Wonderland's Alice Taylor has written a masterful piece analyzing Ubisoft's line of "girl-oriented" games that focus on "shopping, fashion, animals and babies." Taylor produced some amazing original research for the BBC last year on gaming usage-patterns, and is herself a prominent woman gamer (a former nationally ranked Quake player), and her take on marketing games to girls is very sharp indeed:
Ubisoft have a series of games about to come out for girls. Entitled "Imagine", there's a spark of hope .. but it turns out that the series is going to primarily consist of shopping, fashion, animals and babies. Oh yes. But the worst bit about this is, not really the fact that there are going to be shopping games - WoW is at least 40% shopping, frankly - or fashion games (ditto), but that Ubisoft seem to think that this is only what girls like:
Those games were really designed for young girls who are just looking for fun games and ways to explore their favorite hobbies... From what we've seen, [the girls] didn't mention anything about being a police officer.
Research is a funny thing. If you say to someone, what's your favourite food, they'll list three things they love. If you then say, you didn't list chocolate cake, don't you like chocolate cake? They'll say, oh SURE! I love chocolate cake! I just didn't realise you were asking about chocolate cake.
If young girls only like shopping, fashion and babies, then they wouldn't like Ratchet and Clank. Or Mario Kart. Or Dance Dance Revolution. Or Wii Sports. Or Pokemon.