Pplware- How do you see the increasing acceptance of Tablets and Smartphones as gaming platforms? Are you going to invest in it? Silicon Sisters- Heavily. Our first two games, School 26 and School 26: Summer of Secrets were developed for iOS and Android, with HD versions for the iPad and Android Tablets. As mentioned above, there are many more women using and playing games on these devices than on consoles right now, so it’s a natural place for Silicon Sisters to focus.
Pplware- Do you think that PCs are passing through a stationary phase, regarding games industry? Or do you think that PCs are going to be always an iconic and reliable gaming platform? Silicon Sisters- I don’t know if the PC will always be around as a gaming platform, but it’s a major one right now and a lot of women play games on PC. We’ll be bringing School 26 to PC and Mac soon.
Pplware- Are you going to forget the male consumers? Will your games be only for women, or are you going to make them mixed types? Silicon Sisters- Our games are aimed at a specific audience, there’s no avoiding that. This doesn’t mean that people outside the target demographic can’t enjoy it. It’s really no different than a shooter or any other game that’s designed with a typical male audience in mind—people outside the target audience will enjoy it, but the majority of players will be the ones the game was designed for. For example, School 26 is a game with scenarios and mechanics that were deliberately designed to appeal to teen and tween girls. While we were working on the game, we had boys in the same age group playtest the game, and some of them enjoyed it a lot.
Pplware- And what kind of games are you going to produce? Do you prefer casual or hardcore games? Do you think that most women can be hardcore gamers? Silicon Sisters- There are already hardcore female gamers. They’re getting what they need from the games that are already being made; they don’t need us to make games for them. The fact is most of today’s gamers are not hardcore video gamers playing hours upon hours of action games on consoles, but casual gamers who are playing in smaller bursts on their phones, their computers, their Facebook pages. The industry needs to keep up by adapting to these changes—by continuing to make games for the hardcore audience, sure, but also by creating games for the growing casual audience and some games that will appeal to both. Silicon Sisters is less interested in the labels than in exploring new types of gameplay that will appeal to and be fun for women, and that’s what we’re going to do regardless of whether it turns out to be “casual” or “hardcore” or somewhere in between.
Pplware- Within the actual state of gaming universe, which are the main features that developers “forget” to include in order to turn the games more oriented to women? Silicon Sisters- It’s not what they forget to include, but what they choose to include in the first place. You can’t make a game that appeals to everyone. So where is your focus going to be? Before starting Silicon Sisters, I was listening to Bill Mooney (one of the head people at Facebook) at a conference and a light bulb went off for me. He was saying that we’ve done such a great job with video games, what we do is build our fantasies. I thought about that for a while, and it’s so true. You think about those storm-the-castle games, first-person shooters, being James Bond, being a race car driver and being an airline pilot. Guys have done a great job of building their fantasies, but what does that look like for women?
I honestly don’t know the answer to that, it’s going to take a lot of work to figure it out. We do know that women and girls really connect with mystery, problem solving, intrigue, and puzzles. Helping is something we really like to do. We like to be social. But you can’t just toss these elements into an FPS or another type of game that plays out a male fantasy and expect it to now appeal to everyone (more likely, it won’t appeal to anyone!) These elements have to be organic to the design, you have to be thinking about developing for women from the very beginning.
Pplware- Which is the main target of Silicon Sisters? Women in general or do you focus your attention to certain female ages? Silicon Sisters- We’ll look for age groups and audiences where we feel we can make a difference. We started with School 26, which is designed for girls ages 12-16, but we’re not limiting ourselves to this age group for future games.
Pplware- Are you going to make games for couples? Do you think that it could be an option? Silicon Sisters- It’s an interesting suggestion. We are listening to feedback from School 26 players about what other types of games they’d like to see, and have received feedback about dating sims—adding a little romance to the mix—and we’re taking that on board.
Pplware- Finally we would like to ask you, if you want to direct some words to the audience of Pplware.com? Silicon Sisters- Thank you for your interest in Silicon Sisters! We hope your readers (especially any teen girls out there) will check out School 26 on the App Store and post feedback for us on Facebook.com/School26 if you like it. We’ve just released free versions:
Na nossa “conversa” com a Silicon Sisters, apercebemos-nos portanto que a mesma nasceu da imensa paixão de ambas as suas fundadoras pelos videojogos e pela sua noção de que a balança ainda se encontra bastante desequilibrada a favor do número de jogadores masculinos. Tendo perfeitas noções de que grande parte do público feminino tenderá a preferir tipos de jogabilidades distintos dos masculinos, talvez mais pensados, mais emocionais e com enredos mais cativantes, a Silicon Sisters aparece assim como uma equipa dedicada a colmatar esse tipo de défice e a desafiar outros projectos similares a aparecerem.
Uma das falhas apontada a Indústria dos Videojogos é portanto essa mesma, ser feita em grande parte, por homens e para homens. No entanto o dedo também é apontado às editoras que não assumem o risco de potenciar jogos para um público que ainda não é dado como certo. E será assim tão certo? Eu sou fervoroso adepto do sim. Pessoalmente acho que há muito mais potencial no público feminino e no desenvolvimento de jogos para.
Durante a entrevista foi levantada uma questão pela Brenda que creio tratar-se precisamente duma peça importante deste puzzle:
“Guys have done a great job of building their fantasies, but what does that look like for women? ”
O que vocês acham? Quais serão essas fantasias no feminino?
E quanto à entrevista em si? Concordam com o que foi discutido na entrevista? O que acham? Ainda há muito caminho a percorrer pelas mulheres nos videojogos?
Gostava de saber as vossas opiniões acerca desta entrevista e acima de tudo desta temática? (é claro que de todos vós e não apenas das mulheres)
I would like to thank, once again to Silicon Sisters for all of its kindness and availability! Thanks a lot!
Site Oficial da Silicon Sisters