Where are the women?

One of the blind assumptions I’ve always made about Divinity: Original Sin is that many women play it.  I never had any doubts about this because I saw my partner play D:OS for many hours. She’s quite picky about her games and likes RPGs, so I figured that if the game would be unappealing to her (or womanhood in general for that matter), she would’ve told me right away.

My feeling that many women play D:OS is further reinforced by the people I meet at trade-shows. For every two or three male fans, there’s always at least one woman. Based on that, my lazy mind concluded that at least 25% to 33% of our audience is female, if not more (given that trade-shows are not exactly gender balanced).

I never really questioned this number because it fit with the split I saw for events like PAX. According to this report for instance, 35% of PAX visitors is female, and I think of PAX players as players who would typically enjoy D:OS.

But then this morning, I saw a number that didn’t compute at all. According to the Google analytics page for our Kickstarter campaign, only 4,19% of the page’s visitors is female versus 95.81% male! WTF?

Google Analytics

That didn’t match at all what I thought. My instant reaction was – “oh really, so there’s not a lot of women on Kickstarter. Interesting, I always thought ….”

At which point I did the sensible thing and googled “kickstarter gender distribution”.

The first result I found showed that indeed, Kickstarter is more popular among men (70% male vs 30% female) but that still didn’t really explain the 5% I was seeing. So I reasoned that perhaps there are other Kickstarter categories that are more popular among women, and that games just aren’t that attractive to them, at least as something to crowdfund.

So I went to our Facebook page.

Turns out only 9% of the people following us there are women! I went WTF again! That really didn’t match my expectations. Where were my at least 25% to 35% women? What about my scientifically sound and completely unbiased sampling results from those fan encounters at trade shows? Could it really be so low?

Facebook Stats

So I delved into the Steam analytics.

Sadly, there I couldn’t see any demographic data. This seriously sucked, because it could’ve validated (or invalidated) an idea that had formed on our group chat i.e. The women who play our games will play the hell out of them, but they will only take an active interest when the games are released or about to be released.  Our male audience on the contrary might be more interested in backing us sooner, for what I guess will be a variety of reasons.

This at least fit with my own observations. My sampling subject at home certainly won’t bother reading a lot of gaming previews or watch you tubers, at least, I think she doesn’t. But she will buy a game that comes highly recommended and looks like she’ll enjoy it.

After some more discussion, our hive-mind came to the conclusion that even if we’d know the gender distribution on Steam, we wouldn’t have been able to make any conclusions, because many couples share their Steam accounts  (at least, we assume they do).  And so any conclusion based on Steam stats would be wrong.

At which point someone else said we shouldn’t based important decisions on data as shaky as Facebook or Google analytics.

So I started thinking: I’ve never cared for analytics before, so why do I care now? The most I’ve used it for in the past was to see if the PR people we hired in different territories were doing their jobs. To give you an idea of how much I use it, I actually had to ask someone to tell me how to access my gmail account before I could see the current data because I was curious about how people discovered our kickstarter page.

At which point I reassured the team that we weren’t going to let some fancy numbers affect any decisions. We’ll happily continue making games we care about and would like to play ourselves. Which reassured them because they were starting to worry after I didn’t stop asking questions about this 😉

But of course, that didn’t mean I wasn’t curious and actually also a little bit worried.

Because if we indeed have as many women players as I think we do, does that mean we are communicating on the wrong channels about our games? Obviously we’d like them to know about what we’re making. So how do we talk to them? According to this report, we should at least be seeing a 50/50 split, not a 5/95 or 10/90.

So, since quite a few among you work on the dark side, I figured I might as well just ask you. You boys & girls must have data about this. I’m particularly interested in learning if other CRPGs have the same pre-release gender split like the one we are seeing on Facebook & Kickstarter, and if that then settles out into a 50/50 when the game goes on sale. Or is the analytics thing just broken, and am I making a big fuss over nothing?  Or, are we really doing something wrong? And if so, what?

All input more than welcome!


So based on the feedback I’ve been receiving, here’s a couple of insights that may help explain things. First off, Google Analytics itself – Google’s adwords page explains how they determine gender. It’s quite primitive apparently.

“Sarah’s favorite hobby is gardening. Many of the gardening sites and blogs on the Display Network that she visits have a majority of female readers. Based on this, Sarah’s browser could be added to the “female” demographic category.

As a result, Google may show Sarah ads from advertisers who have chosen to show their ads to women.”

Kind of puts things in context.

Next up, most of the reactions I got from women really do indicate they won’t engage in the communities around games for a variety of reasons. This brings up interesting questions about how they learn about what games they’ll like. My guess would be that critic scores might be quite important here.


Another type of comments puts the fault in our shoes.

We  had a few commenters bringing up the “nostalgia” factor that applies to CRPGs. This factor does not appeal as much to women, as there were less women gaming at the original peak of CRPGs in the 1980s and 1990s, and so us talking about a old-school RPG or reviewers calling it a modern Baldur’s Gate didn’t help.

Some commenters also suggested that we didn’t reach media regularly consumed by women and suggested we highlight female Larian game dev staff to do that.

And then there’s all this feedback that really has nothing to do with the subject and which reassures me the world will remain an interesting place for a long time.

If anything else pops up, I’ll add it here.

  • Kevin B.

    For publicity targetted at women you could try reaching out to pop culture blog The Mary Sue. They have a pretty wide reach and they regularly post about games. The “your origins dictates the obstacles you encounter in life” angle of OS 2, might appeal to their editors too.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Yes, reach out to the site that says how awesome it is that a male character is hot, then has the same exact write complain about the same exact same title dare have a woman be attractive (despite being of a background that is indeed very show offy).

      • Kevin B.

        You’re a very hate filled person aren’t you? Your transphobia is showing. It’s unseemly, tuck it in.

        Also you forgot this one: http://www.themarysue.com/hot-ryu-follow-up/

        • Audie Bakerson

          Unlike you Kevin, I actually care if people live more than “muh feelings”, and all the (very expensive) “treatment” you encourage actually increases suicide rates.

          How do you live with yourself when you are so actively encouraging people to suicide?

          • Kevin B.

            All righty then …
            Sounds like you really could use some help.
            I’m going to disengage from this, little point in arguing with people who are this disconnected from reality.
            All the best.

          • Anonymous

            Kill yourself.

          • Caio Pontes

            You got told hardcore. Your argument shot, your fefees hurt. You should disengage. The argument was lost.

          • Kevin B.

            No, sweetcheecks. Everything in Aurie’s post varies from simply being factually wrong to anti-vaxer levels of nuts. I most certainly wasn’t “told”. If you want to read some real arguments read my response to the brave and proud “Anonymous” up thread.

        • JackDandy

          lol, “disagree with me = you hate transgender people”.
          I suppose that’s the kind of reasoning you should expect out of someone who frequents the Mary Sue, though .

          • Kevin B.

            No, dimwit. Insisting on calling transgender people by the wrong gender and calling them “crazy” is a pretty strong indicator though.

          • JohnQuincyAdams

            You get BTFO and then say “Im going to disengage”

            You Kevin, no one can see what you’re doing.
            Bravo, you keep reading that mary sue

          • Kevin B.

            So, what am I doing?

          • Anonymous

            I thought you were going to disengage? Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder.

          • Kevin B.

            That post was aimed specifically at Audie because she layered the disconnects from reality on so thick that I’m not in the mood the unpack all that. But fortunately there are plenty of other bozos, like you, replying to me to keep me entertained.

            Yes, body dysmorphia is a mental disorder. Gender dysphoria, which is a completely different thing and the actual classification for “transgenderism”, however is not. More and more research shows that gender dysphoria is caused by a mix of genetics, the structure of the brain (the hypothalamus for example differs for biologically male and female individuals which is reversed in transgender persons) , and pre-natal hormonal exposure. In other words its a biological and a medical condition. Says who, you ask? Little groups like the American Psychiatric Association who officially declassified gender dysphoria as a mental disorder in the DSM-5 (which is the literal book on mental disorders), the Human Rights Council of the European Union and national governments like those of the United Kingdom and France.

            See, this is what I mean. You lot always come in touting your “facts”, all smirking, while you don’t know shit. You base your arguments on outdated and discredited information. You’re factually, scientifically, demonstrably *wrong*. But that doesn’t stop you assholes from spouting of bullshit and spreading your hate around, because you somehow can’t handle people not fitting neatly in your tiny little world.

    • Elilla Shadowheart

      The only thing that TMS offers is an echo chamber. You post anything there contrary to their opinions and they simply ban you, even if it’s factually correct.

      • Kevin B.

        Actually, no they don’t. Trust me I know. I disagree a lot. It helps of course if the “facts” you are espousing aren’t biggotted nonsens like Audie’s “facts” on transgender people up here.

        • Anonymous

          Putting things in scare quotes doesn’t make them not true. Banning people for opinions you don’t like = bigotry.

          • Kevin B.

            No, honeybuns. Things being not true, make them not true.

          • Elilla Shadowheart

            Considering the drek that comes out of TMS, especially factually incorrect information perhaps you should read something else? I’d have no problem if they raised their editorial standards, but considering that the stuff they pump out is b-class blogger type of articles, that should be telling.

            P.S. The first sentence is actually sexist going by their ideology.

        • Elilla Shadowheart

          I guess that’s why I was banned for offering factual information, with links to neutral sources to prove that their point of view was not only incorrect, but damaging to not only gamers but to women as well.

  • Wilczek

    I guess it is also cultural and country based. From around 100 female friends I have on my Facebook list, only 3 or 4 are playing games (or, at least, I know they do). And I’m pretty sure I’m not an alien or something – due to a biggest Polish survey Jestem Graczem (“I’m a gamer”), 93% of players are male. The results were based on nearly 80 thousands answers.

    http://www.jestemgraczem.com/assets/jestemgraczem_raport_z_badania.pdf – page 65

  • Fox

    RPGs in general have a certain “boys-only” stigma, that could be part of it.

    In general, though, I think that it’s not really something to pay attention to one way or the other. If there ever comes a point when you’re making a product or trying to sell a product specifically to a gender rather than a person, you’re doing something wrong. That’s how we get nonsense like Nintendo’s Princess Peach game where her main weapon is literally her own tears.

    • Kaycee Watson

      I agree that marketing only to one gender is a little weird and probably not the way to go about it. However it’s important to be aware of any inadvertent gender bias when it comes to marketing.

      As far as RPG’s having a “boys only” stigma, I’m glad I’ve never felt that stigma. I think RPG’s are inherently more gender neutral because they include custom characters (meaning you can choose to play a woman) and have done so before many other genres. That being said I am only one person, so maybe other women have felt that stigma and I have been fortunate not to.

      • Fox

        Inadvertent biases are definitely a problem. As is a lack of diversity of all kinds–gamers are so much more than the “white male young-adult” demo, and yet that’s pretty much the ONLY demographic that is ever marketed to.

        Let’s take one completely random game for example: Divinity Original Sin. The game itself, very diverse. Two players of any combination of any race or gender. Pretty good, huh? But how’s the marketing? The one image everywhere is the logo–a white woman with heavy make-up and styled hair (with form-fitting armor) holding hands with a giant, musclebound Hercules of a white man. That image doesn’t exactly do the best job of indicating the diversity of the game.

        Another good example to look at is Bioware’s Mass Effect–again, a game that can represent any gender and any race–where all of the marketing focuses on a white male.

        Bethesda has done the same with Skyrim in the past, and is doing the same with Fallout 4 right now.

        • Kaycee Watson

          Very good examples. Also, I really appreciate that you posted sources in another comment, I am very interested in reading what you found.

          • Fox

            Yeah… it’s really hard to talk about this kind of thing without sources, flawed though they may be, simply because ALL of us bring so many different biases to the table, often without even realizing it.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I don’t think it’s a boys only thing – I know plenty of women who like RPGs (obviously, in my job I tend to probably meet more than on average) and as I said, if the PAX audience is 35% women, then that’s the number I’d at least have expected to see.

      I have no plans to make our marketing dependent on this, as I remain convinced we have more women gamers than those numbers suggest, but I would like to know if we are missing something obvious or not. We really were quite surprised by those numbers. We all thought they were higher.

      • disqus_Nj9jXLoavw

        I have to say that I’m surprised you would use what are essentially convenience samples to determine your audience. I realize that business research is necessarily much less cogent than scientific research, but this is something that is also a problem in some scientific research(can you really generalize behavioral studies of college students to the general population?). If you really want to know what the makeup of your audience is, then add a questionnaire in game with questions designed to find out information about the people playing the game in that household(maybe even incentivize it was a small item or skin in game after completing the survey).

      • Audie Bakerson

        PAX is not exclusively about video games and these numbers will be skewed by the many other things it covers at the bare minimum.

  • 4verse

    Have you asked your female colleagues at Larian how and what they like, what they don’t like about Larian’s PR fanfare?

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Are you kidding me? Of course 🙂 They were as perplexed as I was. We all thought those numbers would be a lot higher.

      • 4verse

        Sorry, did not mean to insult you, but for me often the most obvious things are those I dont think of 🙂

  • Kaycee Watson

    Hey there. I’m not in the industry (other than casually streaming games for fun on Twitch). Mostly I’m just a regular gamer. I don’t have much to say regarding analytics but I would like to share that I went and tried the demo at PAX Prime this year. I loved it (I loved D:OS too, no surprise). One thing I found notable and really stuck with me was that your demo included a 50/50 split of male/female playable characters. I loved that I got to play women in a demo. A lot of games have a default male and the ability to play as a woman has to be determined at a character creation screen (which never happens during a demo). Not only was it noteworthy in the moment (I remember commenting on it when I sat down). It’s still something I remembered looking back on PAX.

  • Kaycee Watson

    I would like to add actually, that your cosplayers were both attractive women. Where are the attractive men? Just a thought.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I was actually very surprised myself because I explicitly asked for an elf male. It got lost somewhere in translation. And imagine my surprise that Bishop Alexander wasn’t a man at all? 😉 Gad we had the elf we had though – she was very friendly & knowledgable about the game.

      • Kaycee Watson

        Both ladies were great and I was glad to see they were based off of actual characters from games (and matched the cards you were giving out).

      • Stabbey

        Well, depending on the elf it can be hard to tell.

  • Idara

    I’d love to help, but i really have no clue. I’m one of the 5% – a female who backed D:OS2 as soon as it launched, and who backed and played the heck out of the first one. I don’t have a wide circle of female gamer friends. Those I know that do game mainly play either MMOs (where they like the social aspest) or ‘casual’ games like Candy Crush or Farmville. My previous attempt to convert any of them to RPGs have met with failure – although the fact that I don’t enjoy multi-player or co-op probably hasn’t helped, as I’m sure they’d rather prefer someone they know introduced them by doing, rather than saying.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      So you too think the data is actually representative of the amount of women playing D:OS? I have a hard time believing it (for the reasons mentioned in the post) but I have no data to back it up, so perhaps I’m just blind.

      • Idara

        I really don’t have sufficient experience of other female gamers to give you a particularly helpful answer, but my guess would be that a significant portion of female D:OS players have (male) partners who play. If that’s true then your kickstarter backer data may be skewed by the number of (male) backers who are backing with the intention of playing with their (female) partners. The fact that a number of you tiers offer double (or quadruple) copies of the game probably encourages this. If you are going to play with your wife, why would she back seperately, when she can use your ‘extra’ copy?

        • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

          That could very well be – it was one of our conclusions too. But that doesn’t explain why our Facebook/kickstarter numbers are so low.

          • Idara

            I’m just speculating here, but it may be that women gamers are reluctant to ‘out’ themselves as such on a social network, given the abuse that trolls can dish out. Female gamers have not always had the best time lately on social networks, as I’m sure you are aware.

          • Idara

            And something else just occured to me – just because someone ticks the ‘male’ box on Facebook, doesn’t mean they actually *are* male. I know a number of women who do not identify themselves as such on social media to avoid unwanted attention (sad, but true). And when looking at your analytics, are there male/female/unspecified stats? Or is the default assumption that the user is male if not specified as female?

          • Kaycee Watson

            While I think you might be right, does that apply to Facebook? I don’t know about you but most of the people one Facebook are people I have physically met in real life. I could see plenty of women being willing to “like” a page but unwilling to post on it because that’s when you let the trolls in. Aren’t the numbers based on “likes”? Where is the risk in that?

          • Idara

            Good points. I’m a fairly recent convert to Facebook, and don’t really understand all its ins and outs.

  • Lyndsey M

    Speaking just on personal experience here, but I feel like a lot the marketing I’ve seen for D:OS so far plays off of nostalgia for games that I never played. I felt the same way about the marketing for Pillars of Eternity. Diablo, the Ultima games, and Baldur’s Gate were the games I watched being played over my (male!) cousins’ shoulders, but were not the kind of games anyone in my family would have ever purchased for me. By the time I was old enough to buy games for myself, I wasn’t really interested in them. It might be worth researching the player demographics for 1990s “old school” RPGs and, if the disparity is as significant as I suspect it might be, consider how to market D:OS to women who are approaching the genre for the first time.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      The thing is – I’m convinced there are more women playing D:OS than those figures indicate. It’s just that we don’t seem to be reaching them over our communication channels, which obviously we consider important. But perhaps I’m wrong and it’s really something about the game, and then your point could indeed be very valid.

      • Lyndsey M

        I bet there are far more women playing it than the numbers indicate. And I don’t think I’d even say it’s “something about the game.” But I wonder if the women playing D:OS right now picked it up because it reminded them of games they’d already played, or if there was something else that attracted them to it… and it if was the latter, maybe you can figure out more about what is attracting players to D:OS who never touched “old school” RPGs, and how you can capitalize on that.

      • Kaycee Watson

        Maybe the problem is in the communication channels. I personally don’t really participate in gaming communities very often (I’m lazy) and I know several women who don’t because of past hostility. If you want some good insight maybe try browsing /r/girlgamers on reddit. Maybe your D:OS are wary of being attacked by fellow gamers. I know that doesn’t explain kickstarter but it’s a thought.

      • Benjamin

        I can tell you, anecdotally, I know of at least two women who are fans of the game that were initially put off by the highly-sexualized cover art. After thoroughly promising them the treatment of women in the game was far more equitable and less exploitive, they gave the game a try and really enjoyed it, particularly the game’s treatment of women.

        • http://tangobunny.tumblr.com TangoBunny

          For what it’s worth, I can think of at least 30 women or so, who I personally know, who are interested in games where the character design is stylish and sexy, or failing that, games where you can customise your avatar to look stylish and sexy. My anecdotal data is as pointless as yours, but it’s worth remembering that a lot of women aren’t interested in games that come across as too much of generic fantasy Western RPG with plain, dull medieval outfits, instead of something with more visually attractive characters.

          There’s a reason that Kingdom Hearts was so popular amongst women when it first came out, and while you can attribute some part of that to the Disney content, it certainly had nothing to with its trainwreck of a storyline, or its Final Fantasy characters, given that a lot of Kingdom Hearts players had never touched Final Fantasy before it.

          It was because the characters looked cute, vibrant, expressive, and to many girls, “sexy”… or at least the kind of characters that they’d want to write a thousand romance fanfics about. Sexy has appeal to a lot of women. The idea that “all women hate sexy characters in fantasy” is absurd. There’s a reason that the paranormal/fantasy romance genre of novels is so popular among girls!

        • Meittimies

          My girlfriend wouldve hated the game if there was no option for skimply clothes. Shes a huge fan of characters like Poison Ivy from Batman, loves turning all her rpg characters to sexy redheads. Its always good to have both options in the game.

          Personally I dont mind skimpy clothes in games where the setting allow them, like whimsical fantasy. In games like Mount & Blade I would scream foul since that game strives for realism in gear. Battle bikinis just wouldnt fit the game.

  • Idara

    Lyndsey makes a good point, When I first started gaming (back in the *cough* 1980s) I was a very rare creature as a women player, and that was certainly true through the 1990s as well. Not sure when it became more ‘acceptable’ for women to play computer games, but I still regard it as a fairly recent phenomenon.

    • Idara

      Sorry – meant that to be a reply to Lyndsay. My RPG skills ar esignificantly better than my forum skills… 😉

  • Ryxl

    Nothing but anecdotal evidence here, but I’m one of the women who backed D:OS2 the day it launched, and my boyfriend backed the D:OS kickstarter for me as a gift. I sank 150 hours into it on Steam, getting every single one of the achievements. I also played Divine Divinity on my (now ex-)boyfriend’s computer back in the day (spiritual damage goes ‘kish’, and poison goes ‘womm’!), which is why I made high-pitched noises at D:OS and I’m making more high-pitched noises at D:OSEE. I feel like I should mention that neither of the two men tangentially involved in my relationship with the Divinity series ever finished either game. Draw what conclusions you will, I guess?

  • Emil

    Not being a woman I don’t really have any ideas, apart perhaps from it still not being quite as socially acceptable for women to very openly express interest in “nerdy” things. In general, in many places.

    My girlfriend suggests getting a (stronger) presence on Tumblr, like a PR-run Tumblr page for Larian and/or Divinity: Original Sin. She also suggests ensuring merchandise is available in women’s sizes and styles. Though to be honest we have not checked to see whether you already do that.

    • Emil

      One more suggestion (written by Emil’s girlfriend): Make a video with interviews with your female employees and their roles in developing your game(s), how they got their job/background/education and their favorite game to play etc in order to showcase women in the gaming industry.

  • Kitty Crawford

    For me growing up and playing old school RPGs, it just never entered my mind to go out seeking other people that played the games or made the games. I just loved getting engrossed in the worlds and story as they were presented and for me RPGS like that are a solitary experience. I dunno if it’s the same for other women, I can’t really talk for my entire gender, but even today it just doesn’t occur to me very often to go seeking out the devs because that was never an option in the past, and I don’t play particularly games for the community element, I play them because I love losing myself in that games world (even though IRL I love geeking out about stuff when it happens!). Plus, have you seen the gaming community out there recently? Even looking at some of the responses to your tweet, I’m kinda disgusted with how stereotypically minded the responses seem. Why in the world would I wanna interact with that, when I can hole up and lose myself in a game? Is the point of games not to distract yourself from real world bs and lose yourself in a fantastical story of mystery and mystique? I’ve never played D:OS, and not because I don’t like those kind of games (in fact, I LOVE them), but D:OS just seemed… lack luster, for want of a better word, and before the game came out I remember watching the clusterfuck that was reddit losing it’s bananas over the old lack of female armour troupe (you know, male has proper armour, lady does not, her ovaries protect her stomach dammit!), and whilst I think it was reviewed and changed, it was enough to stop me bothered to show any further interest in the game. Younger me probably wouldn’t have even registered it, young me didn’t care and would have happily lost myself in the world you created, but older me is sick of the very clear fan service and present me would rather not engage and instead play games that don’t cater to that.

    • Idara

      I’m totally in agreement, and that’s pretty much been my experience too.

      The ‘discussion’ about ‘boob plate’ on the kickstarter forum today was one I avoiding joining in, because I knew if I did I would be labelled an ‘SJW’. And don’t even get me started on how perjorative *that* term is 😉

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Lack luster! D:OS!?! Arrrrghhh… Anyway – everybody entitled to their taste in games and all that, but obviously we have different tastes. I can only say, if you like RPGs, you should really give it a go, it’s not as bad as everybody says 🙂

      On topic, what you say was also a feeling echoed by some of the women in the company: for them, the RPG communities (which I consider to be much bigger than those posters that try to ruin the party for everybody) just don’t have any appeal, and they’ll play the hell out of a game when it gets released.

      • JackDandy

        One has to wonder why a person that never played D:OS, finds it lack luster and sees no point in engaging with communities is replying to your blog post just a few hours after you posted it…

    • Moridin

      While i can totally understand your reaction, things like “Why in the world would I wanna interact with that…” etc. do not really help creating a more mature discussion culture.
      Some people with certain opinions are very loud, but the gaming community has a lot more to offer and i think there are enough places where these people are not present.

      On topic i only can say that none of my female friends who play games do play turn based games – MMOs and casuals are preferred like @Idara stated.

