It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway through the work-week slog (provided you have a Monday to Friday job, of course). More importantly, it means it’s time for our gaming news round-up. Are you ready? I am.
What Games Do Girls Play? Survey Says: A Bit Of Everything
Quantic Foundry, a consumer research organization that focuses on the game industry, released a report January 19 discussing what kinds of games women play. The report breaks down the common assumption that women, who make up roughly half of the gaming demographic, only play “casual” mobile games, such as match 3 titles, by diving deeper into genres and titles to see what women are really playing.
In fact, women are playing a lot of match 3 games; 69 percent of the genre’s players identified as women, which, while over 50 percent, hardly means that’s all women are playing. The same percentage were taking on farming and family sims, likely with heavy-hitting titles like The Sims and Stardew Valley.
The least popular genres among women were racing (6 percent of players were women), tactical shooters (4 percent), and sports (2 percent). First-person shooters came in just above those at 7 percent, which seems baffling given the number of Overwatch players I know, but who am I to argue with data?
While non-binary folks represented only 1.1 percent of the people surveyed, the data of the games they like to play is still important. 3.8 percent of atmospheric exploration game players were non-binary, 3.2 percent of farming and family sims players, 2.7 percent of casual puzzle players, and 2.3 percent of sandbox players.
There’s a lot more data in the report, so please do check it out.
Angry Birds Developer Rovio Spreads Their Wings in London
Rovio, the developers behind the hit Angry Birds franchise, plan to open a London office to facilitate the development of multiplayer titles. While they made their name in single-player mobile games, the move marks an increased interest in mobile MMOs, a market currently dominated by titles like Clash of Clans and Game of War: Fire Age. Mobile games are often thought of as a solitary activity, but multiplayer titles are some of the biggest earnings and offer a lot of potential for growth, something Rovio needs after layoffs and slowed growth. The success of the Angry Birds movie has helped support the new office, and Rovio is one of many companies opening offices in London post-Brexit, supporting its growth in the tech industry.
Speaking of growth in the tech industry, the US video game market saw an increase in profit from 2015 to 2016. The industry made $30.4 billion over the year, marking a $200 million increase over the previous year. It’s not surprising, given the public release of virtual reality systems, major franchise releases, and other variables, but it’s a marker for how well the industry is doing.
With the Nintendo Switch and Fire Emblem conferences recently, there’s been a lot of Nintendo news circulating. The system will be $300 and feature four launch titles, including the long-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Zelda title will also be the last first-party game produced for the Wii U as the company directs its efforts toward its new console. A long development cycle means that the title is actually being released next generation, earning the company some ire from those who bought the Wii U specifically for Breath of the Wild, which, hopefully, is eased by the game’s release for the current-gen system.
Keep Your Politics And Your Games
Waypoint has been doing some incredible coverage of the ways that today’s political climate is affecting independent game developers. Check out this excellent piece on the importance of the Affordable Care Act to multiple game developers, who often depend on the ACA for health coverage as freelancers or self-employed workers, or this further series of quotes from those who are likely to be affected by a repeal of the ACA.
Game developers were not absent from the record-breaking Women’s March on Washington of this weekend, either. Games, like any other media created by humans, are inherently political; something that the subjects of this piece understand well. That’s why so many game developers participated in the march–they’re people first, and their work, like that of so many artists, is threatened by loss of health care, restricted speech, and intimidation.
The connection between games and politics don’t end there. As we say goodbye to the Obama administration, we also say goodbye to unprecedented interest and support for video games as an industry and learning tool, including White House-hosted game jams, competitions, and other events. Much of the support was thanks to the administration’s interest in the entire scientific field, programming included.
Listen, I didn’t devote an entire section to Overwatch this week, and I feel I ought to be commended for that. That being said, hey, look, there’s a new holiday event this week! Overwatch is celebrating Lunar New Year, including new skins (D.va in a hanbok!), sprays, and emotes.
The Big Ten Network has partnered with Riot Games to create a two-month league for League of Legends. The goal for the season is not to make money, but to attract whole new audiences to the channel.
Steam dropped a significant update this week, which adds better controller support, repair options, and more efficient energy use for Mac users. As a Mac user who updates Steam without paying attention to the notes, my newfound ability to leave Steam open now makes sense.
Playdead, the development team behind INSIDE and Limbo, recently paid its co-founder $7.2 million to leave the company after a two-year conflict over who owned the rights to the company’s games. Communication had broken down some time ago as the team spoke primarily through lawyers. While it’s sad to see the dissolution of such a visionary team, Patti, the co-founder who has since left the company, still praises its work with INSIDE.
Melissa Brinks is Sidequest’s editor in chief, co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast, author of The Compendium of Magical Beasts, and an aspiring beekeeper. She once won an argument on the internet, and tweets at @MelissaBrinks.