      • Kitty Crawford

        I can see what you mean, and like I said IRL I love the discussions I have with people in the gaming community – it’s just online I find it tend to dissolve into madness. So in person, I love meeting other gamers, online I just don’t usually want to take the chance.

        I get that you’re drawing off personal experience but I, as a female gamer, love turn based games etc. Unfortunately it’s hard to take your personal friendships as a wider demographic of an entire gender, in the same way I can’t speak for an entire gender either.

  • Haba

    All studies I’ve seen on the subject show that cRPG genre (excluding MMOs) is predominantly male. Like 80-90% male. So I would be very surprised if DOS was an exception to this rule. All the female cRPG fans I know hang in the same circles as the “rest of us” do, so I wouldn’t sweat too much over this. In fact, the more effort you put into it, the more you end up alienating your core audience – women and men alike. Casual farmville gamers (where this mythical 50/50 split comes from) have nothing in common with PC gamers.

  • Liz

    I’d suspect that a lot of women are playing it, because its a great game and the treatment of women in the game is pretty decent. There are a lot of female characters, you can play a female character, 95% of the interactions with female characters don’t make you cringe and flow naturally as part of the plot, which is a great plot.

    But it does seem likely to me that women aren’t going to get involved in the culture, the buzz around the game, or even the kickstarter in its early phases. Women may love playing games but it takes a thick skin to talk about them. I’m not sure about the kickstarter part but I could see waiting until the game came out and then seeing what people thought of it before buying, because getting involved in the creation and discussion might be the same old problems.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Pretty much what most women around me told me so I’m starting to believe this is really what’s going on. Which made me reconsider some of our marketing completely. Most of the PR/Mkt we do is focussed at marketing the game before release and then yelling a lot about the scores when the game is released… on the same channels. So where should we be yelling about it?

      • Elilla Shadowheart

        “So where should we be yelling about it?”
        Depends on what you’re targeting for right? Most women gamers get their game information from the same place that guys do, specialized gaming sites or big name sites. I’m female, I’m a gamer, you won’t find me on IGN, Gamespot or anything like that. But you’ll find me reading sites like Bluesnews, Darkside of Gaming(DSO Gaming), Nichegamer, Lewdgamer(NSFW) and so on. Like guys, many will also hear it though word of mouth from their partner as well.

        If you’re targeting the social networks and so on, you might get more draw or interest. But generally the women who use them fall directly into the casual market, something that D:OS/etc don’t fall into. You’re also likely to get the “omg, sexy boob plate–ew” puritan crowd as well, which will scream, yell, and make the core people you’re looking at for the audience angry if you change something outside of what they expect. Especially if you start changing things because some group of people is screaming because xyz thing offends their sensibilities, they’re also likely not going to be your customers to boot. Which means you’re changing content for those that’d never play, while angering those who would be playing.

        If you’re curious, I’ve been gaming since I was a kid. The first game I played was radar rat race(vic 20), and enjoy my cRPG’s, my sister enjoys her cRPG’s, and is looking forward to D:OS2 as well. It was our brother who got us started on the divinity series.

      • LeocadiaLee

        I’d say, look for gaming websites that are female friendly. I also would never go to IGN, Gamespot etc. Personally, I get most of my gaming news (including this Kickstarter, which I backed!) from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. But they already do cover your stuff a lot, and clearly adore you, so I’m not sure you can do much better there!

        Interetingly, a lot of the more female-centered sites I follow tend to talk about games after they’ve been released, which goes with what you’re saying (critical distance, femhype etc.) I’m a LOT more interested in a thoughtful in-depth analysis of a game than by pre-release hype. That got me to buy several games.

      • Meittimies

        One very notable venue is Youtube, it has all but trumped more traditional gaming sites nowadays. That AngryJoe video we can see your face in has more than 100,000 views already. Odds are theres bound to be female players amidst crowds as huge as that as well. And theres female youtubers too, like Dodger and her PressHeartToContinue channel. So I guess one way to find your female audience is to look for female youtuber and youtubers generally who play these kind of games.

      • Sidea

        As a woman, I tend to get most of my gaming news from Facebook. I do “like” the big sites like IGN, Polygon, Kotaku, and the like. I actually heard about D:OS from smaller groups on facebook for fans of the C-RPG genre. I also heard about Pillars of Eternity that way, which I rarely ever hear about from any other source.

      • epick

        These days I read a bunch of Polygon (where I heard about this in the first place!), the Mary Sue (which is a great nerdy site all about being inclusive with female and queer groups) and Rock Paper Shotgun. If you’re actually showing that you’re trying to do good audience outreach, I’m sure those sites will be happy to help.

    • Anonymous

      Have you played it Liz?

  • Black_imp

    I don’t know whether it’s related at all with the current issue, but one thing that strikes me when looking at the kickstarter is how much it is tailored to your current fanbase, up to the point where the first thing you see when you get to the kickstarter frontpage after the video is not an explanation of what the game is, but the stretchgoals.
    And even when we get to explanations, they’re very succinct and assume the viewer knows much about the original game.

    It works well for your active fanbase, but much less for the occasional viewer, and let’s be honest most of us who are actively following you already backed D:OS2. Making the frontpage friendlier to newcomers could help in the long run in my opinion.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      That’s actually a really good point. Thank you for pointing that out.

  • Stabbey

    Eh? How would Larian know how many D:OS 2 backers are women? I don’t remember filling out a mandatory gender field when making a Kickstarter account. In fact, my Kickstarter profile doesn’t even HAVE a gender field. So where is the “5% of backers are women” coming from?

    • Idara

      That’s a really good point. Neither does mine. I don’t know why I didn’t realise that earlier.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Even if it did have one, the data would be self reported (people who don’t like to volunteer information and therefore put it wrong, mistakes, people who want to screw with the statistics, people who just put the first anwser possible ect) and therefore worthless

  • R. T.

    I know a lot of women who play the game (myself included), but none of them post on gaming forums or like on Facebook. Also, on any profiles I use, I never select a gender (this includes Kickstarter).

    On the content of D:OS, after playing it I didn’t see anything in it that would put off female customers. In fact, I liked that the there are two main characters, one male and one female, who are portrayed in equal poses in the advertisements. Also, I liked the promised removal of “boob plate.” And playing the game was great. BUT…I did have a prior experience in the divinity games that put me off the first Kickstarter.

    I did not back because I remembered Divine Divinity and the portrayal of women in that game. (I am thinking of the dialogue in character creation.) I actually discussed this with someone who was plugging the kickstarter in a concurrent kickstarter I was backing. He said, “Well, that game was made a long time ago. Perhaps they have changed.” I thought about this for a long time, and I eventually decided to give the game a chance. (It did have really strong reviews from reviewers I trust, which helped.)

    I’m glad I tried it! It’s a really great game, and I don’t think there’s anything in the game itself that should concern you. I’m playing it co-op with a female friend who lives a day’s drive away. For the second game, I’m attempting to get a few more female friends to join in. We’ll see…

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      We all grow up 😉 Back then we had almost no women on our team, and while today there still aren’t as many as I’d hope, it’s slowly improving and it’s having a positive impact on our games.

      • Geegeegeek

        Genuine question: Why does it matter?

        What does it matter that a team is 100% female, 100% male or 50/50? What does it matter that the audience consists mostly of a specific demographic? Just make the game you want to make, considering that seems to have worked for you so far.

        • Raze

          Having a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to draw on generally tends to help any creative process.

  • Melibellule

    The fact that you’re worried about the gender distribution is great. But I wonder how much that misogynistic blog post by one of your artists might have contributed to that. I know it set me off back in the day, even if I bought D:OS1 in the end (I’m female)

    • JackDandy

      Because he didn’t like how journalists threatened to blacklist their game?
      “Misogynistic”? Really?

      People like you make that term lose all meaning.

    • JohnQuincyAdams

      Is this really what the gaming world has come to?

      You’re right. The post should not have been made.
      Instead of changing their art style, they should have told the people to fuck off and did it anyway.

      But no, by saying they were bullied, they are misogynistic. You are pathetic

      • Melibellule

        Thank you both for proving my point by being completely unable to have a normal discussion without jumping directly to insults. I’m glad Swen can see how women are treated when they share what have shocked them, right on his blog post.

        • Kami3k

          We get it, you hate men and are a proud support of killallmen hashtag.

          • Melibellule

            No, I’m not. You don’t know me yet it doesn’t prevent you from jumping to stupid conclusions.
            I’m a CEO of a company of 12 in the videogame industry, most of them being fine gentlemen I enjoy greatly working with. I am mature enough to separate the chaff from the wheat, and go beyond generalities, unlike you it seems.

          • Kami3k

            “You don’t know me yet it doesn’t prevent you from jumping to stupid conclusions.”

            Yet you called the artist of that blog post a misogynist and never met them either. And yes, you did call them that, you can’t not write something “misogynistic” without being one. Especially in the context of that post.

            GTFO with your typical hypocrisy.

            ” I am mature”

            That is why words trigger you so much, lmfao.

    • Vometia

      I’m not sure I’d describe the post in question as misogynistic, a word which I’m slightly wary of throwing around without good reason, but it did seem to be a little reactive and ill-advised. But overall I can’t say it seemed especially significant to me, though of course just speaking personally.

      • Melibellule

        Thank you for sharing your opinion in a respectful way (sure hasn’t been the norm today)
        I honestly don’t remember every single word of this blog post, but it struck me as such at the time. It was the first contact I had with the Divinity series (probably followed a link from a social media) and I can clearly remember thinking “wow, that guy sure is a jerk” and being wary about buying the product he was working on (I bought it to make my own opinion eventually)
        Maybe misogynistic doesn’t hold the same force in English as the word “misogyne” in French, might be a case of lost in translation here. I’m definitely glad Swen takes the gender distribution seriously, and I’m sure it’s a common concern at Larian, just sharing that first experience I had with their product.

        • Vometia

          I remember just scratching my head and wondering what was up with it: I half thought it was satire. But it just didn’t really say that much to me and I moved on. Which is surprising in itself because I so often like to have a good rant about things, but I guess that I’ve been involved with video games for such a long time that I realise most people I know are interested in the game itself rather than undermining their “competition”, and I never really cared much for the latter anyway.

          I don’t deny that actual misogynists exist and I’m sure that the translation means much the same (I’ll just quickly skim over how badly I did at French when I was at school… back in the 1870s!) but really I’d rather give them the attention they deserve. Which is none.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I never thought that particular debate was an intellectually honest debate. The one thing I can tell you is that this particular artist certainly isn’t misogynistic and it hurt him quite a lot that people were saying that. But the internet is the internet of course and it will interpret things the way it wants.

      • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

        An artist really doesn’t have to be misogynistic to simply not realise the disparity between their representations. I used to draw equally or even more hyper-sexualised women myself. It’s what’s out there, for the most part, and none of us learn in a vacuum. One of the easiest ways to try and correct that tendency is to draw a heroic pose without deciding on the character gender first and then marginally adjust it to the male or female skeletal structure.

  • Kamfrenchie

    honestly, i think this study isn’t really accurate. Ofc, i can only tak about my experience, but even at recent years in university, girls wouldn’t talk about video games. I belong to a wargame club and we don’t have a single woman among our members, even tough we’re hardly macho or anything.
    I layed some mmo, and though i never rally bothered to ask, i’m pretty sure my guilds were like 90% male at least.

    I’m not sure which game they picked to get those results.

    Now, among fans that go to conventions there might be more girls, or maybe the are more willing to come, but among the rest of gamers ? I’d bet my hand it’s still 90-10.

    Like seriously, i’m not sure any girl plays company of heroes 2 or act of aggression

  • Tarian

    Well, kickstarter has a “by men, for men” feel to it.
    I’ve been lurking on kickstarter for a few years, just looking at the games but I’ve never felt compelled to back a project. BUT I do buy the games I’m interested in once they come out. (D:OS and PoE for example)
    I don’t even bother looking at stuff outside of the game category as it’s seems to be mostly gadgets/clothes/wallets aimed at men.

    I did finally back D:OS2 though because I figured, why not, I’ll end up buying it anways. First time I’ve used kickstarter too.

    For my game news I go to three sites:
    Kotaku, Polygon and TheMarySue(geek site aimed at women)
    I knew about the kickstarter from either Kotaku or Polygon but I noticed that nothing got posted on TheMarySue about this project? Did they not get contacted or was the info not compelling enough for an article.
    I never go to the big subreddits about gaming and I haven’t gone to ‘big’ gamesites in years.

    For D:OS2 there’s even a bigger emphasis on coop – but I prefer to play on my own and I think that’s true for a lot of female gamers.
    None of my friends or my partner are into gaming and eventhough at work I hear colleagues talking about games, I never let on that I game.
    Finding someone to play with online is not worth the risk, just recently I made the mistake of joining voice chat in Heroes of the Storm with a group I’d been playing with for a few weeks and their reaction just ruined everything.

  • Márk Juhász

    I was quite disappointed when I saw that I can choose from far less female portraits for my characters than male ones in D:OS. Even though I am male.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      That certainly wasn’t the intention so I don’t know what the reason for that was. I’m guessing it’s something as trivial as the artist who worked on the portraits running out of time and it never being revisited, but I’ll ask around.

      • MBirkhofer

        Ps. That would be an excellent crowdfunding stretch goal….
        More portraits was one of the first things moders did. increasing ease of use there, not a bad idea. There is also even the possibly of crowdsourcing there more. Including community artwork. “top 5 portraits will be included in the game!” type stuff. or pathofexile style, gives us $1000usd and will make your portrait in the game.

        • Stabbey

          I’d rather not have more portraits. I think more portraits is the wrong way to go.

          You can create a good-sized variation on looks using D:OS’s character creator, and there are nowhere close to the amount of portraits to match those looks. So rather than instead of making a piddly number of new portraits, how about something to solve the problem?

          I’d like an automated system that can capture the face of a character in the character creator and make a portrait from that. Ta-da, you have now got all the portraits you could ever need.


          • MBirkhofer

            Also a good idea. that was a problem I had as well. My characters just didn’t look anything like my portraits. Shadowrun returns has the same problem. A EveOnline portrait creator is not a bad idea. The “problem” is it takes a bit away from the handpainted look.

          • Pintheshadows

            You could do that in Wasteland 2 to an extent.

      • JackDandy

        Simply make it so you can import player portraits 🙂

    • Stabbey

      Are you sure? Because I just checked and there are the same number of portraits for both males and females (32), and the same number of everything else (15). Now maybe more were added in after release, but…

      • Márk Juhász

        Yes, the numbers are the same, but the female portraits all have the exact same face, only their hair and eye colors (and other details like tattoos and such) are different.

  • Stabbey

    Unless you know how *exactly* you’re getting this data, then it is really suspect. RPG Codex says that Google Analytics decides if a browser is male or female based essentially on gender stereotyping – if it visits certain types of sites, it’s most likely a male user. If other sites, it’s a female user.

    While that is better than the unsettling notion that they actually ARE spying on everyone to the extent of knowing the exact gender of everyone who uses the browser, it’s still just guesswork.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Yes, that is certainly one theory that would explain things.There are some Google/Facebook people reading this blog, so hopefully they’ll tell us if this is indeed is a case of the analytics sucking or not.

      • Silvara

        Yes that stereotyping would be correct in my opinion, I looked into why I was receiving certain ads in Google a while back and could see that their Analytics classed my as a 25-30 male due to my frequent browsing of online gaming websites. FYI I am a 30+ female who just happens to have been addicted to gaming for 25 or so years, so have a tendancy to view those webistes over those considered ‘girlie’ (fashion, gossip, etc – I know I am totally stereotyping there myself though!)

        I will also add that I backed both D:OS & D:OS2 at their kickstarter launches since I’ve always loved RPGs, especially when the story allows for me to choice a female character as my main (although I certainly don’t mind when we don’t have the choice if the storyline is good enough). It’s good to see more balanced stories becoming the mainstream in this day and age than there used to be for male and female characters, rather than just having to ‘save the damsel in distress’ or something to that effect..

        As for women who play games, I have worked for a major games developer for the past few years so almost all of my female friends play games (and certainly not just games such as candy crush or farmville, as certain media sources seem to think that we do). I think almost everyone that I can think of prefers a good storydriven game, but we do team up and play an occasional FPS or MMO on our lunchbreaks as well!

      • Dee Dee

        I think that may explain why I used to receive ads for Viagra, testosterone products, etc.. Not to mention the large no. of ads featuring matchmaking with hottie ladies. Now, I think I might know why. 😛 Of course it was all mixed up with woman’s stuff… they just couldn’t seem to decide if I was male or female.


    • Silvara

      Yes that stereotyping would be correct in my opinion, I looked into why I was receiving certain ads in Google a while back and could see that their Analytics classed my as a 25-30 male due to my frequent browsing of online gaming websites. FYI I am a 30+ female who just happens to have been addicted to gaming for 25 or so years, so have a tendancy to view those webistes over those considered ‘girlie’ (fashion, gossip, etc – I know I am totally stereotyping there myself though!) 🙂

  • VelvetShadows

    I question how accurate Google’s analytics are in this case. If you’re logged in and have a Google+ profile with your gender defined it uses that… but we know Google+ usage is low so many users likely don’t have an account or haven’t taken the time to fill out their profile and left it blank.

    In the absence of such Google judges gender based on interests determined by search results and it genders specific interests as being indicative of gender. Their ad platform characterizes games as being a strong indicator of being male so within this context of a kickstarter for a game Google may have an unusually high number of errors.

    No idea how Kickstarter identifies the gender of users as my profile doesn’t even have a space tospecify that.

    It’s also possible although I have no idea if this is true, that kickstarter’s user base skews towards men which may lead to a higher percentage of male backers relative to male players.

    D:OS offers plenty of room for self expression so I wouldn’t think it would drive women away from playing it. There is nothing you’re doing wrong within the game in my opinion. Not sure if there is any good research into the genre preferences of either gender.

    I like D:OS and know another girl who also plays it… But that’s a small sample and obviously of little value in indicating overall trends.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Can I ask you how you found out about D:OS? After reading the reactions and discussing it some more, I’m starting to conclude that a) the analytics are a misrepresentation and/or b) most women with an interest in games like this only pay attention when the games are released (meaning we should be spending more attention as a company to keep on spreading the word about our game post-release, something we’re not really doing)

      • VelvetShadows

        I found out about it a month or two before it originally launched, was brought to my attention by a friend who knew I harbored nostalgia for similar much older games, and enjoyed slower paced RPG’s.
        Since I’d already played and liked some of your older software I took a closer look at it then I typically would for an unreleased game.
        Took a chance at launch, and it worked out spectacularly. 🙂

        I can’t speak for others but personally, I tend not to pay much attention to upcoming games. I’m apathetic to E3, and just generally don’t care to watch preview trailers and such so unless it’s from a developer/series I already know and trust a great deal I’m generally not up to date on what’s in development.

        I usually assume that anything of interest to me I’ll stumble across accidentally at some point or more likely a friend would point it out to me. I’m involved with someone in the industry so he’ll normally point out things I might like.

        Whether this is necessarily true for others, I couldn’t begin to guess though. But at least for me, your assumption that I would only pay attention post launch is typically true.

  • Fox

    According to Sergei Galyonkin (the SteamSpy guy) approximately half of all gamers are female, but less than a quarter visit Steam–which would seem to imply that PC gaming is dominated more by male gamers. https://medium.com/steam-spy/some-things-you-should-know-about-steam-5eaffcf33218

    Of course, then there’s this article on DeveloperTech that states women tend to prefer RPG games, while men tend to prefer FPS games. http://www.developer-tech.com/news/2014/oct/28/gamer-study-women-prefer-rpgs-men-prefer-fps/

    And PC Gamer also referenced a study that indicated PC gamers were comprised of more women than men. http://www.pcgamer.com/researchers-find-that-female-pc-gamers-outnumber-males/

    Ultimately, though, I figure most of the demographic tools we have to look at these things simply aren’t very precise. The Divinity games have ALWAYS had a bit of a visibility problem, for reasons I can only speculate to, and that probably further limits the diversity of your audience. Many people have already posted suggestions for things you can do to increase that visibility, but I would also suggest that you re-examine your demographics in about a year’s time, as I imagine getting DOS:EE out on consoles should broaden things considerably.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      My point remains that I think my audience is more diverse than the stats say 😉 But – it was interesting to see that Sergei revised his figures to there only being 4% women (and 48% with gender unknown). I think the analytic tools all this data is coming from are shaky. I bet you Steam or perhaps GOG know more though. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t something they’d want to know.

      • Derp

        “I think my audience is more diverse than the stats say”

        Why do you care so much or obsess over how “diverse” your audience is, instead of how many copies you can sell with the type of game you want to make? Does the money certain people spend on said games smell better?

        If you for some reason want to tap a more female audience you are hardly going to do that job with a tactical ARPG. Maybe develop a musical dance/singing game or casual products similar to Bejeweled or Farmville for different platforms like Mobile or Facebook. Social, Puzzle and in many cases classic Adventure games have a much larger female playerbase and interest from that market segment than Turn-Based RPGs.

        • conchis

          More diversity = more sales, genius. Did you even read the blog post? Swen’s perception is that plenty of women do play Divinity, but very few are aware of the Kickstarter or engage with the game pre-release, and he’s wondering why.

          Attitudes like yours are one of the main reasons, I would say. You make gaming a very unwelcoming place.

          • Derp

            That’s not really the case, see for instance GTA V with it’s 55 million sales that is at least 85% male: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/08/10/grand-theft-auto-5-has-now-sold-54-million-copies

            The large majority of Larians player-base and KickStarter backers voted on Uservoice what they want to see more of, this is the top suggestion: http://larian.uservoice.com/forums/314766-divinity-original-sin-2-game-ideas/suggestions/9288855-adult-mode and he could increase sales in his main demographic by following said tips.

            The large (silent) majority of women playing these games also like looking sexy and dressing up too, see for instance the large adoption of games like TERA or Scarlet Blade among the female player base: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/343164/ http://ezinearticles.com/?Do-Girls-Like-Playing-The-TERA-Online-Game&id=7059319 http://www.aeriagames.com/forums/en/viewtopic.php?t=1793473 or stats gathered by the League of Legends team: http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=2805408&page=106#post31555980 or the split between good-looking and hideous female characters in World of Warcraft, where the Blood Elves were largely introduced because female players wanted to have “appealing” women on the side of the Horde: http://i.imgur.com/EzfBoOC.png

            What Swen is looking to do here would likely decrease the sales in his main demographics (adult males) and among the majority of women that like sexy characters to satisfy a vocal minority that resides on Tumblr and constantly complains about “gender”.

          • Raze

            So what is Swen “looking to do”, since it apparently isn’t to understand the difference between the demographic stats and expectations?

          • Derp

            Ignoring his own data, ignoring the wishes of the majority of his existing customer base, ignoring his own designers, ignoring data other people presented in favor of personal anecdotes (likely mixed with people that wouldn’t play his Tactical RPG in the first place) that seem to align with his personal beliefs, saying that Google Analytics is supposedly doing a bad job at what is their main business and making billions with because of a few comments.

            I hope he follows every single of advice on here and lets Tumblr itself design his games from now on, maybe we can use Larian as a cautious example afterwards. 😛

          • Raze

            How did you determine the wishes of the majority of the existing customer base, and in what way are they being ignored? In what way are the designers being ignored?
            Google Analytics makes guesses on data when it doesn’t have anything else to go on, and has been shown to be inaccurate in multiple cases. Being useful for marketing doesn’t make it accurate enough for all applications, and being inaccurate on categories doesn’t matter if you are still reaching people who would be interested in what is being advertized. Profiling based on postal code / zip code is frequently used in marketing, as well, but nobody would argue it was accurate on a small scale (ie all households in a particular region have exactly the same income and spending habits, etc).

      • Fox

        I’m not sure how Steam or GOG would even be able to know, though. The thing about gaming these days, what with digital and distribution and all, is that there’s really no way to KNOW the the demographic distributions for any given product, outside of the (incredibly small) minority of consumers who would willingly volunteer that information.

        So what we end up with is a bunch of talk based on supposition and assumption and very little data, which is only marginally accurate at best.

        Which is… very shaky ground. With a whole lot of variables that are about as substantial as a puff of smoke. Ultimately I think the best thing is not to worry so much about what the stats you find do or don’t say, nor concern yourself unduly with how those statistics compare to your personal impressions… rather, simply focus on making your games as inclusive of as many different demographics as you can.

        A gamer is a gamer is a gamer, after all.

      • Eveline Frei

        Well, if it’s a matter of “interest in gardening” instead of eg. “interest in math or physics, etc.” I’ll be counted as male every time. I know fewer women than men who’d be counted as women in such a comparison. So I’d take the Google stats with a big heap of salt. The gog stats are probably a bit better 🙂

        Don’t forget that probably quite a few people enter the opposite sex as gender or leave it empty for their own reasons.

        I can see no real way to get reliable numbers about genders on the Internet unless one must sign up with a verifiable name, address, etc. and even then the acct could be shared.

    • John Smith

      Both links talk about same study 😛

      Anyway, it would be interesting to learn which RPG games women played, Was that “hardcore RPGs”, or was that Bioware “Dating-Sims, but with shooting” (funny thing is, both RPGs and Dating Sims can be same Bioware game, all depends on difficulty settings and your mindset while playing it 🙂 ; friend of mine played Dragon Age 2 only to see cute Hawke and Fenris and asked me to help her get some cheats so she wouldn’t have troubles getting to more scenes between “those hot cakes”).

  • Charles

    Well if gender isn’t specified in Analytics or KS and guess work is involved, that means profiling. Who’s to say interest in RPGs isn’t profiled as male in their algorythm? In which case only the few that have sufficient data to override that would turn out as female.

  • Audie Bakerson

    The “50/50” number has been throughly debunked by now. It’s the result of counting EVERYONE possible (played snake on your phone once in a line in the 1990s? You’re a gamer!) as a single “gamer” point. The study in question was created because the ESA (the source of the study) wants to claim it represents as many people as it possibly can to make itself look more important, which is natural.

    The actual ratio, according to studies that were designed for anything other than helping the ESA puff out its chest, is about 7 to 1. You should be seeing ~12.5% female statisticly, and 9% is well within the margin of error.


    • Bayked

      Translation: statistics are lame, let me make some up of my own that I like better.

      Okay, sport.

      • ThatGuy

        Have a comment, free of charge!

      • Audie Bakerson

        The video (and its description if you don’t feel like reading) actually cites the source in question.

      • Anonymous

        Translation: “I’m an illiterate piece of shit that can’t read a comment before I make a snarky content free reply”!

    • CSStrowbridge

      “The ’50/50′ number has been thoroughly debunked by now. It’s the result
      of counting EVERYONE possible (played snake on your phone once in a line
      in the 1990s? You’re a gamer!) as a single ‘gamer’ point.”

      Two points.

      1.) Anita Sarkeesian used a similar definition for gamer as you do and people attacked her for it.
      2.) Their actual definition is three hours a week, not once in a lifetime.

      By the way, if you use Christina Hoff Sommers as a source for anything, then you are not going to be treated seriously by the reality-based community.

      • Audie Bakerson

        Ah yes, using a woman (who isn’t even the direct source, just behind an essay that cites it) as a source means I can’t be treated seriously by “the reality-based community” (where I’m sure XY=XX, the earth is getting hotter unless it’s getting colder but then they’re both the fault of the same thing, a man getting his head pounded into the pavement was a cold blooded murderer, and a guy who just robbed a convience store dindunothin despite all evidence to the contrary)

        Good MAN! Keep eating shit off their gills and you’ll get laid eventually (maybe)

        • Geary

          Using a right-wing ideologue who devotes all their time to bashing feminism and feminists as a source with a straight face will not get you treated seriously by the reality-based community.

          • Audie Bakerson

            So you dismiss statistics based not on the methodolgy used, but because someone who had no part in study that determined it CITED it once due to them being “right-wing” (even though she’s a Democrat?)?

            You sound really pleasant to be around. I’m sure it’s everyone else’s fault for creating a “toxic atmosphere” women don’t enter though.

          • Geary

            Fred Phelps was also a registered Democrat. Being a registered Democrat doesn’t mean anything in a voting system where your registration doesn’t restrict you vote in the general election.

            Additionally, the video doesn’t cite any studies within the video itself or in the description, it only links the website of the right-wing think-tank she works for.

          • Audie Bakerson

            The video and description refer to a UCLA study that’s easily found with a search engine. Try again.

        • CSStrowbridge

          “Earth is getting hotter unless it’s getting colder but then they’re both the fault of the same thing pleasegiveusmoney”

          You don’t think Global Warming is real?

          Thanks for proving it is pointless to talk to you.

          • Audie Bakerson

            Don’t you know it’s called “Climate Change” now?

  • Waswat

    Why is this such a strange thing for you?

    I think there’s 2 possibilities and this is just my opinion on it:

    1) The the classic cRPGs like baldurs gate or icewind dale were, from my observations, mostly played by the male gaming demographic. After a loooong period of publishers being afraid to publish those kinds of games, these same male gamers are excited about finally seeing them rise back up. It was a stale genre. In the time this genre was dormant, the amount of female gamers rose quickly. I’m gonna go and guess that most of these people did not grow up playing cRPGs therefore are not actively searching for these types of games. They might see a few good reviews of D:OS and decide to pick it up but kickstart them? I think it’s not that likely.

    2) Certain genres/types of games appeal more to the male audience than other genres? Let’s face it, D:OS is quite a complex game; there is a lot of methodical problemsolving to be done for certain battles and I believe that kind of thinking appeals to the male psyche. It is what sets the classical cRPGs apart from the modern RPGs like DA:Inquisition where the interpersonal relationships are much more the focus.

    There has been quite some research done on what males like to do vs what females like to do but in the end it does not matter. What matters is that YOU (the guys and gals at Larian Studios) make the game YOU want to make.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I don’t have the stats handy but I think your first point may be right – back then the amount of women gamers was lower than now so any communication done referring those games could be lost. As to 2 – Some of our biggest fans are women so I don’t think there’s any gender dependence. It’s one of the reasons why I was so surprised by those numbers.

      • Waswat

        I replied to Kaycee Watson with a bit more info on that second point. Problem is, all we got is anecdotes and skewed statistics so we can’t really get much out of it.

      • Gary

        There will always be exceptions to certain “rules”, but generally across large swaths of genres, and platforms men and women choose different games to play because male and female interests are simply different. There is some overlap with certain games & genres but when you get into the “hardcore” games and out of the “casual” games it’s still primarily a largely male-dominated market.

        • Eliah Ryan

          Interesting, Skyrim (the biggest and most mainstream RPG in a decade) only got 30% female players, with Mass Effect at 14% and yet we’re supposed to believe that women make up a higher percentage of RPG players? there is something wrong with the study he is citing. what are they counting as RPGs? maybe women are attracted to certain types of RPG’s that men aren’t.

          • ulsark

            There is nothing wrong with it,
            A study came out I think last year about the gaming demographic and it included social games (i.e facebook games ,which they considered mmo) and smartphone ones (those with any kind of rpg elements are considered rpgs).

            The results weren’t surprising.

          • Hannes Steenkamp

            In other words… the “study” puffed up the numbers, to make it seem there are more female gamers?

          • ulsark

            And you are wrong for denouncing it, since it is the notorious No true gamer fallacy.

            What it does mean, is that those demographics should be taken into account differently by iOS/Android dev scompared to coregaming devs, and isometric old school rpgs aren’t really juste “core”, while not being hardcore either.

          • Kami3k

            “No true gamer fallacy.”

            Doesn’t exist. Gamer has never included the likes of those who play candy crush and facebook games.

            Look at that list, the most popular and profitable games were male dominated, by a near complete dominance in some games. Those who play Candy Crush, etc are not the drivers of the gaming industry in anyway.

          • Thorbjorn Lyk

            What you are doing is exactly a “No true gamer fallacy”

          • Kami3k

            Except Gamer has never included the likes of those who play candy crush and facebook games.

            Does driving a car make someone a gearhead? no you simpleton.

          • Tehy

            Thorbjorn, this is hardly a no true gamer fallacy.

            is saying ‘no true Scotsman is born outside of Scotland and has no scottish blood in him’ a no true scotsman fallacy? At a certain point, you can say people are outside of a certain group.

          • Hannes Steenkamp

            “And you are wrong for denouncing it, since it is the notorious No true gamer fallacy.”

            Come now? You can’t seriously think the same people who play games like Crusader kings 2, Total war and Mount and blade are the same ones playing The sims, candy crush and farmville.

            While I do agree there are can be crossovers between more main stream games like GTA and RPG’s like Diablo as well as City builders and even Starcraft (much more mainstream the the examples I gave), but It’s a real leap in logic to claim that women now make up 48 to 52% of the gaming demographic (as the “studies” the media is trying to push, claim) by including farmville players as I believe they did. (Facebook according to Alexa is the most second popular site on the web) http://www.alexa.com/topsites

            Of course to know one surprise woman make up the majority of facebook users as well and I would bet they spend longer hours using it as well. http://www.businessinsider.com/2014-social-media-demographics-update-2014-9.

            I am sorry, but I dismiss studies out of hand if they trying to push an agenda.

          • ulsark

            There is a great thing called sarcasm, you may have heard of it.

          • Hannes Steenkamp

            Yesss… Because reading tone in a piece of text is a special ability only I possess.

          • ulsark

            Yeah, I know, Poe’s law and all, but if you read some of the rest of the discussion, which you should do before posting a relatively long comment, you would have noticed.

          • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

            So, just a brief anecdote: I’m a huge Total War fan and play Crusader Kings II. I’ve been playing TW games since age 14. Also love The Sims and used to crush candy for a while. Female, too. There will be more like me, since you’re making this assertion on the debate page for a crpg, and not everyone who likes all of the above also likes Divinity.

          • Gary

            ” maybe women are attracted to certain types of RPG’s that men aren’t.”

            Most likely this. Men and women are different, cognitively and physically. As a sexually dimorphic species it would make logical sense that men and women would simply be naturally drawn to different things. Now, this is just a generality.. there are ALWAYS exceptions, but those exceptions don’t make the rule and that’s okay!

        • epick

          But the problem is, how many of these games have marketed directly at women? How can we be sure that specific types of “hardcore” titles wouldn’t interest women if they weren’t made and marketed for them?

          Like, DOTA 2’s female characters are fairly scantily clad. Every female character in Starcraft 2 was basically wearing a skin-tight body suit, but Raynor got to wear power armour. Who’s to say that an RTS or MOBA actually aimed at women wouldn’t have better numbers?

          • ulsark

            Yeah right, it’s the fault of the marketing and the games, I’d like to think that female gamers; hell, females, aren’t children getting scared by some semi lewd character designs going “ugh dats gross”, it’s really a form of infantilization.

            Where was the outrage about the objectification of Geralt, when he is showed naked taking a bath, or being a “fighting sex toy” during the bathhouse scene.

            Why does the critique of games coming from a female perspective has to be influenced by sex negative feminism instead of sex positive ones.

          • epick

            Two single instances of sexualizing one male character in the Witcher 3 is not equal to sexualizing nearly every main female character in that game. I enjoyed the Witcher 3, but it wasn’t without flaws, and one of them was most definitely that any female character of value with the exception of *maybe* Cerys was sexualized, whether or not their character called for it.

            A decent article on the concept of sexualizing male and female characters in games can actually be found here, if you’re actually interested in debating and not trolling (I’d be happy to have a conversation about this with you!):


          • epick

            They did do some fantastic work with some of the characterization though, especially with Ciri and her relationship to Geralt. It was seriously great.

          • ulsark

            >Two single instances of sexualizing one male character in the Witcher 3
            is not equal to sexualizing nearly every main female character in that

            That’s the thing, I have no issue with sexualisation of Geralt, I’ve seen people discussing those scenes with enthusiasm in /r/GirlGamers, and I apply the same reasoning to female characters (and somehow people don’t on this sub, for some reason).
            Yes sometimes it isn’t handled very well, but it isn’t a crime or worthy or shunning on social medias.
            Hell, the one flaw Witcher 3 may have is one line of dialogue if you persuaded Triss to stay, “Glad to see I can change you” or something and it was obviously a joke, I don’t know how it played out since it isn’t how I roleplay Geralt.

            I’ve seen plenty of people judging Witcher 3 as garbage on twitter and other places, “glad I didn’t buy it” just based on the word of mouth (or rather -150 characters, usually less) of people judging it solely based on one aspect seen through ideological lenses.

            Why is sexualization wrong? It reinforces stereotypes? Have you seen what’s going on in other media and mainstream culture?
            Do we need a new form of puritanism?

            >I would guess that this is due to the fact that women and queer people
            already are used to framing “personality” as core to “sexiness.”

            >Although important commentary has been made about the possible implications of fetishizing Ryu’s muscles and beard,
            and perhaps more should be said about how this plays into his
            characterization as a Japanese man, I think it’s also important to
            note how often the “Hot Ryu” meme divorced itself from fetishizing Ryu’s
            physical form, instead catapulting into exploring a pretend personality
            for him.

            I despise these line.
            There is nothing wrong with fetishising Ryu, but that would contradict the kind of rhetoric seen in the mary sue.

            This is about perception, where someone see only sexualisation, an other has a completely different perception.

            One of the reason I m pissed about Anita Sarkeesian’s critique, was what she said about Scully in her early TV critique attempt, she said the writers reduced her to a walking uterus for males (personified by mulder) to worry about and save.

            There is something seriously wrong with this kind of perceptions, and this is why I m more aligned with something Liana K might came out with rather than what comes out of the mary sue and AS

            >When people talk about “Hot Ryu,” they humanize and personify him
            > But there is no meme about cuddling with R. Mika on the couch
            while watching Netflix with her, because she is perceived as a sex
            object, not a person.

            And regular male gamers don’t do that with female characters? I m not talking about 12-14yo pumped with hormones, I m taking about the majority of gamers. How can you know those who talked about Hot Ryu do that, but those going “Triss is true waifu” don’t?

            That’s right, you can’t know, you have no proper tools to evaluate people’s behavior, and are reduced to generaliztions, and fyi generalizations are bad and effective, that’s why racists love them.

            As usual, a mary sue article that ends up telling very little in a lot of words.

            >It is okay to have a crush on a fictional videogame character. It is
            okay to find that character sexy. It is okay to write reams of
            fanfiction about them. It is more than just okay! And if you
            ask me, the best fantasy is one that prizes a partner’s humanity and
            participation. That seems like a sentiment worthy of endless

            Basically telling “it’s okay when we do it, because obviously we do it in a humane way, and we KNOW those male gamers don’t, except those who stand with us in our claims.”

            There is a reason why TheMarySue isn’t considered a legitimate source by wikipedia, it’s lack methodology and basis in proper sources and facts.

            Now you can say I m trolling if it pleases you, but this is my opinion, which you probably won’t even bother to read entirely since I do not agree with you, but hey hopefully you will, and in this case thanks, because this was quite long.

            Full disclosure, I m not a Street Fighter aficionado (beyond general knowledge of watching some tournament and a few videos) and am mostly a PC gamer, so I don’t often see what is usually way more offensive (Japanese games) and way more worthy (even if not in my eyes) of the kind of outrage western games seem to get.

          • Apocalypse

            You make a very long post, that I admittel could not bothered in the middle of the night fully, simply do late for me.

            But there is something that imho needs reply from your first paragraph. The dose makes the poison. We are living currently in a world that literally forces stereotypes and gender-roles into the thinking of us all. And the females seem to draw the short straw in this. It getting better though and in this environment overly sexualising female characters is not the best approach because it becomes part of the problem. A rather small part, but hey, I care about my hobbies, so I would like to have them as part of the solution instead at least sometimes.

            Not really important and with only having played the first two witchers: The females used to have their own stories, sometimes motivations besides their men and the most sexulized charcter is for sure geralt, because he is the guy who ‘suffers’ from extremely high libido as side effect of his witcher transformation. And this is part of the setting, he should have humping everything he could in the books as well. So I am not sure how the witcher series has a problem here. Most of the sex scenes I remember are about two adults enjoying their sex life.

          • Cheyenne Barrett

            Dude I agree with you, Dont let feminazis ( extremists, much like Christian Exremists, or any extremist really ) ruin female gamers in your eyes, honestly the more people push for less lewd characters, the more certain groups will blame me just for being born a femal…..you know what …….when the witcher stepped out of the bath all naked and sexy I was sad I couldnt get some butt shots…. I have always, for the 20 years I’ve been a gamer been against hipocracy.. I dont care if sex sells, media use sexy male actors to sell shit to women all the time… the only time i get upset is when i meet male extremists who judge me before they even know me. I’m not here to change the game industry, I’m here to play it so leave me in peace lol

            fyi to everyone else, I cant get enough of “hardcore” games, so its true maybe right now there are a bit more lewd females then there is males, but its changing, I’m starting to see more naked hunk in my games, and I aprove lol

          • ulsark

            Hey, for me gamer is and should be gender neutral, we’re all gametags after all, and we’re supposed to enjoy games, great games, in the same way.

            I really don’t like when people try to create cleavages between genders in the gaming community based on anecdotal grievances and manufactured, CPM generating, outrage over ideologies.

            More women are coming into game development, (and not running away because of misogyny) every day, and they choose to do so freely, they weren’t forced, coerced or encourage, they earn their right to make games.
            And that’s how diversity will be achieved in gaming, by women devs and designers being involved in making games, not by shunning existing devs and games, were made by talented men and women, which is something a lot of people seem to forget, just because there isn’t a 50/50 ratio yet.

          • Gary

            It might! But generally women (and men) don’t care about that sort of thing. There is an interesting study that’s been done called “He could be a bunny rabbit for all I care”. It showed that for the most part, men and women simply don’t really care about who the character they are playing as is, or what they look like. Unlike movies and books, there is a disconnect between the majority of video game players and the characters they are playing. Here’s the study: http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/he-could-be-a-bunny-rabbit-for-all-i-care-identification-with-video-game-characters-and-arguments-for-diversity-in-representation/

            Long story short.. people who play games regularly and frequently just.. simply don’t care about that sort of thing, or at least not enough for it to make a meaningful difference. They just want good games with a story that makes sense and solid functioning game mechanics and controls. Diversity / identity politics / marketing towards specific demographics really doesn’t factor into it much.

          • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

            THANK you. Gary, if you’re still watching: take note. Women *absolutely* care about how we’re represented, we just don’t normally get a whole lot of choice. We play games that disparage us by disconnecting and trying to enjoy them regardless, because it’s our beloved hobby. But it’s somewhat like trying to watch your favourite movie while being repeatedly hit in the face with a dead fish. When there *is* valid choice and good, heroic, non-pandering representation, and the game is still top-quality, that’s a surefire hit and female gamers (who like that genre of game, natch) are going to dash to buy a copy.

    • Kaycee Watson

      I think I can agree with your 1st point. Although I grew up with those games (female) I didn’t have any real-life female friends who gamed so I can see that potentially being true.

      Your 2nd point I’m less likely to concede without reading some of the research you mention. Even so, it’s really hard to control for things like society. It might appear that males prefer to perform more critical thinking/problem solving but is that because those are the types of activities that are encouraged during childhood (legos vs. barbies)? I have no idea. Nature vs. nurture. We may never know. That being said, my own personal life experience is in opposition to this point. I love these games because you often have to try several strategies to get through something. It makes you think in ways you might not ordinarily choose to play. Meanwhile my boyfriend quit D:OS because he didn’t have the patience and didn’t like that he would lose battles and have to restart. I prefer the complexity, he doesn’t. That being said, my life doesn’t apply to everyone, so you may still be right but I’m skeptical.

      I don’t think this post was made to suggest that they are going to alter their game to pander to women. They’re already making the game they want to make. Swen simply thinks that the current gameplay is already more attractive to women than the numbers are showing. It’s not about them changing the gameplay, if anything its about changing the marketing or at least being aware.

      • Waswat

        I remember reading several articles on it; I’m not sure if it is speculation. I am by no means a neuroscientist, statistician or psychologist so i never really delved deeply into it. I think it’s been called the “Empathizing–systemizing theory” by Baron-Cohen which has a wiki (for what it’s worth)


        Quick google gives me a more general article on the same topic:


        Yeah, it could very well be a nature vs nurture thing; or it could be evolutionary. It could also be overblown. I don’t know. I do think it does play a part in these numbers but I wouldn’t know how much.

        • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

          All I know is from observation backed by plenty of research (however divisive it is to some) shows us 100% that there are variations in behaviour between the genders dictated by biology.
          Hormones and brain structure. It’s inarguable, we can observe the effects of hormones on people and we have detailed analyses of brain scans (which also confirms gender dysphoria)

          Men and women are different, on a spectrum of sorts.
          Infinitely complex, so not a perfect binary, but “rules of thumb” certainly apply.

          I’ve often expressed it as this: gender is not a social construct (the idiocy we see pushed by gender ideologues) but the way we EXPRESS gender is often influenced by culture (which is in turn influenced by biology, complicating matters further and perpetuating the nonsense)
          Pink being feminine is a social construct, but women favouring pink is an expression of their gender identity. A personal choice dictated by biology. (I picked the silly/obvious one)

          I personally don’t see anything wrong or weak with women, so I do not see the controversy of admitting that men and women TEND to like different things and also WANT to express their gender. A man wants to be seen as a man, a woman wants to be seen as a woman. (and this applies very much to trans individuals, or why would it matter?)

          • Frank Drebin

            This “gender as a social construct” is kinda like creationism for atheists. It’s a complete denial of science, and the “research” behind is is sickening, just google David Reimer

          • Zhuinden

            I used to claim “gender is purely social”, but it honestly doesn’t make any sense. One should watch HJERNEVASK Episode 7 / 7.

          • Apocalypse

            Totally in agreement, even when I have no idea who Reimer is,

            At the same time we still have lots and lots and lots of people who see biological differences
            where there are none, or increase biological differences beyond biology.

            “gender is not a social construct (the idiocy we see pushed by gender ideologues) but the way we EXPRESS gender is often influenced by culture “

          • Apocalypse

            I totally gonna steal a few lines of you, especially this part: “I’ve often expressed it as this: gender is not a social construct (the idiocy we see pushed by gender ideologues) but the way we EXPRESS gender is often influenced by culture (which is in turn influenced by biology, complicating matters further and perpetuating the nonsense)”

            Besides that, pink used to the color of boys. It one of those classic examples used to show the silliness of gender expectations.

      • Tehy

        Nature vs. nurture, we will never know

        except for the fact that all the studies and data seem to point to nature, like, really strongly

        and nurture doesn’t make any sense (do you like the things you like because someone told you? No? So are you just that lone genius and everyone else is an idiot?)

        face it fuckboys, you made a great game and women don’t like it.

    • Bruno SALQUE

      I completely agree with your 1, but the 2 seems pretty lame (to me) : girl and men do enjoy this kind of recreation, as we both succeed in chess etc etc.

      • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

        That’s actually deeply controversial, believe it or not.
        Crazy feminists have even suggested that professional chess is sexist because women don’t often qualify as grand master. (women have separate rankings)
        So a game with set rules that everyone must abide by and no external or physical influences must be sexist because men *tend* to be better. The argument is that the game is “seen” as masculine, so women don’t try as hard… or some such silliness. Meanwhile, the male chess nerds that got mocked, beaten and bullied for playing were *actually* being subtly encouraged to excel because… reasons.
        (bit of hyperbole there. While I was subjected to that stuff for being a nerd, the people that knew I played chess for our comprehensive school were actually pretty proud, mostly. Working class kids going to private schools to beat them at chess was pretty cool, no matter how nerdy :P)

        • Bruno SALQUE

          Hi DM Gray, I agree with it, but the joy to play it exists. We could even talk about “Tennis” where women were seen as inferior until one guy played a game and got his ass wiped ^^

          What I mean here was just on the fact girl enjoy chess, men do too => not being good / as good at it doesn’t enter the equation. And, D:OS 2 doesn’t seems to be “that” competitive, you can always backstab your friend, and this is all you need to have some fun ! This is something “unisex” I think, to enjoy this freedom. Even if I’m not sure I will do this very often.

          • Jonas

            >We could even talk about “Tennis” where women were seen as inferior until one guy played a game and got his ass wiped ^^

            Google is giving me a geriatric that lost to a woman in her prime, and he’s still thought to have tossed the match. Also, can’t forget 203rd ranked Karsten Braasch handed the Williams sister’s their asses, despite their boast of being able to take any man ranked worse than 200.

            I don’t know why you’d think women would be man’s equal in a sports. Sexual dimorphism is real, and in terms of physical activities, it favors men. Greatly. Skill can close the gap, but when you’re talking people at the top of the sport, skill just can’t make it up. No matter how hard a woman trains, there’s a man training just as hard, and she’s not going to overcome the sheer physical differences because she can’t create the massive skill gap required to do so.

          • Bruno SALQUE

            Ok, I didn’t want to come into this kind of talk, as I’m not proficient enough in english to argue, but my meaning was just “we got wrong idea, like girls don’t play videogames”, but in the end, these idea evolve => now, they play it !
            That was all, and my exemple was just people saying “no man can lose to a woman” which was stupid, and, this happens and would happen if I were to play against a tenniswomen ^^ that’s all.

            So, to argue my point a little bit more : in videogame, we have build barrier where only boys should play => man play and our wives/gf/female friends tell us it’s childlich… BUT in the end, we can both change our point of view and enjoy. (I know, this was caricatural only because my english doesn’t allow me to be better nuanced and to explain my point in better words)

          • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

            There’s no barrier.
            The barrier has been constructed by sexists lying about it (and those sexists are posing as feminists)
            I’ve been a nerd for WELL over 20 years.
            Women have ALWAYS been welcome in nerd hobbies. Sometimes to a degree that is pathetic.
            The only evidence that women are unwelcome is just showing typical male behaviour. ie: the fact that women online don’t receive special treatment is perceived as discrimination. (and the instances where they do get special treatment are either ignored, or used to suggest sexism)

            Gender is always a divisive issue though.
            I’d prefer if everyone just gamed and was happy.
            I just think we’re beyond that.

          • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

            I’m making no statement about joy in play.
            I encourage everyone of every skill level to participate and have fun!
            As to the tennis anecdote, it was a top class female player in her prime vs a retired ex champ 😛
            As awesome a statement as it was, there’s a reason tennis is divided by gender, and it isn’t because we all prefer the miniskirts and grunting (amusingly, men’s tennis is watched more, I’ve never understood it)

            I could go on a whole rant about tennis and enforcing inequality in the name of equality (men’s and women’s tennis is played with different equipment, for instance. The men’s game also focuses far more on the serve because of greater upper body strength. Add in that a different number of sets is played and the idea that men and women “earn” the exact same prize is laughable)

        • Apocalypse

          While the claim itself is for sure made by crazy people, there is an actual legit concept behind it. At least I hope so much for those crazy people. 😉

          Culture can indeed influence the play performance, especially if you evoke positive or negative stereotypes. You get for example a literal drop in performance from females when you add a form field for gender on math tests. Don’t remind them of the bias against females and they do better.

          But we are talking here about a few percent difference and much more reasonable assumption would be much more male players than female players. So yeah, crazy people. *grin*

          • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

            I just find it odd that such an argument is *entirely* reliant on the fragility of women’s egos.
            Always strikes me as counter to their narrative.
            I personally had too many strong women in my life to even *consider* coddling a woman.

          • Apocalypse

            I find it interesting that you assume that such effects are relying on working on ‘fragility of women’s egos’. It working just working like everyone’s mind, nothing fragile about it. The mechanics for prejudice in general work that way and are to a great deal on subconscious level.

            It is a little like saying advertising is working on everyone, except ones selfs or even just denying the effect all together. Works on me, works on you, works for everyone. It just sucks to be that guy who draws the short straw and have those prejudice working against yourself. And as mentioned, the study that use the math test with or without field for gender did only show a small performance loss. (standard deviation should have been accounted for). But the study used as well mint students iirc, so it kind of best case scenario with women who actually know that they are good at math.

            For more details, try google and try to filter for actual papers, I am really not interested in preaching or wasting too much time on the subject, those all nighters with a friend from cognitive science were enough for my taste, posting actual papers and forcing me read them.

          • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

            I still think the argument that women “don’t do as well” or “don’t enter certain fields” because of some ambiguous feeling of not being welcome is UTTERLY condescending.

            It offends me when it targets nerd culture, because nerds (especially male ones) did not get treated kindly. Hell we STILL don’t get treated kindly, despite it being “the age of the geek” but somehow we remain committed to our passions and hobbies.
            Women are apparently incapable of engaging in anything without constant encouragement, positive reinforcement and hug boxes? I don’t believe it. I respect women too much.

            I’m not saying that a perception of discrimination has no effect though.
            I’m saying that problems tend to be magnified by those “advocating for women” by highlighting them and repeatedly TELLING women they should be scared.
            They are the opposite of helpful in my mind.
            Instead of some discomfort overcome quickly, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because nobody wants to hang around with people that are easily offended or assume you’re sexist horrible people.

          • Apocalypse

            The argument itself is clearly not condescending, but I can not denie your reasoning for for a self fulfilling circle.

            Though I can disprove it in some way with a roughly 50/50 rate in german universities for mathematics. That is iirc still slightly less than the split of male/female in general on german universities, but sounds good enough for me.

            A friend who is taking cognitive science and informatics on her university mentioned as well that they have a decent number of women, while all we had was one single girl. So all this money that some politicians decided to pump into encouraging females to go into MINT fields seems to have paid off at least somewhat. Math btw do most popular out of those fields for women.

            At the same time we have less than 10% females as developers in the game industry right now, with roughly 50% of female gamers at the same time. Sure, a bad reputation is not helping, but some industries are creating their self-enhancing circle perfectly fine with booth babes, stripers and hookers by paid studios and publishers. 😉

            So, I would say a little encouragement is not that bad, and a little bit of pointing out the worst offenses. Still I am totally with you that there is no need to blow everything out of proportion. Creating some unfounded fear of whole industries will create the same negative effects like most/all prejudice do.

            It is nice to agree with someone on the internet for once, btw, even when the discussion started from two opposite viewpoints. 😉

    • Julia Rozwens

      hmm I find the second point very interesting. I did play BG, Torment and other RPGs, but genre I would spent most my time on were good old adventure games. And actually complexity of D:OS was something that appealed to me. I liked the puzzles and feeling that even battles are sort of puzzles. Funny enough, that was a reason my brother did not like the game too much and never finished it.
      Than, I have not backed up the project (I think I visited the campaign page though) and I do not like it on FB.

    • Sidea

      (I’m a woman.)

      I admit that I prefer games with rich stories and good character interaction and growth. I am a sucker for Bioware games for this reason. I loved Baldur’s Gate on its own merits, but I loved that I could play a female and have my character in a relationship with a male – they were prepared for the female gamer. For the record, Anomen was a great character! 😉

      I admit that I was disappointed with D:OS because the story and characters were not a bigger part of the experience. The story and characters were great, that wasn’t the problem. I wanted more immersion into the story, but the focus of the game was on gameplay, not immersion. The reason I liked D:OS was because the gameplay was amazing. I loved working through the puzzles, thinking through combat techniques, and figuring out how to combine items. I loved the physics.

      I admit that I don’t know any other women who played the game. But frankly, I often feel alone in my gaming tastes. All the women and male gamers I’m friend with, which is a lot, are not exactly role players. Sure, they love Final Fantasy, but that’s not even remotely the same type of RPG. I’m the weird D&D fan in my group of friends. When I’ve brought up D:OS around them, they listen to me talk about how much I loved it, but none of them took that much interest. They were more excited about Dragon Age and the Witcher (I got incredibly bored with the Witcher games, for the record.) So I do think that C-RPG games are more specialty, and let’s be honest, they take a lot more work and commitment than Call of Duty or Halo. I like the work in games like D:OS, but a lot of friends don’t want to do work when they game. They just want to have fun.

      • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

        The narrative criticism is something we’re susceptible to. What we’re trying to do now is maintain (or actually improve) the same gameplay systemics and marry them with better and more immersive narrative. Whether or not we’ll succeed remains to be seen, but that at least is the ambition.

        • Sidea

          Swen, I accept that D:OS wasn’t a story-focused game. It isn’t a problem, because that’s not what the game was about. If D:OS 2 has a richer narrative, I’ll probably just like it a lot more! It doesn’t reflect poorly on the first game, though. I hope that a much more immersive story would attract new players the to games, as story-based games tend to do very well. I think it would be fun if you had a parody romance option too – something not to be taken seriously, but something fun. It would fit in well to the Divinity world. 😀

          All this talk is making me really excited to replay the first game. I haven’t played since it’s been upgraded in my Steam account.

        • Martin Ockovsky

          I was a huge promoter of original DOS kickstarter and the actual game when it came out on our little social network. A lot of people tried it, most of them really liked it. I actually liked it more then PoE, which is sad for me, because I was incredibly hyped about PoE, I was expecting it to be the best RPG in the history. But now DOS is my favorite game of the past decade or so.

          Where was I going with this? … Hm. Oh!

          So, most of those people liked it, but few didn’t. And the reason (which I hear from them to this date, because I’m promoting DOS2 now) is the infantile stuff and the story. They didn’t like the sneaking as a barrel or a bush. I find it hilarious, but they just couldn’t get past the fact that you are not taking yourself seriously.

          The strong part of the DOS was the mechanical side, the combat was just absolutely amazing and incredible and awesome (one problem was the armored goblins near the end of the game. Huge resist on everything, so you had to beat them for 5 minutes, which really isn’t a good design choice, it was boring and tedious). DOS as a beautiful world, some interesting quests and such. I had a little bit of problem with character progression, the attributes and item progression could be better.

          But the one thing that I would change, even thou I really like the Larian sense of humor, would be the approach to story. You have a platform for creating really amazing RPGs. And to really amazing RPGs belongs great story and lore and world and characters and such. I think that if you focus on that then DOS2 will be the best RPG created to this date.

        • bigironvault

          From my own personal experience with my sister and I, she lost a bit of momentum once we left Cyseal. She very much enjoyed the freedom of Cyseal and the environment and the opportunity to have non-combat resolution to encounters. Once it became a bit more of a “railroad” for the lack of a better term, the feeling of the sandbox was a bit lost and it became a bit more of a dungeon crawl. So while she LOVES DoS, that aspect could be fixed… from my perspective. Clearly a lot of time was put into Cyseal but the rest of the game felt less dense and less roleplay-ish.
          If you can capture the feeling and vibe of Cyseal throughout the game, DoS2 will be a masterpiece of all time!

  • AsatorPrime

    I would love to see studies done on what genre of games males and females prefer. I imagine on average different genres appeal to men and women. As someone who plays arena shooter (like UT) I’ve always wondered why there are very few females playing.

  • JackDandy

    The answer is pretty simple.
    Guys usually like RPGs better than girls. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    (Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule!)

    • Darji

      I would not say that in general. However Divinity is a really complex game with no huge presentation factor. There is a reason why Bioware went the route they are going now. Also Romance options are very well liked as well.

    • Keirnoth

      I disagree. It really depends on the type of RPG. For example, and I am basing this PURELY on anecdotal evidence, there is a strong prevalence of female gamers on the JRPG side. Perhaps they’re more fans of the Japanese storylines, which tend to be more dramatic and over the top or the character design and interactions in those?

  • Bruno SALQUE

    All the studies you have shown may be the explanation :

    Your target is mostly “25-34 y old men”, so, you appeal to “mature” gamer, who saw the evolution, and, in this categorie, we are still cleaved between men and women …

    When the next, more equalized audience (currently 18-25) begin to like your game, the stat should reverse.

    Furthermore, Kickstarter appeal to people with revenues, so, in your target audience …

    To summerize : I think you make a big fuss over stats which appear “normal” …

    If you want to advertise it somewhere else, maybe ask for a video on “Mademoiselle” or other femnine youtube channel … But prepare your pitch well and not (here is sarcasm, not actual meaningful though ‘How could we bring chicks to give us money on kickstarter or feel involved in male buisness’ /end of Sarcasm)

  • JackDandy

    Heya. You might remember me from a while back – I was the first guy to back the game!
    I think you should look at it like this : DivOS was a great success. It has reached it’s intended audience, and beyond.

    I don’t think you should break your head about why a hardly-grasped percentage of people don’t get into it.
    Nothing is perfect- nothing can be loved by everyone.

    I especially liked this post by one Caim of the Codex:

    “It’s like the whole “beer for women” thing. Brewers started to make beers that were sweeter, had less alcohol and sugar in them and so on to sell to women, because research had shown women like alcoholic drinks that meet those criteria.

    But women didn’t buy the stuff, because women who were already buying beer kept buying regular beer, and women who didn’t drink beer didn’t buy it because it was beer. So don’t dumb down your product for a market that won’t buy it anyway.

  • Brian Hall

    Welcome to the great IGDA / Games Press ‘Gaming Diversity’ swindle. You’ve been confused because they don’t talk about ‘gender breakdown by game type and platform’ and a statistically erroneous number of very social gamers who happen to more often be the female gamers than the males will show interest in ‘expos’.

    This even holds true on mobile platforms.


  • Darji

    I do not think that women look at critic scores. For example. Games like the Nancy Drew series are never been reviewed nor previewed on these sites and have a huge female market just like the games that are similar to that. I do not even know when they are getting released.

  • sakboy

    On a surface level, I feel it’s easy to paint with a broad brush the history of the genre, its origins, and its player-base largely being males. With Divinity being a niche game of its own, pulling from those top-down classics like Baldur’s Gate is inherently going to appeal to those tastes. And there are still undoubtedly stigmas with girls/women engaging with genres like more traditional RPGs, but it seems those demographics are changing year after year, however slowly.

    But (and this is purely anecdotal) I look at my girlfriend’s playing habits and see her engagement with RPGs. Mass Effect was a revelatory experience for her, causing her to not only dive deep into the fiction of the series, but the fandom. She’s cosplayed several characters from both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, bought tons of merch, met TONS of people (mostly other women) through a shared adoration of those worlds. We’ve gone to PAX Prime 3 years in a row and it’s been a blast each time for both of us. Recently, she’s enjoyed the hell out of the Witcher 3, instantly attaching to Ciri but also the design and characters. Now, she’s playing Fire Emblem: Awakening and just started KOTOR. It’d be hard to picture her when we first started dating as being someone who would play an SRPG with permadeath, but here we are. I want to play Divinity cooperatively with her now when it comes to console, and I think it’s something she might enjoy in that setting.

    One could easily dismissively say “Oh well she likes dating sims” and I don’t doubt that the relationship/conversation stuff is a big element of that, but moreso I think it’s emotional engagement. It’s the desire to dig into characters, their stories, their tragedies, their silly quirks which acts as a real gateway for her. Having those characters in the forefront, particularly the female characters, goes a long way for her. It was Ciri that made her look wide-eyed at the Witcher and go “Who is THAT?”

    But another element, and this really needs to be made clear, is the art design. Divinity is a cool looking game, but it’s not hard to look at the female designs at the forefront of the game’s marketing and see why your fanbase is predominantly male. Even with the alterations, the in-game armor (and body types) maintains a very male-gazey “bikini armor” approach that is increasingly out of touch. That’s the stuff that just makes my girlfriend go “goddamn videogames…” and I’m right there with her. ‘Sexy’ doesn’t have to just come from sexualization.

    I’m glad to see you’re atleast questioning the reasoning behind why your audience is what it is, and hopefully this can lead to a thoughtful exploration and challenging of presumptions and go-to design choices which will make the game more appealing for all. Just don’t leave this same self-critique of female representation as an afterthought.

    • Ryxl

      Adding my anecdote about emotional engagement to yours, I played WoW for 8 years for the lore – I read the novels, the comcs, I played the RTS games, and I did every quest I could get my hands on just to experience the entirety of the story being told. I also quit WoW two years ago because the story stopped being a story and started being a “how can we keep irrational conflict going?” soap opera. Major lore figures started acting contrary to their established characterization or were sacrificed for another lore figure’s development and it killed my emotional investment.

    • Darji

      I am sorry but there is no sexualisation in Divinity. They even changed the coverboxart etc. Also there is a huge misconception that women do not like sexualized women or men. In fact they certainly do. Let us take Hunnie Pop for example. As strange as it may be for you but this game has a huge female fanbase. Each class is designed differently and classes liek a rogue are certainly using their beauty to seduce people. Male and female characters.

      We need to stop thinking that sexualisation is a bad and the reason women will not buy your game this is totally not true. Yes it maybe for some women but that’s it. People like Anita are not the people these games are made for.

      Also no not every game should appeal to everyone. When you try to appeal to all then you get a mess like Bioware. And many backers here do not want this at all. This game is made for people who like old school RPGs. And this is the reason why I backed Divinity and Divinity 2 as well.

      • sakboy

        Not sure why you feel that “Anita’s” criticisms about poor female representation takes anything away from the quality of the game itself. The praise for Divinity OS’ has almost entirely been centered around its mechanical depth. I don’t see how I’m suggesting that change. But designing female characters and their armor sets with more thoughtful intent than just “sex appeal” would lend the game to a far wider appeal than just another game relying on lazy fantasy tropes in terms of gender representation.

        • Darji

          I will say it again There is no such armor in a game like divinity. Have you even played the game? As I said before Rogue or thief classes are different because A they need mobility and B they are seducing other characters so they can steal easier etc. They are using their sexuality to their advantage. Male ones as female ones. You as a player in Divnity can decide what you character should wear. And this goes again for both male and female character.

          As for Anita she is a very sex negative person and I would not take her personal view as common or general opinion of women. And honestly I do not want to talk about her and derail this thing I will just say she is a very bad influence on the whole discussion and very toxic.

      • Kevin B.

        Bioware sell millions of copies of every game they release, and most of them are pretty enjoyable. Must be doing something right at least.

        • Snoop Lion

          Dragon Age: I still hasn’t even outsold Dragon Age:O. DA:O was before bioware started to pander to people, and it wasn’t promoted nearly as much as DA:I was.

          It’s a shame that such a good company has gone down the shitter in it’s attempt to pander to the political correct crowd.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I hope you’re going to enjoy D:OS EE. We really put a lot of effort in the coop play & I’m happy every time I hear about somebody playing it like that – it really shines then.

      As to the bikini armour discussion – I never really stated my thoughts on this but it’s probably time I did.

      I wanted D:OS to be enjoyed in equal measures by both men & women, but there were fewer women working at Larian when we started on D:OS than there are now, and nobody on the team realised that this was going to be an issue. We did show it around to several women but nobody really reacted and so we thought all was good (we later learned that reactions to the artwork differed depending on the country people lived in )

      When we eventually launched the Kickstarter campaign for D:OS, we immediately received a lot of backlash about the bikini armour and that was something that genuinely surprised us. Tbh, some of that feedback really pissed me off but regardless, it quickly dawned on me that we were indeed making a mistake.

      I actually only fully realised how big a mistake when somebody likened it to having to play a male protagonist dressed up as chippendale in the game. That had nothing to do with the vision that the majority of boys & girls alike should be able to play the game and identify themselves with their characters. Clearly we’d only looked at it from a boys perspective and not from a girls perspective. If women couldn’t identify with their avatars, then we just wouldn’t reach them with the game, and that was definitely not a part of the general idea behind the game.

      I’m no big believer in censorship, especially community forced censorship, but in this case I think the game was more important than the artwork, and I wanted it to be clear that the game was aimed at both man & women alike. So I asked the artist to change his artwork and that was that.

      I think that with D:OS 2 we have a much better handle on narratives/visuals that will appeal to both men & women but obviously the game isn’t ready yet, so the jury will have to wait a bit. But obviously, I’d like to let both CRPG men & women know that this is a game they’ll like to play. Hence my post.

      • Jay

        Hey Swen! It’s super cool you’re soliciting feedback about this. It’s a big deal right now – a lot of us are very, very ready for gaming to grow up a bit and become more inclusive, more accessible to everyone. (I’d love to have my girlfriend and my eventual daughter play games like D:OS and D:OS2 and not have to ask me why their character is never fully dressed like mine is, cuz she needs armor too.)

        I think there are a lot of ways to improve on creating or enabling players to create female characters that women will want to play. The first is simple: hire women as designers and writers and listen to them. Sounds like Larian is already on the right track, there.

        The second is simple too: think about your character art and designs and consider the people they’ll appeal to. The current D:OS2 art is great, but it just looks like heterosexual guys drawing for other heterosexual guys. Ask the women you work with about the art design that appeals to them; you may find that they’d like to see more variance in body types, less pointlessly-revealing clothing, things like that. The women I work and game with repeatedly mention how games with overly-sexualized character art just reinforce the unspoken “this isn’t for you” message from that game’s developer. I’m betting those developers often aren’t even aware they’re sending that message.

        For some interesting insights on gaming’s relationship with women (from a woman’s point of view), I highly recommend reading “No Girl Wins” here: http://boingboing.net/2015/08/08/no-girl-wins-three-ways-women.html. It’s not directly related, but may help you think about how to improve your messaging around D:OS2 and ensure you’re marketing your game as effectively as possible to all interested audiences.

        • JackDandy

          Note how Jay didn’t even play the game, Swen.
          Look at the stuff he’s saying.
          Doesn’t it seem a bit “off”?

          • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

            Well I certainly don’t agree with the art we used for the KS campaign being made by heterosexual guys – it was made by Tanya 😉

          • JackDandy

            Oh, one other thing-
            Just wanted to say thanks for finally stating your own mind about the cover art change.
            I still appreciate what you were trying to achieve. Nobody wants to feel left outunwanted.

            But as you can probably guess, I am against this change.
            When people change their minds on subjects due to “suggestions” peppered with threats of blacklisting, I just don’t believe that cause is worthy.
            It only opens up a window for more bullying, both against you and against other developers.

            What if Polygon threatens to not cover DivOS2 unless you remove the racial aspect, due to racial tensions in the USEU? This might be an extreme example, but it isn’t that far off from the cover art thing.

          • Derp

            You can find a lot more art made by “heterosexual men” like Tanya here: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=140562

            It’s almost like the things some people hailing from certain parts of the Internet are saying might not be universal…

          • JackDandy

            Or, just look at the Skullgirls character designs.
            The artist Kinuko is a girl, and she puts even lewder stuff on her personal Twitter acount!

            Saying “only straight guys like pretty girls” is unbelievebly bigoted, a completely narrow world view.

          • Jay

            Swen – I’m happy to hear about the art; I was echoing the thoughts of some friends who saw the new dryad art and kind of rolled their eyes at the sideboob, which seems pretty male-gazey. I mentioned at the time that I was impressed with your handling of the boobplate situation with D:OS and that I didn’t expect a repeat, given that Larian seems pretty great about learning from its mistakes.

            As far as I know, you’re right that a lot of women do play D:OS (or would play it if they heard about it), but in today’s environment, gaming isn’t particularly friendly to women; you don’t need to look any further than this post for plenty of proof. As many of the women here have mentioned, they generally just don’t engage in the same spaces that men do because those spaces tend to be hostile. So when they see what looks like yet another fantasy game with gratuitous cleavage on the female characters, that can make for an easy (and possibly mistaken!) association with other games and media that typically treat the female characters as accessories to the male protagonist, nothing more. D:OS didn’t actually do that, of course, which makes it all the more maddening if someone gets the wrong impression from some character art and doesn’t end up playing the game because they fear they’ll be relegated to a secondary role.

      • Domhnall

        Somehow I doubt you’d get much of an outcry if you showed artwork of a male lead wearing nothing but a bow tie and a thong.

      • sakboy

        Wow, thank you for the reply, Swen! I wasn’t expecting a response as insightful as the one you posted, but it’s really helpful for myself, other fans, and other creators to see where you’re coming from in facing the challenges of making these games. While I think we both can agree that some previous choices or approaches were divisive, especially when you are dealing with culture-clashes on an international scale, it’s really encouraging (and even moreso exciting) to see you guys openly and actively tackling these questions.

        I got a chance to visit your guys’ booth at PAX just the other week, and while I didn’t get a chance to go hands-on, I cannot express how excited I am for more D:OS. I wish you and the team all the best in seeing the project to completion, and while I know topics like this can bring out some strong negativity from some users, I want to express something to you. I want you to know that there are TONS of players who are glad that a talented developer like yourselves is choosing to engage with your audience and reflect with the hopes of making a better, more welcoming, and more diverse community (not to mention a better game). I greatly appreciate the transparency in your reply, and I can’t wait to play D:OS2!

      • Audie Bakerson

        I’ve seen enough of my favorite games and companies ruined to “appeal to women” (as if women are hive mind idiots who all think alike) at the suggestions of men like the poster you are replying to that this response genuinely saddens me, someone who enjoyed the first Original Sin. He is only saying what he THINKS his girlfriend feels, and any couple, especially one that isn’t even married, can tell you is an absolutely terrible source of information and quite possibly the single worst one in existence. Design by committee doesn’t work and only ever results in bland extruded products (and isn’t the purpose of Kickstarter in the first place supposed to be to AVOID these?).

        At the very least ask him to get his girlfriend to come and write what SHE thinks, not what he thinks she thinks.

      • JackDandy

        Notice that even after the change, the malefemale ratio was skewed as it were. You wouldn’t make this blog post otherwise, right?
        And keeping in mind that the game itself sold really well and reached a really big audience…

        This is just a proof that trying to appeal to people via cover art of all things is just a folly. Real gamers, both male and female, don’t care about whether a chick has a bare belly or not.
        They care about the game itself.

  • Adrian Pedersen

    Hi Swen.

    Sorry for the late reply, but I had to talk to the female RPG’ers I know, which are quite a few. That includes both P&P and computer RPGs.

    From a marketing point of view (which is my profession) I’ve learned some pretty interesting things. The female gamers I know who play RPGs are mostly mature women. Each and every one of them told me that they rarely visit online gaming communities. Mostly because they are infrequent gamers who doesn’t fire up their machines every evening, but also because they find gaming communities to be highly unpleasant and lacking valuable content. The unfiltered BS is drowning out the useful info, like in other media. This doesn’t come as a surprise for me.

    As for Kickstarter, well, as I said, female RPG gamers aren’t in a hurry. Most of them are still playing and tweaking their favourite game, years after release. Male gamers can finish a game in three days. Hence, women doesn’t flock to Kickstarter when buying games. The virtual deluge of isometric RPGs during the last two years is also a factor. For a casual female gamer, the quality of the product is important when they allocate time for gaming.

    Finally, as someone mentioned here, there’s the alienation due to percieved sexism and male dominance in games. The “chainmail bikini-syndrome.” This seems to be more important to my female friends from the US, but is definetly a point worth considering. Better writing and content aimed at a female audience seems to be on the wish list. Though most modern RPGs have become infinetly better at writing strong female characters than they were in the 90s, there’s still a long way to go.

    Your campaign targeted gamers as one mass of people, regardless of gender or age. This is fine and dandy from an idealistic point of view, but it doesn’t work that way. Selling a product to different genders requires separate thinking, no matter how much one wishes it wasn’t so.

    I asked 17 women, and got 11 short replies. The oldest is 51, the youngest is 25. If I had more time I could probably do a thorough analysis, but I hope this helped a little bit. At least it started some interesting discussions in my community. 😉

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Hi Adrian! Thanks for the detailed post. I really appreciate it. When your post popped up, it was immediately shared in our group chat and we were glad to see it corresponded with the conclusions we were drawing ourselves. It remains a limited sampling but together with everything we’ve been reading here, it certainly proved educative and I think we have a better handle on what we can improve over here.

    • Derp

      Hey Adrian, I have a question.

      How many of the people you asked actually played any Divinity games before this, how many even know what Divinity is or would consider buying said games?

      • Adrian Pedersen

        Hi Derp.

        Most have played Divine Divinity, and most, not all, have played D:OS. They all know about the franchise, to the point where a couple are also Kickstarters. This was the point of me asking.

        Another interesting thing is that virtually none of them are into ARPGs like Diablo or Sacred. Some have played Neverwinter Nights, but it’s not generally considered to be a good game.

        One very interesting fact is that while most of my male friends have stopped playing traditional P&P RPGs, a lot of the women are getting into it lately. That’s a development I didn’t see coming.

        I’m actually considering making a more thorough questionaire, just to get some real numbers. This would of course be completely non-scientific, as it would be limited to a small group of people who are into RPGs, and rarely plays any other type of game.

  • Endre Varga

    My female relatives and friends mostly don’t care about games. 🙁 Even not the youngest ones, except one (!) 18yrs old niece and one (!) ex-colleague-goth-lady. And my wife. And if I consider that I know hundreds of women… this is sad… I think it is mostly that people grow up in gender-based ‘roles’: boys play with matchbox, girls with dolls, boys play video games, girls do whatever else… so I think it will never be 50/50 until we have this idiotic gender roles. :-S

    The other thing is that women are usually not interested in hardware as well. If someone wants to play, a normal pc or laptop at home is not enough, so they have to consider to buy a gaming laptop, build/buy a gaming pc, or a console. I think this is a barrier also, because most women are not interested in technology at all. Solution? No idea.. hmm.. is it possible to implement a game as TV channel (personalized by user IP or something like that) and to control with the TV remote? 😉 It would be fun and easily accessible by much more people… 😀

  • MBirkhofer


    Here is a breakdown that might help explain it too. As a great many have pointed out, the 50/50 is a lie. The link you provided was PC games with social games included. And then MMOS included in rpgs. Those 12 million World of warcraft mmo players, are ONLY playing World of warcraft. and Maybe, HOTS/hearthstone. They should not be included in the figure.
    1% of steam users account for 33% of ALL owned games on steam. 20% of steam users account for 88% of all the games. You need to ask, what the breakdown is of that 20%. (it does of course also mean there IS a large untapped market out there.)

    • John Smith

      That article has few issues that really should be addressed – one thing is, he doesn’t talk about players, he talk about accounts. I know CSGO-traders who have 20, 30 different steam accounts. There are also people with big private accounts. And people like CSGO players that have bunch of accounts that only has CSGO so they can play with their weak friends (game doesn’t allow matchmaking between people from “weak skillgroup” and “good skillgroup”).
      Would that change numbers? That’s the question I really would love to hear answer for.
      It’s hard to imagine 1, maybe 2 $1 Humble Bundles will put you into that 20% club (and according to his numbers, it will, as all you have to do is owning 4 games on Steam).
      Can you really imagine 80% of Steam accounts – that’s 100 million accounts – barely have even 3 games on Steam?

      If it’s true, all it says is that PC is not as big as some people pretend it is…

  • jamie

    “Next up, most of the reactions I got from women really do indicate they won’t engage in the communities around games for a variety of reasons.”

    Comics are seeing the same thing. Women don’t want to go to comics shops because . However, current Marvel EiC has admitted that since they’ve pushed all of their titles into the online space, not only have they seen higher gains in readership than print, they found that there was a huge uptick in women readers.

  • deregise

    easy, who give a shit

  • Tom Raft

    Look at the data from Nielsen Gaming, NPD Group, DFC Intelligence or other market analysts who do research to estimate the demographic breakdown, there are plenty of gaming articles based on this research data. Generally speaking, core gamers are broken down into tiers based on their spending habits, the devices they use, etc. The more money is spent, the more it leans towards male gamers, the AAA market revolves around it because 80% of the revenue generated by the gaming industry is generated by the core gaming segment which is a small subset of the overall gaming community.

    DFC estimates of the 1.4 billion gamers, the core gaming market globally is 260m people and PC gamers who spent $50+ per year was only 91m worldwide, and console gamers who spent $50+ are 126m worldwide, this is the demographic which accounts for the vast majority of the gaming revenue and it heavily leans towards male players.

    The largest groups are Action games which represent 22.3% of sales and NPD group estimates this is 80% male, second is Shooters at 21.2% of the market (78% male) while Sports games are 15.3% of te market (85% male). Family entertainment only represents 8.6% of sales and Adventures 8.3%.

    Nielsen Gaming estimates the core group to be 69% male overall with the hardcore group being 82% male, hardcore being the higher group of time/money spent. They estimate smart phone demographic is 54% male and tablet demographic is 56% male and these mobile gaming platforms represent approximately 20% of gaming revenue, even though it is numerically a significant group (largely due to the popularity of mobile devices in South East Asia, especially by women). The types of games most commonly played on mobile devices are puzzle, board, trivia, card, casual and social games (70% of mobile games). Most of these titles are low budget, cheap or free games made by indies or small developers and it is estimated about 180,000-200,000 titles were released last year alone. Their simplicity, ease to create, ease of availability and massive competition makes it a very bloated market which will be difficult to monetise.

    I haven’t seen any report of the gender breakup of adventure game purchases but I would assume it would have much stronger representation with women than the other major genres. People need to understand why these companies make the content they do, they are risk averse, like why Hollywood keeps making the same kind of movies over and over. However, by all accounts Dragon Age: Inquisition did well for Bioware, so there is scope for content to evolve to be more appealing to the female audience.

  • herbus

    It’s almost like women don’t play video games. At least not any with an ounce of complexity.

  • Washington Irving

    Swen, please let us know if you are going to incorporate Social Justice ideology into DOS:2.

  • Mein Negger

    Good thing I didn’t back the kikstarter this guy seems like a total douche

  • Megan Spence

    I didn’t back this game because my boyfriend already backed at a tier that will give him an extra key before I had a chance to. I’d be curious how many couples backed at that tier

  • Snoop Lion

    What a surprise it’s almost like those studies that show 50% female gamers are misleading! I mean Nintendo’s market isn’t 93% men and 7% female or anything! Oh-wait it is? http://mynintendonews.com/2014/08/28/nintendo-reveals-demographics-of-wii-u-eshop-users-males-account-for-93-and-females-only-7/ . B-but that can’t be the feminist tell me gamers are half-and half!!!

  • Miragos

    The gender ratio at events isn’t necessarily representative of the actual demographic of consumers.
    An extreme example from Japan: The Tales series of JRPGs has, according to its producer, about 30% female players, but at events like the annual Tales of Festival the audience is about 90% female.
    (Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/06/26/why-90-of-fans-at-tales-of-festival-are-female)
    Perhaps, female players are generally more passionate about the social aspects of their fandom.

  • APS_C

    Hardly any women game. I’m shocked you find this surprising.

  • Sarah

    Google thinks I’m a 34 year old man (wrong on both counts). I don’t log in to Google unless I have to, so it doesn’t know much about me. It seems to default to thirty-something guy. It’s possible that other male visitors (according to Google Analytics) are actually female.

  • Meittimies

    I think it comes down to a genre. Most female players (who spend more than 2 hours a day playing games) you see playing online games like PAYDAY 2, Team Fortress 2 or League of Legends, or Dota 2. Lot of them play Pokemon. Managed to make my ex a huge fan of RTSses 3 years ago when we co-oped Shogun 2: Total War in campaign mode. Nowadays shes a huge Starcraft 2-nut and plays a lot of Heroes of Might and Magic as well.

    Thats the trend I’ve noticed in my own circles anyway. Just recently talked about Sunless Sea with a female friend of mine and how she felt a bit intimidated by how much there is to learn of the gameplay in the beginning, she loves the setting though. But the preconception that the game is really complex and hard to learn seems to make them postpone the actual first playing attempt with a lot of female gamers I know. One another example is horror games, where I know a lot of female gamers who love Silent Hill-franchise, but would rather watch a Lets Play of it than play it themselves because they think the game is hard for some reason, same goes with Souls games.

    Of course one other observation from my own group of friends is that for every female gamer theres 5 male gamers, so more “hardcore” gaming is still predominantly male. Women love blowing the hell out of monsters in FPSses or building conquering armies in RTSses, or adventuring and looting in RPGs just as much, they just need a little nudge to the more “hardcore” games, show them that they really arent as hard to learn that they might initially think.

  • Mike Gray

    About the nostalgia factor in D:OS – I once heard a relevant saying about the good old days of gaming: Back when the men were real men, and so were the women.

    • Alexsander Kamensky

      Yeah the google anylatics point really synches it for me. If it’s determined by interests then we don’t really know. At least if they are not using chrome, because in Chrome you log into your google account which should have your correct gender.

      • Tarian

        No, it doesn’t.
        I’ve left my gender ‘I don’t want to say’ on my google profile and I turned google tracking off.
        When I looked it up just now, it had my correct age group but gender unknown.

  • Vometia

    I’m not really sure what I can add: we are here, and lots of female friends enjoy playing RPGs. In fact I met quite a few of them through the genre! I do wonder if the turn-based, isometric retro-feel of D:OS may appeal to a particular class of gamer that may have a different male:female ratio than one would normally encounter, but I’m really going out on a limb there. I’m always surprised when I see things like forum demographics suggest that 90+% of gamers are male when the number of *active* members seems to be somewhat more balanced. But I guess a lot of it depends on the medium as much as anything else and, er, I’m prattling so I’ll scurry off again now…

  • Brittany

    I am a female and have always loved the divinity series and played the games since I was a kid. I got into RPGs through my brother 🙂 When I lived at home, we shared games so I would just wait until he got a cool new one and play it when he was busy. I was thrilled when he told me about original sin on kickstarter, and I had him pledge enough to get me a copy as well(harder to share games when I live 18 hours away now), because I don’t have a kickstarter account. This time he told me and I had my husband go and pledge to get me a copy of the game, because I still don’t have a kickstarter and he does(he loves to back white wolf games, I am more d&d 3.5 and pathfinder inclined). I never needed an account because they both know what games I enjoy and they tell me when a cool one is coming out. I would think there might be many women similar to me who just never made a kickstarter account because the few things they’d be interested in kickstarting they already have a friend/family member who can add their pledge and keeps them up to date on things.

  • Terrahero

    It’s hard to believe women make up anywhere close to 50/50 for the more hardcore games that require a sizeable time investment, learning curve, and are not afraid to punish the players poor foresight or rushed actions. A statistic that is difficult to quantify anyway due to how nebulous the term “gamer” really is and the potential for failing to evenly reach either of the sexes evenly through various social platforms.
    It might be that women socialize around gaming in a different way than men do. I can’t blame them for not going hard into a forum for all the discussions and rather prefering to avoid that in general.
    My partner and i played DOS together and she was very excited when DOS2 was announced. I’m looking forward to DOS2 as well, but i can’t match her levels of enthousiasm. She’s already talking about hardcore marathoning when it comes out.

  • mell42

    One of my favorite games is Divinity: Original Sin. I’ve logged many many hours and still have more to go. However, I play with my boyfriend, who has pledged for 2 copies. I’m following the campaign closely, but you’re probably not seeing me (or many other women) because our partners or friends have pledged at a level which will give us a copy. Although I would love to help the Kickstarter, it would make no sense for me to back.

  • Stephanie

    Even if couples don’t share their steam accounts, it’s pretty unlikely they’re going to both back the same kickstarter. I know the way my husband and I do it is to just pile some extra money onto one person’s pledge instead, because really, why have two separate ones when most will let you get just about anything as add-ons. We also tend to shift the money over to my husband’s pledge at that point since he backs far less things than I do so he has something to get excited about.

    As far as figuring out what games I like, I *try* them. Probably one reason I wish more games had demos… I have a couple reviewers/lets players on youtube I trust if I really want an outside opinion, but for the most part I also know what genres/styles I like after 20 years of gaming. I don’t really feel the need to engage with a community via forums or whatever since I play almost exclusively single player things (yes, I realize I’m saying that while posting on a game I’m deliberately buying to play co-op) and have enough overlap in what I play with what my friends play to just have my chatter about it there instead.

    Newsletters/a couple gaming news sites/twitter tends to cover the rest so I also don’t much bother with following things on facebook as that seems like a duplication of effort on my part. – Speaking as a female who plays the vidya games.

  • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

    Hi Swen! As somebody who’s been running games websites for years (Kotaku UK right now), and also a woman, with the same kind of empirical experience that you have (ie, at least 35% of the gamers I meet and talk to in real life are women), I really feel you here. Audience demographic data varies by website, but your typical games website is like 90% male. Why? Where are the girls?

    There are two answers. First, as has been pointed out already, Google’s demographic data (and most demographic data) is completely out of whack. Google and Twitter both think I’m a guy, because I like video games, and that’s in their “guy interests” column. So it creates a self-perpetuating data fallacy where anybody who likes games is classed as male by the algorithm. Unhelpful.

    The other answer is – as hinted elsewhere – women don’t necessarily engage in “gaming community” sites or come to us as much for their news. They go by friend recommendations, Tumblr, Youtube, and much else, because the games media consistently fails them. I want to fix this. It’s a career goal.

    Lastly, just to present some more data, the common comeback to the increasing prominence of women as gamers and game designers is “oh, no, all the women are just casuals playing Farmville.” This is, as far as the data indicates, demonstrably false according to studies. Even when you split gamers out into “core” and “casual” based on playtime and preferred genres, women are 40-50% of the audience. Here’s some data on that, in the attached image (on console gamers – PC gamers still have a slightly bigger split, but not that much.)

    • Snoop Lion
    • Meittimies

      So are you pursuing this career goal like your peers in Kotaku Australia by celebrating when games like GTA get banned from stores? Or do you frame developers as rapists like how Kotaku US did to Brad Wardell? And no, I’m actually curious. is Kotaku UK actually something worth to read or is it as shameless gossip-tabloidesque career-destroying clickbait as its counterparts in other countries?

      • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

        We’re doing great, thanks, won a couple of awards for our journalism an everything. Thanks for your interest!

        • Anonymous

          I won an award for fucking your mother.

          • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

            … daddy!?

          • Anonymous

            Get a real job honey. I’m tired of paying your rent.

          • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

            Sadly I do not actually profit from your tantrums, but if I did I’d laugh about it every day.

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t pay for your two degrees so you could be a fucking games journalist.

          • Adam Stark

            Smallest dick? Way to cower behind a shitty, ineloquent cliched response, and an anonymous post.

          • Anonymous

            Hi Adam Stark why don’t you post your Facebook profile, phone number, and address, and I’ll do the same and we can have a nice conversation with names.

        • Meittimies

          Really? I’d legit like to see those awards. Your oversea colleagues arent doing too great as you can see here:


          And no I’d really like to see them. I’d be genuinely happy to say that not every single Kotaku site in the world is as shameless and devoid of humanity as most of it is.

          • numpty
          • Meittimies

            Well, I was hoping for an actual journalist association awards but I guess thats better than nothing. Plus KotakuUKs hands are quite clean according to Deepfreeze as well.

            Glad to see at least some people in Kotaku have not sold their dignity completely. I hope the UK team never will either. Basically dont do the same mistakes the US-team has done and you’re good to go.

          • directhex

            Woo, lucky you, Keza! An official Gator sealion of approval!

        • Derp

          Ah yes, the Games Media Awards, what did a colleague of you have to say about it again?: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-lost-humanity-18-a-table-of-doritos

          “Recently, the Games Media Awards rolled around again, and games journos turned up to a thing to party with their friends in games PR. Games PR people and games journos voted for their favourite friends, and friends gave awards to friends, and everyone had a good night out. Eurogamer won an award. Kieron Gillen was named an industry legend (and if anyone is a legend in games writing, he is) but he deserves a better platform for recognition than those GMAs. The GMAs shouldn’t exist. By rights, that room should be full of people who feel uncomfortable in each other’s company. PR people should be looking at games journos and thinking, “That person makes my job very challenging.” Why are they all best buddies? What the hell is going on?””

          I hope you’re proud of said accomplishment.

    • Anonymous

      Empirical experience? You mean anectdote. I shouldn’t expect intelligence to come from a female Kotaku author though.

      • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

        Interesting. Got two Master’s degrees from prestigious universities here that suggest I’m at least *quite* smart, despite my awful femaleness

        • Anonymous

          Only losers jerk off about their degrees. Especially degrees from prestigious universities. GWB has a degree from Yale. You are in games journalism, you are on the same level as a tabloid reporter.

          • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

            Well! That’s me told. If and when I ever move on from games journalism, I’ll look back to this kind advice and see it as the moment that changed everything for me. Thanks!

          • Anonymous

            Fortunately with the coming economic crash, you’ll probably be graduating to unemployment.

        • Snoop Lion

          Must suck that you wasted all that time to work at a shit click bait gaming website. Anyway can you post a link to how that Image you posted conducted their survey?

        • Sidea

          I, for one, really appreciate that you are an educated woman giving your career to something we care about: gaming. I am also thankful that there is even such a thing as gaming journalism, unlike some of these other people.

    • Anonymous

      It’s interesting that all the other studies that have been posted in this comment section actually disagree with you. Do you have a source for that EEDAR graph?

      • http://www.kotaku.co.uk/ Kezaaargh

        This showcases lots more data from the study in question (very interesting to look at platform differences): http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-30-platform-not-gender-drives-gamer-differences-eedar

        • Anonymous

          This data says nothing about the actual numbers of male and female gamers. In addition its something that would get anyone in Stats 101 a failing grade.

        • Snoop Lion

          So you’re a journalist that has gotten two master degrees, and you’re taking a study that doesn’t provide the context of how they conducted their study as a fact? Is this what journalism is nowadays? If you do have a link that explains how they conducted their surveys, I’d really appreciate that.

          • Caio Pontes

            You’re lucky, From shitaku the best I came to expect is a source from marysue,

    • Sidea

      As a woman, I can see your point. I don’t participate in the community of gaming all that much. The most community discussion I’ve participated in for any game in the last several years has been Dreamfall Chapters, but it’s because it’s episodic. I really wanted to keep playing the game, but I couldn’t, so I turned to forums so I could still enjoy the story while waiting for the next chapter to come out. I’m about to the same with Life Is Strange.

      I play games to get away from people. I do not care for MMOs. I like co-op playing, but not online multiplayer games. I like to play a game to keep my brain active while escaping from the world, much like with reading a good novel. I prefer games over reading because I feel like it uses my brain more. So when I use games as my escape, I’m not compelled to go online to talk about them. I might leave a comment or two on a Facebook post I see as I’m scrolling down my wall, but that’s usually the extent.

      As a teenager I was heavily involved in a couple of gaming forums, which is how I met some of my best online friends (who I have since met in person.) But on those gaming forums we often didn’t talk about games. We were gamers who wanted a community, not people who wanted to discuss gaming. It was a great fit for me.

    • Kevin B.

      Interesting insights, thanks!

      As to your edit: I always like how people trying to dispute you prove your point for you.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Thx for those insights. The first two points correspond with the consensus I’ve seen form.

      As to the numbers – I see women around me game all the time, and a lot of them play RPGs, so nobody needs to convince me that there are women gamers who like RPGs. Heck, some of my most intense role playing sessions were with women (Errr… That probably didn’t sound the way I intended it ;))

      As to the trolling, it’s sad to see though that something as mundane as trying to figure out who plays your games causes such negativity. It really shouldn’t be the case. Games are about having fun. Why on earth would that have to be exclusive to a certain group?

    • sukTHEfac

      Keza, you’re wrong in only one account. Games media has not failed women, but it has failed all rational people. As a 28 yo male, games media sites are no longer a place for me and increasingly so. There’s too many teenage angst-related marketing schemes like knee jerky headline click baits, “loud” “breaking” “exclusive news”, too much ” information”.

      I’d rather read one long honest writeup than a hundred one-paragraph “articles”

      It’s BOY’S place, not a man’s, as some imply.

  • trashmyego

    If I was a woman, I’d probably avoid engaging internet gaming culture on the whole. Hell, I’ve spent years before in a purposeful blackout from media and forums for a lot of the same reasons. It’s unavoidably toxic and depressing. And it’s not hard to rely upon friends for information, or on digital/real storefronts. Steam is very useful in providing a somewhat passive entry point into a variety of projects. If I had more outlets to distance myself from first hand interaction, while keeping the same level of awareness on the horizon, I’d take it in a heartbeat.

  • Silver

    Hmm, I can’t speak for anyone else but I know that for myself, 99% of the time i will register myself to sites as a male because my interests usually align more with what people advertise for men than for women.

  • Sidea

    I’m a woman, a console and PC gamer, built my own PC for gaming, and probably spend about 15 hours a week minimum gaming, some weeks probably more like 25-30 hours a week gaming. My love of gaming runs deep into my childhood, and wasn’t influenced by friends or social life. I married a man who doesn’t game. I’m more than happy to talk to you, but I’m not entirely sure what you want to know. I Kickstarted the first Divinity: Original Sin because it appeared to be in line with my favorite type of games: isometric, turn based, C-RPGs. I love Baulder’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Arcanum, Nox, Diablo, and the like. I don’t like C-RPGs exclusively. I love Elder Scrolls, Might and Magic, Final Fantasy, Dragon Age, etc. But I felt like I had played all the C-RPGs worth playing and was craving something new, so naturally I was interested in Divinity: Original Sin. I liked it. The reason I haven’t supported the second game is because I’m flat broke – I have nothing to give. I’m planning to just buy the game after it’s released. I don’t attend conventions because I’ve never lived close enough to one and I don’t have much money. Google’s stats probably don’t think gaming is as big of a part of my life as it really is, because I don’t talk about it on facebook that often. But I’m here, happy to participate in this conversation.

  • Bruno Beeftip

    Woman here, don’t bother listening to the reports regarding the 50/50 split. They’re bullshit that include mobile games and facebook games, which are, primarily, sims and puzzle games. On top of that, the women who DO play full-fledged video games tend to stick to the big name games like Skyrim, CoD, or Assassin’s Creed.

    Now, let’s break this down. Let’s be very generous and say that 30% of the game industry’s main audience consists of women. From there, let’s say 20% of these women play AAA titles, rarely venturing out into different genres, usually playing movie-like action games and Nintendo games. That leaves 10% to be the more “hardcore” gamers. From there, with the wide variety of games and genres for this 10% to play, it’s very reasonable that only half of them would be interested in lengthy RPGs, and would thus play D:OS.

    You also have to remember that your game will only attract a fraction of gamers by default, regardless of gender, due to its nature as a CRPG. It’s not a matter of “women don’t like CRPGs”, but rather “modern gamers don’t care for CRPGs”. Keep that in mind when developing the sequel: don’t TRY to appeal to women, don’t TRY to appeal to men. Make the game you want to make, and if it happens to appeal to them, then so be it. If it’s good, people will love it. That’s all that should matter to you.

  • Harsh reality

    ”Where are the women?”

    Not playing video games. And even if they do it’s a minority with 15% at most. Give up.
    Pic unrelated, but who gives a shit

  • Zach Rind

    I just wanted to thank you guys for doing this, I thinks it’s incredibly important for us male gamers to actively develop a more inclusive community!

    • Audie Bakerson

      Notice it’s always men thanking you for altering the game for women who won’t come, not the women who are already there or the non-existent new women.

      • Kaycee Watson

        He’s not talking a about altering the game – just the community.

  • TheHarpoMarxist

    I am disappointed that when confronted with multiple sets of data indicating something is imbalanced that you would attack the data rather than do some more research and maybe open your mind to the possibility that something is amiss and that Larian needs to do a better job making their game more inclusive. In all honesty, I loved D:OS, but this post has me contemplating a pledge cancellation.

    Mr. Vincke, if you look at your kickstarter page the first half of it exclusively displays women who are nude. The pitch focuses on competitive play, which women tend to be less interested in. If you compare the RPGs that do do well with women – WOW, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy, etc. with the content of the pitch it should be no surprise that D:OS2 isn’t doing well with women. It has almost none of the hooks that make those other games inclusive.

    It troubles me that you are blindly taking anecdotal evidence (“woman probably didn’t play those old school nostalgia games!”) as fact, and actual data as fiction.

    I feel like the correct way to respond to these findings is something along these lines:

    “There’s obviously an issue here, and we need to do a better job ensuring that our game is inclusive. Here are steps we’re going to take:

    1) Hire more women to place in lead creative roles.
    2) Reach out to the women who have backed the game to solicit feedback / ideas.
    3) Open up a page on our forum exclusively for women, in hopes of cutting off toxic feedback* from male posters / trolls.
    4) Continue investigating these alarming numbers and do some concrete research of our own and see what that data suggests.”

    *such as many of the comments in the thread to this post.

    I say all of this with tremendous fondness for Larian, and I hope that the proper steps are taken to ensure an inclusive, amazing RPG experience. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

    • Meittimies

      “The pitch focuses on competitive play, which women tend to be less interested in.”

      Clearly you have never played LoL, Dota 2, SMITE, PAYDAY 2, Team Fortress 2 or Left4Dead2. You’d be surpised how many women enjoy those games.

      • TheHarpoMarxist

        Hence the word “tend”. But point made. I know there are plenty of women who enjoy competitive play, and my impression that women tend to be less interested in competitive stuff than men is perhaps based on old data. I’ll research it when I have some time.

    • Raze

      Questioning data (or more specifically, the discrepancy between some statistics and observed, if limited, data) is not attacking it, especially when there is reason to question its accuracy, and is, in fact, part of doing more research.
      1) More women have been hired, though based on their abilities, not to fill quotas.

      2+4) That is part of the purpose of the blog post.
      3) Besides being impossible to implement, a female only forum would significantly cut down on the helpful posts, while doing very little about ‘toxic’ posts, since they are not acceptable in the rest of the forum anyway, and women are also capable of making negative posts.

    • Stabbey

      “Mr. Vincke, if you look at your kickstarter page the first half of it exclusively displays women who are nude. ”

      That is simply untrue.

      Yes, if you scroll down halfway, there is one small image of a nude female which is being transformed into a weapon, but it’s not very detailed, nor is it particularly titillating. It is not sexy. That’s it, that’s the only ‘nude’ image.

    • Anonymous

      This must be trolling…

  • Oni_Radix

    Hello all,

    I’m a female gamer and have been since games first started (the old text kind!) way, way back when. I love all types (from RPGs to Shooters), but, I never let on that I’m female when playing. Never. I have had a lot of negative feedback over the years and a lot of players are very negative to female players. I play games for fun and not to put up with crap from other players. It’s one of the main reasons I love SP and Co-Op but, I stay far away from MP.

    I say this because I might not have shown up as a “female” player in the report. The stuff I tend to like and buy are not listed in the “girls” department. I’m a science, graphic artist, gaming geek that uses a gamer tag as my online name. The online ad micros always have a hard time sending me ads about stuff I might be interested in.

    Anyway, I just thought I would post a note saying I think there are a lot of Female gamers and a lot I bet play the game, but, I would NOT be surprised if they tuned out anything dealing with online gaming. It just not a nice environment . . . man, some of the comments I read before I cut off of that out . . . crazy.

    I only saw about the Kicksatarter from an article I read. I loved the first game so, backed this one . . . I never would have found out about it otherwise.

    • Valanthe

      Female gamer here and second most things in this post. I found out about D:OS from an add on steam, was bummed about not backing so I decided to back this one.

      I second the distaste for online gaming and participation. There are some unpleasant people out there (a lot of great people, too). I’ll play this game with friends, not strangers. But I feel it’s geared towards playing with people you know, so cuddos.

      To all y’all saying women don’t like games, open your eyes. We do. You don’t speak for all women, anymore than I do. But Plenty of women game.

      • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

        I’ve got three at home who game so I don’t need to be convinced of that 😉

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Thx for backing! As to the online environment, I’m quite susceptible to online abusers ruining the experience for others. I’m still sad I had to switch off our global chat for D:OS. It was a great thing during development and early access, but the moment the floodgates opened, it became a showcase for the “verbal skills” of a minority and they took down a good thing.

      Energy is a limited resource and we decided not to invest our energy in fighting them, but we haven’t forgotten and are brooding on something that will allow us to bring back the global chat in D:OS 2 without having to deal with those people. I hope we have the time to implement it.

    • Abi Hernandez

      I’m a female gamer as well. Pool of Radiance was one of the first games I played and I loved it. But I avoid online forums and discussion groups because they are generally negative toward female gamers. If I post at all, I usually post with a gender neutral name or with a guy’s name. I’m registered as a man on Steam so even though I play mostly RPGs, it will show up as a guy playing the games, not a woman playing them. I do that because the Steam forums are also somewhat hostile to women. I see that many posters take women’s opinions less seriously there as well as sometimes harassing them. I know other women who do this as well. Back in the day, every female gamer I know posted as a guy.

      I played D:OS as well. I really like Cyseal but wasn’t as happy with the rest of the game. Part of the problem is that I hate, hate, hate corridors. The combat and ability to interact with the environment was a lot of fun in the beginning. Cyseal itself felt interesting and alive. I can’t remember having so much fun with combat so kudos to Larian. I like D:OS’s combat system. I love turn-based, like having some skills
      that are useful outside combat, like classless character systems (whether or not there are archetypes like in D:OS), and like
      how Larian used AP. But the combat got far too easy far too quickly and, since neither the storytelling, the characters, nor the worldbuilding grabbed me, I lost interest. But I backed D:OS 2 and look forward to participating in the alpha and beta.

      I love having characters’ race, background, etc. affect the story and am excited that this will be an important part of D:OS 2. I don’t want to speak for women in general, but being able to feel like I am role playing a character and having the game world react to that is important to me. Good luck, Swen and everyone else at Larian.

    • Arne Mo

      i think the reason that you got negative feedback is that alot of male gamers feels threatened by gaming females.
      I know it sounds strange but one have to remember that games for a extremly loong time was for the most part men.
      Thats just my thougths on it.
      I dont think you shoud not take it too personal even if i agree that some online games can be exremly toxic, thats why i i avoid it myself even if i`m a male.
      The trick i found is finding games with nice people or only play with friends and stay away from games such as COD or just mute.

    • Yuwaku Fuun

      I certainly agree with just about all the things listed by this commenter. So many females (myself included) have found ourselves under attack when it is discovered we are, in fact, female. There are many articles that have circulated about how women tend to be attacked more online by other individuals. For that, many of us play the part of a “man”. I know in regards to the recently ended kickstarter which I myself donated to, it will show up under my partner rather then myself. He would not have donated if I had not been as crazy about the original game as I am, but it was him who already had a kickstarter account. Plus, since many of the packages featured two copies of the game, why would i buy a separate package? As it is, I hope our “double dibs” package has 4 votes for the skill trees instead of just 2 so we can BOTH express both our opinions on the two trees added.

      I have been a long time player of games, all the way back to the days of the Sega genesis, and even participated for many years in a raiding guild in World of Warcraft. I eventually left not because I didn’t enjoy the game: but rather so much drama would play out because I was female and they felt that talking to me about what they saw as problems would drive away my partner and they would be down two raiding members. This happened in every guild I was in: they felt if they told me I wasn’t preforming to the level I felt I should that I would cry and pout. However before I would let them know I was a woman or they heard my voice over ventrilo, it was never an issue. I’m sure I’m not alone in popping into the guild chat channel, listening to the conversation, and then when you join in the room goes quiet….. “oh god, the girl is here”. As such, I have learned to stay far away from multiplayer games despite my love for them, because I play for fun… not to be singled out due to being female.

    • Jito463

      I realize this is an older post, but I wanted to add some thoughts. Speaking as a guy, I completely understand where you’re coming from on MP. I tend to stay away from MP, or if I do play it (not in an RPG, though), I find myself having to mute players far too often. The sad fact is, many MP gamers are just jerks and morons (typically post-adolescent kids who haven’t matured). Don’t let that affect your view of gamers as a whole, though. Not all of us are idiots. Many of us just don’t play MP, for the same reasons as you.

  • Chad Chandler

    Yep, you want it to happen, thus you will it in your own personal reality, but the reality that is existing outside your head is quite different and you might say on individual whim that it is “unpleasant”. We all want girls everywhere but women don’t like games, they do things in order to increase personal well-being and/or increase their socializing (which normally increases a woman’s surviving chance), thus they don’t like games, they will play it to socialize, that is why you see more women in your trade shows. Now you might say “but I know a girl who play just like the guys”, well yeah, that’s a minority. Highest female population in a RPG is World of Warcraft with about 40%, a game that is extremely well-known, long-lasting and offers lots of opportunity to socialize, even that game doesn’t get 50/50, don’t sweat it over an impossible goal.

  • Anonymous

    Women are too busy sucking my dick to play video games.

  • Tarian

    And the reactions coming in now are exactly the reason why girls and women DO NOT want to participate in discussions about gaming. It’s just not worth the hassle.
    One thing I did do,thanks to your post, is change my google+ profile from ‘unspecified’ gender to woman so google doesn’t guess ‘male’ just because I frequent game and geek sites.

    • Anonymous

      It’s such a hassle to deal with comments that hurt your feefees. :((((

    • Audie Bakerson

      Yeah, because women are cowards who can’t bare even the slightest mean comment by someone they will never know and will run away crying. Men are brave an expendable so mean things about THEM are perfectly fine and ignorable!

      • Chad Chandler

        They are more emotional and sensible to their personal well-beings, it’s an evolutionary fact of life that helped our species be where we are now. Men consider themselves more expandable and stoic, as with the expression “women and children first”.

    • Caio Pontes

      Fragile flowers, every last one of them.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Isn’t it nice how women are so stupid and predictable they’re just a single demographic despite everything else about them?

  • Anonymous

    I’m a girl btw

  • Malkavian Queen

    Thanks for the blog post! ^__^ I have a few suggestions.

    1.) Bringing attention to the new dialogue systems/massive work you’ve done on the story might boost the number of females interested. I know for myself and a lot of others I know, story/dialogue and especially character interactions are some aspects we’re most interested in. While I know there are plenty of gameplay enthusiasts too, there are a reason romance novels and visual novel games are so popular among many women.

    2.) Bringing attention to the cooperative/social aspects of the game might help too. I love that you can play with up to four people now, and I know more attention to the cooperative (as opposed to the emphasis on competitive) might help. I am planning on playing with my boyfriend, for example!

    …Also some of the comments here are creepy and are probably why a lot of female gamers don’t want to get involved with the community.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Them woman folk are all cowards who will run away from mean comments but will gladly play a game with plenty of killing and bad language if you pitch it right.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I’m definitely getting the community part 😉 But you’re not the first to mention we didn’t emphasise the cooperative enough. As David would say, we’re underselling ourselves again. I think there’s stuff we can improve there.

      • Idara

        I seem to remember in one of the early videos (sorry, can’t rem which one) someone (don’t think it was you, but might have been?) mentioned how cool it would be that the game would let you ‘stab your girlfriend in the back’. If I hadn’t followed the first KS avidly, and knew what kind of team you are, and the kind of game you want to make, that might well have put me (as a female gamer) off. I’m not saying it *wouldn’t* be fun to stab your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/husband/wife etc in the back, just that it might have given the wrong impression about the sort of game you’re wanting this to be.

        • Raze

          That was in reply to someone asking if the competitive questing would be forced or optional when he was playing with his girlfriend. The answer was that it was optional, but wouldn’t it be fun to do so? The context was not about stabbing girlfriends in the back, but those who you are playing co-op with in general.

          • Idara

            Thanks – I had a feeling I wasn’t remembering it clearly. As someone who doesn’t play co-op, I wasn’t listening too closely to that part, but waiting for mention of the magic words “single player” ;-). I’m just trying to rack my brains as to why female players who enjoyed D:OS do not seem to be turning up to back D:OS2.

        • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

          It might be worth checking out the stream we just did where we were playing coop, but opportunity knocked, and there was some slight backstabbing. It makes for a lot of fun. How to communicate that – that’s another matter and one we need to figure out. (The stream itself will be up at http://www.twitch.tv/larianstudios shortly)

          • Idara

            I was watching, thanks. Co-op isn’t my thing, and I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that you guys did anything wrong in that original vid I mentioned. I was just trying to see if I could spot anything in your marketing of the game that might be off-putting to women. Personally I backed the game day 1 and didn’t even watch the pitch video until afterwards 😉

  • Trepie

    As has already been mentioned, the mythical “50/50 split” has long been debunked. I don’t think you should be surprised by your numbers and I don’t think it has anything to do (or at least very little to do) with analytics being wrong. The “core” gaming audience simply is still a majority of men for the time being. And unlike some people, I don’t believe that is something to be sad about. I’ve always seen gaming as a very inclusive hobby (which is why so many outcasts, geeks, etc get involved with it). If most women are not interested, I don’t think that’s some societal problem we need to solve. Men and women should be allowed to have different interests. And if you try to cater more to women chances are you won’t see much of an increase and you run the risk of alienating your current audience.

    Please don’t give in to censoring your vision in order to appease people who won’t be buying your game regardless of what you do.

  • SimB


    There’s a fundamental point here that you are either missing or not mentioning: Your games are primarily made my men.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with this at all, but you have to understand that everyone, man or woman, creates things that appeal to themselves. This is because the sexes draw from different experiences, perspectives and needs. For example, a woman, drawing from her own creative instincts, will create something that appeals to herself and, likely, to other women. Conversely, a man will function in exactly the same way and create something that will more likely appeal to other men.

    Thus you have a situation where to make a game that appeals to women you need to employ more female leading voices and fire your male staff. Which, obviously, is totally wrong: these male staff have probably been with you through thick and thin and would have already proven their worth many times over. Moreover, you’ll just lose male players!

    So what I’m saying is that you are trying to have your cake and eat it! You can’t make a game that appeals to everyone! Make the game that appeals to *you*! If you do that, then at least you’ll create something honest and true to itself …

    Which, in turn, will be enjoyed those who are also honest and true to themselves. A far more profound demographic.


    P.S. I know this is missing the point of your post slightly, but I had to say my piece

  • alcoremortis

    I think you probably got it with the reluctance to participate in what is seen as a male-dominated space, particularly with some of the more recent outbursts towards outspoken women in the gaming community. Facebook is a fairly personal form of media that leads directly to a woman’s actual IRL identity, so it makes sense to me that many women would be hesitant to expose their personal life to a potential bad experience.

    It could also be the case that some of the women supporting the game are registering as men in order to blend in better. Most of the women in gaming that I know tend to remain gender neutral or actively pose as men online for that specific purpose (or just avoid it all together and get their gaming information filtered through me).

  • Rosveen

    If this is how Google determines the user’s gender, I’m most likely wrongly classified as male. I don’t follow your FB page because I rarely use FB in general and I’m not passionate enough about Larian to subscribe. I imagine this is the situation of many women: playing, but not actively engaging with the online community, especially not so early in the game’s development. In my experience, women often game with their partners – more often than men do, at least. IIRC it was confirmed by a study about MMO players. Those who don’t grow up as gamers, but discover the medium in adulthood instead, are commonly introduced to games by men as this is still traditionally a male hobby. Now, many of them go on to become active gamers in their own right, but I’m willing to bet many others are the only-playing-with-my-boyfriend kind. Of course, I’m only guessing here, but this has been my experience with female gamers I know in real life.

  • oni_radix


    I should also add that a survey might be a better way to get real info rather than blog posts. I filled ones out for both Rebellion and WB. I suggested in both that is would be awesome if they added Female skins to Zombie Army and Shadows of Mordor. Both ended up doing so, and I know it’s not just from one post, they must have had some research behind it. And it was awesome!! (I love those games!) Most of the games I play I play as a guy because I have to, and that is fine, but if there is a chance to play as a women then I do, because I can lose and imagine myself in the game better.

    I do see some posts on this page of how women are represented in games (like bikini armor, as support classes, etc) and that stuff is annoying, but I stopped thinking it ever going to change and it’s not going to stop me from playing games. However, even small stuff like adding playable skins can go a LONG way . . . I love those Devs for both Zombie Army and Shadows of Mordor for adding the skins (for SofM it was just for the open world and that was still way cool) . . . so, maybe a survey will add some better insight.

    Honestly I agree with most of the posts that say a lot of female players just tune out the online gaming community so, I think that could be a factor of why the numbers are like that and online posts might not be the best place for ideas.

    • Stabbey

      The problem with a survey is that you’d have to rely on them volunteering that information. And I don’t know about you, but I try to AVOID sending personal information blindly out into the Internet for no good reason other than to satisfy curiosity. I would not fill in such a survey because it’s not anyone’s concern but mine, and I’m probably not the only one.

  • Katetron

    I *highly* recommend reaching out directly to women game developers who work on exactly these kinds of issues. Sheri Graner Ray, for example (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheri_Graner_Ray).

    • Valanthe

      I second your idea!

      I think BioWare and Wizards of the Coast (specifically for Magic) have done well in their marketing to women. At least are improving. See where it’s been working, and follow their lead. I think one of the more successful strategies, for me at least, has been just having empowered women in your art. Not having the only women in your art look like an object goes a long way. Fostering a friendly, less abrasive environment for women also goes a long way.

      • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

        Is there anything specific you’re thinking of when it comes to Bioware/WOC?

        • epick

          I can’t speak specifically for Valanthe, but for me, I appreciate that the outfits that characters wear look realistic (and cool enough to dress up in), there’s a real attempt to have 50/50 ratios of women to men (and some people of colour, too!), doing more public demonstrations and trailers that feature women and people of colour prominently, and showcasing members of the staff that might be from those minority groups.

        • Valanthe

          I agree with epick – the outfits and presentation of women do make a difference. WotC and BioWare do, for the most part, a good job of not objectifying the women. Which helps a lot, for me at least, and most of the women I’ve had these conversations with. I for one, was happy with the change to Scarlet’s outfit in D:OS 🙂 For magic, currently 3 of the 5 core planeswalkers are women – they do cycle them so the ratio isn’t always in women’s favor, but it seems like at least two of them usually are women. And of the current 3, 2 are pretty battle-ready in appearance and so it makes the seductive looking one less off-putting. So moral of the story for what I think works is have a diverse cast of women share the same space as a diverse cast of men. I think you guys did a good job of this with D:OS and am happy to nag my friends job on the Divinity train.

          As for out of game participation, I’m not exactly sure what was different. Back in the day, the BioWare forums just seemed friendlier. I’m not sure if they attracted a more mellow crowed, or behind the scenes the moderators were more liberal with banning/removing posts of people who were verbally aggressive towards others. I do remember moderators being a major presence on the old forums, which may have helped just lower the likelihood of folks to degrade others. This also was about 10 years ago, so internet trolling may not have been as much of a thing, I certainly don’t recall doxxing being so popular.

          • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

            You’re certainly right that 10 years ago trolling wasn’t such a thing 🙂 And the diversity part fits with something I wrote elsewhere in the messages here – sexy and non-sexy men & women are fine depending on their context, just like armour should be protective (and stylish in certain cases).

  • Nottomcruise

    Market to more women! Reach out to popular female reviewers, youtube stars, giving popular group talk youtube groups demos of multi-player. One thing is I can imagine a Larian being featured in Forbes which is more male focused, getting into female focused or variety media would definitely improve sales.

    Also nostalgia is good and all but only relevant to those with the nostalgic memories. There are many people who are new to rpgs or gaming, people who weren’t born yet, or people and people who didn’t like those games. Nostalgia is great, male or female there are many without those memories. Many of those games were marketed to the “nerdy” subculture like gamers and table top gamers, most people of that demographic were about 98% male at the time. Many people who played crpgs are probably more veteran in gaming and would already know they are playing with a crpg inspired game and immediately feel nostalgic. Market toward creating a bigger larian following/community. Show your current following that you care by making the best game that you can with cool features and throw in some references and easter eggs.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      That pretty much fits with the conclusions we arrived to. The one takeaway we have is that we need to adapt some of our marketing. I’m glad I wrote this post for that.

  • Sun

    This is ignorant in my opinion. There’s nothing women with gaming being overwhelming men (or kickstarter). Just like book clubs are overwhelming women and fundraising that are more centric for women. You don’t find major push from men trying to “bridge the gender gap” and how “book clubs are disproportionately women.” Even cringe worthy MRAs don’t become that obnoxious (at least not yet to their Feminist mirror opposites). Men and women gravitate towards particular activities on their own. Websites/fundraising act the same way. And it’s part of the differences that tend to be innate to men and women. Not everything needs to be made equal-they level and mountain and a valley and call that morality. It’s amazing how “baffled” people are that there is differences in gaming when it comes to men and women. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s *healthy* to have separation/segregation for men and women in certain aspects of life and prevent the opposite sex. If women want to have a women’s night out at a bar with no men-so be it. In fact, I encourage it. Not everything needs to be “inclusive.” There are times to be together but there are times to be separate. Most people find harmony in balance. But some people who want to resocialize society to how it should be, when it isn’t nor shouldn’t be (even if it could…) will never be satisfied and always try to fix something. And I don’t want to simply stick to a reactive biological view. From a sociological standpoint reinforcing differences and having separate activities for men and women strengthens society by having separate events where men and women can act, behave, differently, whereas in a co-ed environment, social dynamics change.

    This is coming from an inegalitarian anti-feminist patriarchal position. I’m sure there are people with a wide varied of opinions.

    • NotTomcruise

      Swen was only giving stats, they make these games for single and social play, and obviously the gaming community is improved by having different people men and women. While it’s true that men and women tend to prefer different things, 20 years of gaming experience(table top and videogaming) inclusion and strong community is a part of a great game. They are not taking a moral standpoint. They are only trying to get the game out to those who might enjoy it. He said was saying he wanted everyone to enjoy it. Including women.

      • Sun

        I realize that however it’s obvious there is a goal behind the statistics given here…as you just point out…

        • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

          When we made Divine Divinity, I got a phone call from a journalist who asked me which side I took in the Israelian-Palistinian conflict. I said – I beg your pardon ? – and she went on to explain to me how Divine Divinity was a metaphor for that conflict. I tried to tell her that it was not, that I knew nothing about it other than what I saw on the news, and that I was just trying to make a fun game.

          Here I was just interested in the reason for there being a difference between the analytics and my perceived feeling. I can’t do anything about someone else reading more into it, but that’s really it. It’s not going to affect our designs.

          That said, I certainly hope there are more women who’ll play my games, just like I hope there’ll be more men. I don’t see why it should be exclusive – I repeatedly said that D:OS was a game I wanted to play with my partner and I take great pleasure in hearing couples or friends recount their experiences, regardless of their gender.

          • Trepie

            The way I see it is that people are worried that being more inclusive means compromising the game in order to appeal to a different demographic. Myself included. We all saw what your artist posted about “boobplate” for the first D:OS and how you were pressured to change the art in order to appease people who weren’t buying your game either way. We don’t want to see that again and we definitely don’t want things to get even worse.

            I want to support you guys and I’m sure most people here feel the same way. But when you try to “broaden the demographic” for your game you risk alienating those of us who have already pledged and disagree with things like censoring art.

            If the goal here is simply to improve marketing and not changing the game itself in anyway, you should have probably been a bit more clear about that. I think most people would be perfectly fine with you improving your marketing strategy. Anything to get the most funds for the game. We just don’t want to see the game change because of it.

          • Sun

            That’s one result of “inclusivity.” To appease everyone you have to lower/compromise the game in some politically correct fashion. Otherwise X, Y, Z will get offended (which is against inclusivity). Even if games are geared towards (let’s face it) men. Just like romance novels are geared towards women.

            I’ll still support them. It’s just a game and there are other issues more important. But it’s interesting how game developers have started to mirror more and more of society. I see games as a form of escapism for men, where more traditional ideas of masculinity still manifest in fantastical realities…when society almost has negated all of it in real life. Many men have embraced reactionary backlash see a further push to alter them and any circle which has been “male spaces (which has masculine attributes associated with them).”

          • Raze

            Nobody is advocating trying to appease anyone, especially those simply using the term ‘inclusive’ to push a political agenda (who are never going to be happy with the results, anyway).

          • Sun

            Yeah….I disagree….

          • Sun

            You might find this an interesting read btw: http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2012/09/draw-the-line/

          • Sun

            Well, we will have to agree to disagree. I don’t think extreme inclusivity always strengthens but often is worsens a community in a variety of different ways (and often the systems, societies, and in this case games, that are trying to be made).

            I don’t feel I read too much into it. But, it’s fine if you think I did. The goal is obviously to try to create more “equality.” And you feel there is some environmental factors that lead and prevent women from participation in kickstarter/games. You wish to eliminate such factors for such disparity.

  • James V.

    This has to be some kind of joke, are you serious? This is on the level of people who complain that LEGO makes pink princess sets for young girls after doing market research on what young girls want to buy.
    It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that someone who produced one of my favorite recent releases can think that men and women are factory-built robots who automatically equally share every hobby exactly the same way.

    • conchis

      You’ve totally missed the point. Swen’s saying he suspects plenty of women do play D:OS already, but few women seem to know about the Kickstarter for D:OS2, and he’s wondering why there’s such a big disparity there. This is an issue of marketing, not the design of the game.

  • Tempest

    Oh sweet jesus. You want a really frank answer? Men and Women do not like the same thing. You want a real world example?

    Go to a book publisher. Ask them this simple question.

    “Why are there no romance novels directed at men and why are there mostly women romance authors”

    They will tell you,

    “There is just no demographic to appease to men. Women just like the romance genre more than men”

    And there you go. A genre that solely panders to women. A woman controlled demographic.

    Movies? Romance or Drama that are again, directed at the women audience. If they didn’t want those movies, they would not watch them. The same for books and any other medium.

    Different people have different taste. This is nothing new or blasphemous.

    • Raze

      The observed, if limited, anacdotal evidence does show that many women do play D:OS, though, and are interested in D:OS 2. The question is why the given statistics are so much lower than the expected minority proportion.

      • Tempest

        Information is limited at best.
        They “play” DoS. Okay.

        Next question could easily answer the devs question.

        “How long did they play the first DoS?”

        If they played it as frequently as males, meaning each girl put as much time as any guy, than I too would question why women don’t want to play.

        If the girls only put a few hours at best, it just means the girls played DoS to test it at best but lost interest.
        Just because girls played DoS doesn’t mean they sank hours into it.

    • Sun

      Well that’s how they have to make it more “inclusive.” To pander to the needs and wants of women. A genre needs to be altered to the point where all people go.

      But as you know “romance” genre doesn’t need to be changed to appease to a wider demographic (men). Hey, they like to think they’re simply making statistics for no real motive. But hey, you and I know that isn’t true. They’re just trying to deconstruct the remaining male spaces. But trying to do it in a subtle way.

      The answer is anything for men is bad. Anything for women is good.

    • Thorbjorn Lyk

      Or it could be that men do not read romance novels because they are not directed at men? If people are never introduced to the genre they will not start liking it and if there is no books written with the purpose of them reading it they will probably never pick one up.

      Often you will find that the problem is more in not catering to the users than the users not wanting to play/read/watch a certain genre or media.

      • Stabbey

        I think “Romance Novels for Men” exist, they just feature a lot more explosions and gunfire than women prefer.

        • Stabbey

          In a Romance Novel for women, the protagonists sit on a beach at sunset and talk about how beautiful the eyes of the other are.

          Then they have sex.


          For men, the protagonists sit on a beach at sunset and talk about how beautiful the Eye of Atomori will be exploding, along with the rest of Magnus Crushhammer’s Doom Laser.

          Then they have sex.

          • Thorbjorn Lyk

            That sounds more like pornography on text in both cases 🙂

            Making romance catering a male audience would probably not need much more than a change of main charracter, a change of cover art and a sleight change of the tone in the novels.

            The problem is that men “obviously” doesn’t read romance so why make it for them, and the same goes often goes for games.

  • Domhnall

    I hasten to remind you about the massive fan outcry due to Larian changing its D:OS art to appease people who don’t care about games except as a way to push an ideology. And I shouldn’t need to mention whatsoever the blog post by Larian’s artist about how they felt about being forced to change their art (hint: it wasn’t good). And the massive blowback Obsidian got for changing an innocuous backer poem. And how Bioware has fallen from grace in many gamers’ eyes for turning their back on their fanbase.

    I’m not saying don’t change anything. I’m sure many of the changes Larian has in mind will make D:OS2 much better and fans will love it. And if there’s something that Larian feels needs to change to make the game better, then of course, whatever those changes are, do those. Just bear in mind that some people, including many who have no interest in Divinity or games in general, will invent wolves to cry at; don’t go wasting time and energy hunting something that doesn’t exist.

    • thereviewgrid

      do you have a link to the blog by the Larian’s artist, I’d be interested in reading it.

      • Domhnall
      • Raze

        Keep reading until you get to the point where the artist conceded the original artwork was not representative of the game.
        Also, the artist’s initial post is not a complete description of the objections to the original artwork. There were many people who back the kickstarter who had no ideology to push, and simple expressed a preference for realistic armour, or thought the discrepancy between the male and female armour just looked silly, etc. There were also people interested in the game and questioning in the forum (in carefully neutral terms) whether the cover art was an accurate depiction of the relationship between the main characters in the game. The fact that the cover art was giving an inaccurate impression of the game to some people was enough reason to change it, even ignoring extremists on both sides of the discussion.
        Note that every aspect of the game was changed or influenced based on feedback during and after development, including the original character concepts that the artwork was based on. I don’t know why cover art should somehow be the only thing exempt from that.

        See Swen’s reply below:

  • thereviewgrid

    Why does this matter in the slightest? You guys have made $1.314 million from nearly 30k people. Your audience is there putting their money into a project that they believe is worth it, let’s not get hung up on the differences and just appreciate the people who are responding to this.

  • Drapetomania

    Let’s disregard all the political stuff, because there’s a lot of ideology going around.

    Simply put, men and women, on average, do not equally enjoy the same activities. There’s no reason to expect an uneven ratio, and there’s nothing even wrong with it, so long as people are not being barred and discouraged from joining.

    There is some truth to unsavory behavior in online communities; I am frequently on the giving AND receiving ends of trolling, and I think it’s more related to how men treat each other and what people expect out of each other. Men are more prone to ribbing on each other, even cruelly, though it’s often in good fun or not serious, whereas women take those comments much more personally and be affected by them. It’s basically men enjoy lockerroom humor with each other and women much less so.

    I’ve been attacked for all sorts of reasons relating to my person; my voice, how I looked, things from my past, etc. But trolls are just gonna troll.

  • Shadow of Light Dragon

    Speaking for myself, a woman, who was an avid consumer of RPGs back in the 90s, and also as a player of Divinity: Original Sin — the thing that drew me to D:OS was some comments that it had been heavily influenced by Ultima, my favourite series of single player games back in the day. I also loved the Baldur’s Gate games, but that’s enough gamer cred flag waving. :p

    I don’t typically follow companies or games on Facebook, even those I like.

    On most platforms, including Kickstarter, I avoid disclosing my gender in those little M/F fields (or I lie) to avoid ads deemed appropriate based on my chromosomes, and also to preserve a measure of privacy on sites that demand lots of private information. In this digital age, it can be safer that way.

    You have female gamers. Women love to play RPGs as much as guys. We don’t avoid them because they have ‘complex tactical combat’, as some have suggested. It’s just more difficult for women to break into the gaming scene because the social side can be…less than welcoming, and most ‘hardcore’ games are still heavily marketed towards attracting a male audience (I am not saying this is true for *all* games, or for Divinity), giving the impression that games are still a boy’s toy.

    I knew no other girls who gamed when I was a kid, and fortunately the guys I knew were welcoming of me. The same can’t be said for all women, and the rise of the internet and multiplayer games have made it even easier to find yourself in a toxic environment. But we’ve been here as long as teh d00dz, even if you haven’t seen us. 😉

    • Shadow of Light Dragon

      I should add that when I was playing D:OS, it was multiplayer with another female player who grew up with Ultima.

      • Pintheshadows

        Ahhhh Ultima. Those were the days.

  • Steven

    Male gamer here. In my experience female gamers tend to like the relationship type stories; romances, interpersonal relations and feelings between party members etc…as a male gamer I am more interested in exploring the world, setting lore and combat tactics.

    I play both tabletop and crpg’s and this has been what I have seen in both cases. I really hope you don’t start making games bioware style as I have zero interest in those types of games. I like developed stories and interesting characters but games like bioware makes I stay far away from.

    I realize there are females who are exceptions to this as well ad male buy my bet is this is true on average.


  • Draskya

    Hi all, I’m a female gamer and based on my personal experience i believe that the main problem is social.

    When i was a child my parents never bought me video games and consoles because it was not proper for a girl. Only the boys or the brothers of my friends could play smoothly.
    If a friend was playing with her brother was well regarded but if she played alone because she liked the games, she became a weirdo.
    Since childhood i was fascinated by the world of video games but i could never play because teenage girls should: shopping, makeup, see trend series, buy teen magazines, … A girl should not play because games are violent, games destroy our neurons and are kids stuff (only for boys)

    When i became independent, i could buy a pc (designed to play) and thanks to my boyfriend i could enjoy many games such as: Baldurs Gate, Neverwinter, Planescape, … (and more action and adventure games, roleplay games, mmorpg…). Currently i’ve my own pc, PS4 and i love to play (if the game is good).

    But in my social enviroment (with other girls) is still frowned upon a girl who likes to play (is believed that the girl is wasting his life or she is sick). Moreover, with most guys it is not frowned upon; they generally accept a gamer girl without her look like a freak.

    Since “play” is becoming a fad, it seems that there are more gamer girls (at least many of them no longer hide their identity). But there remain other problems:

    * If u say that u are a gamer girl, you will find many guys who think that u’re dating and not playing, others think that u’ll never understand games and that games are not for girls, others will no respect u just for being a woman, u’ll find many girls (or other boys) taking advantage of guys (who are desesperate for attention) … (Sorry but many communities are crap and tat is the rason why many girls dont want enter)

    * Many girls are ashamed to play and dont dare to share this hobby with their friends.

    * Other girls know videogames by his brothers, friends, couples, and many times are they who follow the announcements, releases, buy the games, … And these girls dont care to do it for themselves.

    * ….

    If for many girls play can be a problem; a hobby to share with friends (family,..); a social trend… they will not care to participate in programs such as Kickstarter.
    They can play the game after it release if it has good reviews, if it get a reputation, if it becomes know amog social networks or game networks.

    It is now when many girls are discovering the world of games while the vast majority of men have had access to this market for a long time. And usually when u begin to discover something, u start with what is already created, not by what can be created because u have not seen how limited are “X” market types yet.

    And please, turn away the cliches, a lot of girls like to play, sometimes even more than men but we talk about a market that until recently had not considered the women (and sometimes still does not)

    Personally, i loved D:OS and the combat system. I had a lot of fun playing it with my patner. In general i was fascinated by the game despite the shallowness of the main story and some dialogue (wich is usually what i most value). So i participate in the Kickstarter campaign for D:OS II, because i really want more games like this.

    Thanks for your work. You are amazing. (And sorry for my bad english)

    • Audie Bakerson

      What country are you from? That’s really important to know if you are giving culture as a reason, especially as being a non-native speaker would rule out English speaking countries which make up the bulk of Kickstarter visiters.

      • Draskya


        • Audie Bakerson


  • lokyst

    I can’t speak to the analytics aspect, but as a female gamer who bought D:OS and who has only just now become aware of the Kickstarter for D:OS2, both times it was specifically through MMORPG gaming news aggregation sites. Maybe it’s a stereotype, but I play MMOs and picked up D:OS so that I could play co-operatively with a small group of known friends.

  • Bev

    Hi Swen,

    I’m glad I am one of the women that backed the game! However, it is a shame that more women did not back it, as it was a lot of fun. In the group of women I know, it’s unfortunate that I, and only two others game on a more frequent basis. So out of 10 of us, that’s 30%, and then only one of us (me) backed the game, and I am the only one that played your game, even though I did tell them about it!

    Out of the three of us that do play games, we play them sporadically because we juggle a lot in our lives. All three of us like to play games (mostly RPG’s) with our significant others or friends and do not have a lot of time to spend playing them in one sitting. Also, not one of us visits any gaming sites in any depth. We go for the information and tend to leave once we’ve found what we need. It’s unfortunate, however we find we do not lose our sanity by dealing with community trolls this way. Even just scrolling down through these comments would give some females lurking through pause as to whether or not they should become a part of the discussion.

    Two points in talking with my friends I have gathered.
    1. We don’t want to become a part of a community, as that takes up more time we do not have. We just want to come home, relax, unwind and play (if there is time).
    2. We also all commented if we did have time to participate, we’d rather do it on our terms. If you are trying to market more towards women and want their feedback, all 10 of us mentioned we would rather fill out surveys or join a group on facebook or pinterest rather than twitter.

    Also both girls that haven’t played your game asked me if there were any romance scenarios in it. I had to tell them no, and they said they might be more inclined to play it if it did. Their two cents.

    Hope that helps. If you have any specific questions for us we’d be happy to give feedback through email!

  • Anonymous

    Female gamer here! While I didn’t play any of the RPGs everyone mentioned growing up, ( I did play a ton of Pokemon though) nor have I played any other RPG than your own and D&D, I love your game. I learned about it through my husband, and he gave up playing it early on (sorry!) whereas I went on to play it for hours on end. I don’t participate in any online communities, for the same reasons some women mentioned below, but I loved playing it in SP mode, and can’t wait to back this project! I honestly don’t know what drew me to it specifically, especially over other RPGs, but I loved it all, the story, artwork and puzzles just can’t get enough of it and can’t wait for the next one!

  • JC Ashcott

    Anecdotal evidence, so take this with a grain of salt.

    1) Most chicks I know simply don’t like to engage in forums, even when they are active in things like IRC and Teamspeak

    2) The females in our loose guild/hub (about 20 to ~130 depends on seasons and work/school schedule, about 1/3 of that are female) that plays cRPG or any sort of PnP Rpg or SRPG (especially japanese stuff) tend to be older and have learned to master the way to avoid unwanted attention, this is especially true during games like Utima: Online, Everquest, Ragnarok Online and such, identifying as female = getting insults on one extreme to getting babied through the hard part and given the best items on the other. This means that they act like guys, play like guys, and for the rest of world, for all intents and purposes – they might as well be as guys, the only ones that knows they aren’t guy are just the people they play with or when they hit up the cons.

    3) The study you look at is way too generalized, even within the simulation genre, you will get massive disparity (Harvest Moon vs Truck Simulator 2014 and the likes). Even for the MMOs, there’s disparity (at least in my group’s case). Something like FFXIV is a magnet for the girls cause it has everything they want with avatar customization (the squeals for glamour and dye isn’t a joke, stupid amount of gil + repeatedly farming for just ONE necklace/gear for glamours isn’t all that uncommon for them, that’s until new gears comes out and this get repeated), while others like TERA and Skyforge aren’t as popular cause it’s a hassle, this is especially for the younger girls in our group. cRPG is really niche with the female crowd (number one complain I hear is that it’s too bothersome to advance/learning curve).
    I’m not sure if it’s just preferences or the fact that cRPG isn’t that common for the younger people to play it while growing up (especially the younger ones) or simply exposure in the first place (Disgaea series is a hate/love thing after it got introduced to some of them).

    4) Pre-order and kickstarter isn’t a thing for them, while our group is pretty much on the “screw pre-order” page (especially what happened with ArcheAge and similar flops), this is especially for the girls (regardless of age). The general consensus is “if it’s any good, you guys will let us know”. Of course, even us guys does it since we leave it to ~5 ppl to test out new games and let us know if it’s any good and then we do the whole “let’s get everyone on the same server” shuffle when we join.

  • mildcat

    Hi there, I am a woman. I started gaming in 1990. I played Baldur’s Gate I + II, all Icewind Dales, Planescape Torment, Monkey Island, Prince of Persia, Battle Chess and a lot of games on the C64. I love Battlefield, was an avid CS gamer since 2001 and went on to DoD:S. (You can’t explain that 😉 )
    I think women really don’t follow the gaming subject as intently as men. I’m lurking in an old german CS forum, which has long outgrown its roots and is a ground for discussions about everything. It is still mostly populated by men and I take a lot of my nerdy informations from there. Those news are kind of presorted so I don’t need to look all over the net for interesting tidbits. This saves a lot of time. I think women tend to inform themselves in another way than men.

    Oh, and I’m all in for gaming nostalgia. Up to the point where I have to admit, that I don’t really care about fancy graphics… I grew up playing a lot of Defender of the Crown (C64) 🙂

  • guessed

    Trying to base your expectations on trade shows is not a good idea. Trade show attendance isn’t an unbiased sample. Did you ever consider the possibility that a higher % of female fans attend trade shows and cons since they like social events more than male fans who would rather stay home and jerk off into a crusty sock? food 4 thought.

  • Aramintai

    I’m an old school female gamer (started playing in early 90s) who had played all of your games, Larian. I don’t care about expos and usually just look up video games industry news on the internet. I don’t mind preordering games that I know are gonna be good and I also frequent Kickstarter for new games to back, including yours.
    Statistics data most of the times is quite crude, you can use it to get general idea, but, please, don’t use it as a reason to focus only on male gamers audience.

  • Gnostic

    Stardock has been doing their customer report since 2008 with the latest being 2014 and it state female customers are consistently 5% every year.


    Surely the number of female customers in the gaming industry should be much higher, but maybe games of certain type is more likeable to female while other not.

    Not to say there are no females that like a certain type of game, but the majority of female customer prefer some other type of games. So what type of game you are creating? Will it appeal to females?

    Also to anyone worrying that appealing to females will compromise the game, well if D:OS2 disappoint, don’t buy their next game then. There are enough great games out there that we cannot finish them all in our lifetime.

    • Audie Bakerson

      I’d rather have D:OS2 be good instead of OS2 and OS3 being shit.

      • Gnostic

        But what to do, I am not Swen father and cannot force him.

        Then again most of the original team of D:OS is there so most likely the quality won’t degrade much.

        If despite all expectation, OS2 end up selling lesser then the first OS, then we have a shining example that catering to a smaller percentage of your customer and alienating the rest is bad, you cannot have the cake and eat it.
        I will be sad that my $670 goes down the drain, but I would hear less about developers changing the content of their game to suit social media pressure.

        • Raze

          So what exactly has been changed for D:OS 2?
          What was the conclusion from this, other than maybe Larian should try promoting the game and Kickstarter more to women, if the there are female RPG players somewhere that the existing effort is not reaching?

          • Gnostic

            Fear, Paranoid, Speculation, and Swen history, what else?


            Logic dictates that there won’t be significant changes since most of Larian original team is still working on OS2.

            But reading comments of a certain group, like no boobs on lizard has much of my goodwill burned up.


          • Raze

            Well, IRL lizards are not actually mammals, so you hardly have to be an extremist to not want breasts on lizards in the game (even if some who do, are).
            I would think the choice of lizards being reptiles or mammals has already been made, though, since that would impact the design of the culture and interactions with the other races, etc.

          • Gnostic

            Sure, Lizards should not be able to talk and act like a human too. They should be proving over rocks and trees for bugs, communicate with body language, changing colors on their body and pheromones.

            Extremist won’t want to humanize the Lizards right?

            …… still I find it strange why I am irritated by it. I played and enjoyed genderless games, or games that I can hardly differentiate a man from a women. If nobody brought this up and Larian just implement sexless Lizards I would have enjoyed the game all the same, if it is as good as OS1.

            How come when someone bring that up I am so irritated by it? I need to do some soul searching.

  • Martin Ockovsky

    I’ve looked into my steam account.
    For DOS:
    20 of my friends have DOS: 2 of them are women
    14 have DOS on their wishlist: 3 of them are women
    I have 93 steam friends, 8 are women.
    So 29 out of 85 men have or want DOS. 5 out of 8 women have or want DOS.

    3 of my friends have Divinity II, one of them is a woman.
    1 of my friends have Divine Divinity, he is a man.
    Only I have Beyond Divinity out of all of my friends on steam.

    But that’s only steam. + 1 man (me) on those games on steam.

    From what I know about my female friends who like RPGs, I know that they really love romances in games. That’s why they like Bioware games with otherwise not so great writing. Because they can fall in love with Alister or what’s his name.

    I think it would be nice addition to your game, more so in COOP. Not just rock paper scissoring (ehm) for how to deal with the guest, but an romantic interaction. Maybe you play with a girl and she want’s to romanticize you up right nice. And you will ignore you and you will be a dick to her and such. So she want’s you more… Where am I going with this? I’ll stop.

    I just wanted to say, romance option in RPGs is a huge selling point for girls. And I think you would be really good at doing something interesting and funny with it. I would love to fall in love with and Orc matriarch with my future polymorphed dwarf;)

  • ilianaaaaaaa

    Female here. Loving Divinity:OS and I cant wait to play the second one! I found out about your game because I was looking for things similar to Baldurs Gate/Icewind Dale.. Who knew it would be even better!

  • six

    I think you should just ignore what sex your fan base have. Actually you should ignore almost everything anyone outside the company has to say.
    We may provide a great idea here and help with some polish there but in the end it is minor tweaks to your shining gem.
    Stay true to yourselves and the fan base will continue to grow by word of mouth alone.

    I play games for the romance first, story second and thirdly difficulty/mechanics.

  • epick

    Hey Swen! I’m a lady in her mid-twenties who loves the hell out of RPGs and grew up on games like Diablo, Baldur’s Gate and KOTOR. I think I’d be in your demographic! But I just never got around to playing Divinity, and maybe I can elaborate on those reasons and it might help towards the development of 2?

    I was super interested in it for a while – the prospect of even *playing* as a female character in a game is such a huge draw. I can relate a ton more to characters if they’re closer to my actual physical appearance, and seeing a lady on the front cover was huge! But the drawback of that art was that side-by-side, the lady had uh, “armour”, while the male character had armour that *didn’t* reveal his internal organs for any enemy to tear open with ease. That tends to be a tip-off for me as to whether or not a game is going to be respectful in terms of character design – the designs in games like Dragon Age: Inquisition are a lot more sensible and help to make both the world feel more realistic and make me feel more welcome in it, as an example. Costume design (and the ability to make very different, very colourful costumes) seem to help a lot when trying to aim your game at other demographics.

    I also had difficulty finding a co-op partner to play with. I’m single, and don’t have a boyfriend I could drag into the game along with me. And I didn’t really want to tackle it alone! I always intended to pick it up when I *had* a designated game partner to play with, but at this point that hasn’t really happened yet. I know it might be a bit unrealistic to balance or make a game for a broader group, but you might get more sales with even a 3 or 4-person cap on the party size.

    I also prefer games that are hugely character-driven rather than just story or numbers alone. And I had been told by a friend who *loved* the game that it very much involved min-maxing and that sort of thing (which it’s entirely possible that it isn’t, and in that case sorry for being misinformed!). Unfortunately that doesn’t appeal to me as much – I can’t speak for other women on the whole, but it was a bit of a turn-off, personally. It’s fine if your game is to that style – but I need some solid reasons to bring me through the game rather than making the strongest possible character, y’know? I admit I’m a bit of a sucker for the way Bioware writes their characters (and even includes romances, as strange as they can sometimes be), and I can definitely say that for several of my female friends those are actually a huge reason ladies play those games.

    I appreciate that you’re putting the time in to asking the community why women might not be interested – that alone makes me more interested in Divinity 2 on the whole. It sucks when your group is barely acknowledged by creators of a thing that you love, and it’s great to get recognition like this. Good luck with the new game!

  • bigironvault

    I truly wouldn’t worry about it Swen, my sister and I play many games together (Baldurs Gate 1 & 2, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2) and she absolutely LOVES DoS – she even believes DoS is the best CRPG of all time. And loves the idea of DoS2 but she doesn’t really find it interesting to kickstart or to get excited about games too early in the development cycle. For some odd reason I cannot get the females in my life excited about games before they are about to be released. In conclusion, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think keep doing what you’re doing.

    • Idara

      That’s interesting. I’m a female backer of D:OS 2 (and was of the first one), as well as nearly 20 other video games on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but with one exception (which was not an RPG) I have not participated in Alpha- or Beta-testing (where eligible) as I don’t want ‘spoilers’, nor to get used to a system/dynamic that is ever changing (one reason I gave up on MMOs). I wonder if this is just me or a more general factor for female gamers. Yes, there will; always be the hardcore who want every last scrap of info as it comes along, but perhaps women as a whole enjoy the ‘complete package’ better? Just a thought.

      • bigironvault

        It’s funny you know I talked to my sister about it. Her personal view is that she likes buying stuff that she can get right away and not have to wait for it. She’s got too much other stuff to worry about and she lets me get all excited and pump her up. She thinks that guys are a bit more risk taking and willing to drop money on stuff they’ve never seen before, whereas she needs to visually see stuff to get excited.

        • Idara

          I totally get that. I wouldn’t usually catagorize myself as a risk-taker (quite the opposite in fact) but the long-time derth of the kind of games that I enjoy encouraged me to back them when they started to be reborn through Kickstarter, because I desperately wanted them to be made. After that, I guess I kind of got ‘into’ it – but mainly in backing games I’d like to play, then waiting for them to appear. Larian’s are the only Kickstarter games I follow closely, and that’s because I think Swen and the team are so much fun and provide such great content (presence on forums, update videos) to their backers.

        • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

          Same goes for my partner – she wants it now, not in 15 months 🙂

          • bigironvault

            While I have your attention Swen, my sister was wondering if she will be able to create a female dwarf character in game. I believe this would be the first time that we’ve seen the ability to play a female dwarf character in an old school isometric game like this. (Correct me if I am wrong.)

          • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

            Of course. Now that you mention it, we probably didn’t advertise that at all. We have female versions of all races (except the undead so far)

          • bigironvault

            I think Swen what all this discussion is pointing out is perhaps there’s a missrf marketing opportunity here. I look at the accolades that DoS have won and the ease by which I sold the game via word of mouth to at least 7 of my friends and wonder why are we not seeing DoS1 or 2 more in the mainstream. In fact the people I “sold” DoS1 to didn’t even know that DoS2 was on Kickstarter! It’s incredible to see DoS #28 on the Top 100 of all time list when more than half of the gamers I know personally via online or in person have no idea what it is. I wish I had an answer for you, but I would certainly explore that train of thought.

  • Jbumi

    I’m very interested in your games, but am strictly a PlayStation gamer. I’ve preordered the PS4 version based on watching a few hours of the game on You Tube. However, being as I’ve not actually played any yet I don’t feel ready to support the kickstarter for the new game (also wouldn’t want to support it & then never have it come to console). I don’t use Facebook or Twitter or any “social” media – it’s just not my cup of tea.

    So while I can’t speak for all women, hope this explains where this one’s at! 🙂

  • Rannie

    Hello Swen, just adding my two cents here. I backed your first campaign after seeing the video you made with Angry Joe because the gameplay looked great. If I remember well I used paypal so the kickstarter statistics probably won’t cover that. I would also gladly back D:OS2 kickstarter, but I’m kind of low on funds right now.

    As for my gaming experience, after a bit of reflection, I realized that at least in some part, the type of games I played depended on which games I could borrow from my friends. As a kid I played mostly 2D point and click adventures some startegies and platformers (almost exclusively on PC but I had a gameboy as well). I started to play cRPGs around the time I started university and my circle of fiends expanded with some guys and girls that were into all types of RPG. I sterted to playsomeof the infinity engine classics (Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 and 2) and instantly loved the genre. Unfortunately I never came across the Divinity series.

    As for the gender ratio among my gamer friends, I suppose it was always around 50/50 but then again, I knew a lot of girls that were not into games at all and, on the other hand, some guys who played games but we were not familiar enough to exhange the games.

    As for the original cover art for D:OS, because this seems to pop up in the comments, I can’t say I was a fan of the original design, but it played no role when making the decision wheather to back the campaign or not. Moreover, I was absolutely appalled when I learned that you were forced to change it under the threat of having your game blacklisted. I hope you won’t have this issue this time around 🙂

    • Raze

      The so called ‘blacklisting threat’ was one small site saying they didn’t want to review the game if it meant featuring the original cover art. Lots of sites didn’t review the game for lots of different reasons.
      See Swen’s reply below about the change in the artwork:

  • Zlukaka

    The gender statistics are indeed surprising, but the way they are gathered does seem to be somewhat unreliable. For example, I know a number of female gamers who have Google (and other) accounts for male identities, be it for privacy or other reasons. Those kind of users also could have contributed to this strange outcome.

    Otherwise, I’d like to add my two gendered cents and provide a female player’s perspective on Divinity (TLDR: I love it now, but we had a rough start due to exactly that – gender).

    When I first discovered Divinity: Original Sin on Kickstarter what I saw was the cover image: a man heading into battle and a woman heading for… the beach or, I don’t know, a walk in the park? I thought “ah, another one of those shallow games aimed at teenage boys, scrolling past”. And there you lost me. Only recently when I wanted to find a nice fantasy co-op game to play with my girlfriend, I saw Divinity:OS again, this time on Steam with great reviews and ratings and decided not to judge the book by its cover and give it a try. Boy, am I glad I did! 30+ hours in and loving it. But it didn’t win me over at once and let me tell you why.

    1) That cover. Ok, I mostly explained how it can turn women off. I was glad to notice you gave the female Source Hunter some protection on later cover art and didn’t repeat the same silliness in the Enhanced edition.
    2) The character customization. The reviews said it was great. I didn’t know they meant the skills. When I saw a male mage as beefy as a male warrior I had a momentary pause. The choice of faces and hairstyles didn’t blow me away either. After Bioware games, Saints Row, Guild Wars and who knows what else, I’ve been spoiled by lush character creation interfaces and for a moment I felt really cheated there. But after looking at my character from afar for 30 minutes I realized what was there was sufficient. Still, I know women gamers for whom this would almost be a deal-breaker. (Girls love customizing their characters)
    3) Plots, characters and atmosphere are usually quite important to female gamers (or well, that’s true for most female gamers I know), and the first several hours of the game didn’t make that good an impression on me or my partner. The hook just wasn’t good enough, the mood was incoherent and it seemed awkward. I heard the second game begins in jail, that might be for the better (works for The Elder Scrolls each time after all)!

    Then some 10 hours in – the gameplay, the fighting, the hilarious companions and npcs, the animal conversations, wackiness and awesome co-op got me hooked! And now I am deciding which tier of your new Kickstarter I want to go for. Do I want 4 games or just 2 games or more? I don’t know yet!

    Now, what I really love about the game (and is related to gender):
    1) The silly sexy lady armor finds its male counterpart in silly sexy dude armor! Arhu, I am looking at you and your abs. He feels the need to share them with the world. Kudos for that.
    1a) The lady orcs design. Yes, their clothes make little practical sense, but so do Arhu’s, so there’s consistency and equal opportunity sexualization. Good! And how they walk with those awesome tails of theirs, so predatory! Lovely! Many women who are not comfortable with a state of underdress only on ladies in games instantly feel at ease if it’s not just the ladies that are underdressed, feels more fair and real, you know.
    2) There are some badass female characters in the game! Generally, the women are well-done, no complains here. It is becoming more and more the norm in games nowadays, but thank you for sticking with this positive trend.

    But what I love the most about the game is how enjoyable it is! Especially the fighting! I’ve recently game mastered a Pathfinder game and the fighting system was very familiar, but it was so nice that you ditched the dice that plagued the NWN for example. It’s like DnD, but more straightforward, and so very fun! And all this has nothing to do with gender, but you can see how I was kept away from your amazing product by some first bad impressions related to it. You are going in the right direction now and with more work on story and character customization and proper marketing materials, I’m sure you could pull a lot of new players of all genders into your high quality games! Keep up the good work! Cheers!

    P.S. Hope this helps. Now I need to decide how many copies of the second game I would like to have as gifts… ;D

    • Raze

      In D:OS the main characters started off with specific appearances and back stories. That changed as as development progressed, but it was still fairly late in development when it became possible to choose the gender and change appearance, and options to change the body type didn’t make it in (that would have had to wait until the the henchmen function was implemented, which was finished shortly before release).

      • Zlukaka

        I see! Thanks for the info. Still, I think adding more customization options in the second game could be a good thing, considering how successful the new campaign is, I’m sure there’ll be enough money to hire more people and add a lot of new awesome features.

        What you wrote might also explain why the beginning felt so off story-wise compared to the rest of the game. Maybe it was relying on those original preset characters in some way and was affected by the change. Anyway, the bulk of the game is just great, these are but minor things (still worth consideration, though, first impressions are powerful).

        • Raze

          The homestead was added due to a stretch goal, but other than that I don’t know how much the story would have been effected by things that were changed or rewritten.
          Speaking of which, though, there are some changes and additions to quests and dialogue, as well as the pacing of the story, coming in the Enhanced Edition of D:OS (to be released about the end of October).

          • Zlukaka

            Yeah, that sounds enticing. I guess I will get the Enhanced Edition at a later date. I don’t usually replay games straight away and I don’t imagine it will be that radically different.

          • Raze

            Well, you can play the EE at a later date, but you’ll get it as soon as it is released (as an automatic, free addition to your Steam or GOG library, depending on where you have D:OS).
            There are quite a few changes, including the addition of new abilities (dual wielding, wands), changes to the skill system and new/updated skills, and a harder difficulty mode (including cganges to enemy placement, composition and AI).

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      The for that! And for your pledge 😉 Stories like this are very inspiring and it’s the first time somebody specifically points out the character customisation. I just heard something similar on a twitch stream we did and it got me thinking that we probably should put in some more visual character customisation to allow more people to identify with their character. The discussion at Larian to limit it was related to style & logistics back in the days, but we’ve actually never repeated it and perhaps we should.

      • Zlukaka

        Awesome, wow! Thank you for the response! I understand how hard it would be to add certain things (like different body types), but since you are already tackling several races, I am hopeful. In fact I am very happy the second part will have all those new races, I much prefer playing non-humans in games. The undead are the most appealing to me, along with the lizard people. It would be great if you could have female lizard people (hopefully without breasts, since reptiles lack those and when added they always look weird) and (optionally bearded) dwarf women! It always makes me sad when non-human races are limited to males only. You could go around the technical limitations or time constraints in a witty way and make some non-human races gender neutral, like have one model, but state that the men and women look the same to the human eye. Two for the price of one! (it would also solve the breasts on lizards and beards on female dwarves dilemma).

        In the end, it’s your game and if you want curvy lizards or no lady lizards and no lady dwarves, I am alright with that and I am quite sure I will enjoy the game regardless. These are simply suggestions. Female skeletons, dwarves and lizards – I’d love to see that.

        Have a great day!

    • Idara

      That’s an incredible good point about customisation. I’ve been known to spend hours getting the look of my avatar as I wanted, and to restart games because I decided “I” didn’t look “right”. Not knowing many other female gamers, I assumed it was just me.

  • Cheyenne Barrett

    Ok so here is the deal. I’m a 25 year old gaming mom, I’ve been playing games since I was 5 so I will throw my idea into this pot. First of yes…..google has always thought I was a male based of my browseing history, unfortunetly there statistics altho I love google, are terrible.

    Secondly, I loved the heck out of Baulders gate, never winter nights, morrowind. If its a massive rpg, I play it, but you will always get alot of skewed statistics online, becuase alot of real female gamers are just more into enjoying games then having to put up with internet trolls to reveal they’re gender online. I have several friends that pretend to be male on steam accounts and origin accounts.

    I dont rub my being a female gamer in anyones face but 9 times out of 10 if I open mic in a shooter to give a call out to my team, i can expect rude, vulgar, and plain creepy retortes, so not everyone has thick skin like myself, not to mention I just spend my energy getting mvp to be bothered replying to them. Its in real life to, If your female you tend to be lumped as a “sorta gamer” so again, there are a good 20% of female gamers who just dont bother to reveal gender and cant be tracked well.

    we are here, we dont want to take over, but damn would we like more games made with us in mind. GIVE ME MORE HOT GUYS. You guys are great at balancing your characters, but the more developers dress up women the more anger I see online from gamers accusing females of changing the game industry….so why not just make males and females half naked? I wont complain. Just give em a nice butt for me… Love ya guys. KEEP BEING AWESOME!

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I guess balance will be found when we have both – regular & hot girls and regular & hot guys that make sense in their context and guys & girls wearing armour that’s made for function because it’s what stands between them and death. That’s a lot of production work but it’ll add to the believability of the world & that happens to be something we’re working towards.

      • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

        That’s absolutely what I’d like to see. It’s nice to see it. 🙂

        Also, ‘regular’ should be more varied, too – I happen to be a size 22 (health conditions) and I’m certainly considered attractive by at least some people, it’d be great to see larger-than-slim people of both genders depicted as something other than the cooks, traders and smiths we tend to get stuck with in other game series. Why wouldn’t a geomancer have a bit of extra weight? They’re not exactly physically active in their training. Just don’t make it a point of visual comedy and all will be well..

    • Ryxl

      Seconded on the equal-opportunity fanservice! Personally, I’d rather have two flavors of eye candy than none. I’m not offended by revealing armor on women, but it does feel a bit insulting if the male armor isn’t equally revealing, and more insulting the heavier the armor is – a spellcaster’s cloth
      garments aren’t meant for physical protection anyway, but bikini plate?
      Come on!

  • Ethel

    The Polygon article was passed on to me by my husband, who knows that the intersection of feminism + gaming is important to me. I followed that link here. Pardon the long comment; involving women in gaming is something I care about and think about a lot. Thank you for asking the question, thank you for joining the discussion. Here is my $0.02.

    Baldur’s Gate was the game that got me into computer gaming – I loved the story focus of the game and the characters. I only know about Kickstarter through my husband, and he does most of my gaming research for me. This is largely because he has more free time than I do – I work full-time in engineering and homeschool our children, he is a stay-at-home dad and does the housework. We both game extensively – he games 20+ hours a week, I game 10 to 20 hours a week (we don’t watch TV, we game).

    One thought that hasn’t been raised: In general, women have less free time than men do. This means that gamer-time-intensive advertising like Kickstarters (which require the gamer to do a fair amount of reading and research before deciding if they trust you enough to support your goal) may not impact women proportionately. Fore more information on free time for men versus women, you can Google “free time men women”. The results give more information, including results from the Pew Research Center. This is a well-documented phenomenon, and I think it impacts gaming (and how to target advertising by gender) more than most people realize. If women have less free time to investigate, you need to grab them with visuals that are woman-friendly. Men might dig in, if they have more free time; if I am correct that women are busier, women may not take time to look further. One image that is off-putting to women, or one poorly-chosen title, could lead to a quick decision – and she’s done listening. After all, there’s “Child of Light”, and those MMOs, and “Never Alone”, and so many Hidden Object / Adventure tablet games.

    For what it’s worth, here are my experiences with the marketing for “Divinity: Original Sin”.

    When I looked at the image at the top of the Polygon article, here was my take-away (first-glance). There is a man in front, and the woman has notable breasts that stand out from her body and is very thin. The man is clearly wearing armor; at a quick glance, the woman seems to be to thin to have anything on and I assumed she was nude and just had weird skin. The coloring is red and black – blood and death. As a result, I had a very negative set of assumptions of the article and the game (assumptions that were defused by the end of the article – the writing gave a good impression of the goal of this blog). I assumed the game was violent, focused on “hard-core” games who like fighting mechanics more than story, and sexualized women significantly – although not as badly as, say, Linneage II. I also assumed the creators didn’t care about women. At a closer look, I saw more interesting details – the branches around the woman’s head, the fact that I think she is wearing armor? Not sure, could be tree-bark skin?

    In general, I judge games initially on their marketing representations of women. If I get a booth-babe vibe from the representations of female characters, I stop listening. The game is clearly not intended for me. While the image at the top of the Polygon article wasn’t as off-putting as others I’ve seen, it certainly didn’t seem like something I would be interested in.

    With this game, there are other details that I find problematic that would have kept me from looking further. The biggest is the name, which also seems off-putting to me. “Divinity: Original Sin” has three major strikes against it to me, as a woman. First, it suggests religious themes, specifically Christian. Games don’t have a good history of representing Christianity well, and women are more likely to be religious then men (including myself). Secondly, the word “sin” feels loaded with the idea of objectifying women. One of the seven deadly sins is “Lust”, which – again – makes me think about sexualization, and feel worried that it will be a theme of the game. Finally, “Divinity” suggests a “power” theme – plus it suggests a sacrilegious attitude of humans attaining divine power (see point 1), and I don’t think women find “power” an attractive goal in a game to the same degree that men do. Especially since power is often treated as a bit of a zero-sum game that women are on the losing end of, and therefore I kind of expect to see women being degraded and objectified to add to the feeling of “power” for male players. Sure, it’s not absolute, but we’re talking about first impressions. It would be interesting to see a study looking at game titles and seeing if there was an actual correlation between “power” words in game titles, and objectification of women in the game; or between “power” words in game titles, and the proportion of the player population that is women. Also, I wonder if racial minorities might have a similar experience, expecting racial minorities to be invisible or marginalized to emphasize the power experience for white players – unintentionally, subconsciously on the parts of the creators, but nonetheless.

    I just visited your webpage, and liked what I saw. Woman and man on equal terms (actually, having the woman on the left favors her slightly, I think), both armored; red-and-black theme colors present, but colorful screen shots show that this isn’t what the game play is. The Kickstarter-green bar at the top actually plays a huge part to me in making the page welcoming. My husband was surprising by the image of the woman and the man, and suggested I do a Google image search – where I found that there were images of a woman with an exposed midriff. THANK YOU for changing that. If you were still using that image, I would have given up on your game unless I got strong recommendations from someone who knows and understands my issues with representations of women in gaming who could assure me that was just BS marketing material. As it is, you get the opposite reaction: Major kudos. Show me an image of a female character who is not sexualized, and you have just differentiated yourself from the general gaming market. It’s becoming less of a differentiator, true, and I’m guessing in a few years it will be closer to a minimum bar – but it’s still an edge today.

    Looking deeper on your site…. You talk a LOT about the tactical, turn based nature of the game, the combat, blah blah blah blah… I mean, I do care about turn-based, it usually means low-pressure and the ability to stop playing and do other things at any point, but this all sounds so mechanical… oh, hey, hidden down low I see words I care about:

    “Co-op”.. co-op dialogue? Like, we both get to talk? That’s COOL! Why is it way down there? “Create your own adventure”… not sure if I have time for that, but it sounds cool. Features… old-school roots. Meh. Why is this chart so boring?

    Oh, hey, while trying to highlight something I accidentally clicked and discovered PRETTY PICTURES! This game isn’t all dark greys and browns like so many are these days.

    “Social stats shape inter-player relationships” – wow, that actually sounds potentially novel. I’ve wanted to make a game that does this well myself, really curious about your implementation now.

    Why is the story mentioned so far down the list? It’s weird to me that engrossing combat, tactics, mechanics is valued over the story and content. “Reactive, living world” – why is all the cool stuff at the bottom?

    “Endless item interactions and combination possibilities” – I happen to *love* point-and-click adventures, an area of gaming which tends to target women these days (and has sadly largely blended with “hidden object” games of lower quality… sigh… but even the bad games are generally fun for me – you should see Extra Credits on these games and strong women characters, though I think the “busy life” friendliness of these games is also part of what makes them winners). This kind of exploration of possibility with no pressure, no competition, sounds lovely to me!

    Why is this stuff near the bottom? If I hadn’t been kind of reviewing your presentation to give you feedback, I wouldn’t have scrolled down and would have barely skimmed the features, reading mostly the top-and-left things on the list (where I expect the main things you want to communicate to be), and would have stopped at seeing “old school”, “tactics”, “combat” and not looked further. I wouldn’t have even seen the pretty pictures below (and I am a sucker for colorful graphics), much less the social and interactive features.

    Anyways…. these are things I am seeing. Just anecdotal, just one person. I put a lot of time into this comment because I want video games to figure out how to market to me and to the categories I belong to (woman, parent, programmer, geek, etc.), but you’ll have to work out if it’s actually valuable at all for you, or worth mulling over at all.

    Also, thank you very much just for asking this question – “Where are the women?”. You caught my eye by doing so, and this actually looks like it could be one of my favorite games ever. Novel non-combat dynamics are something I love, and I do like the turn-based, tactical combat games where I can stop the game and take care of life at any point, so the game fits my life instead of taking over it. I might have never taken this game seriously if you hadn’t written this blog post, asked this question, mostly because of the title (doubt I would have gotten to the marketing images). Plus, I’m just thrilled that people in the games industry *care*. I believe answering and responding to this question won’t just result in more women – it will result in more men, too, because games which target women equally look *different*. Newer. Innovative. Something.

    • six

      What an informative read this was! People tend to get paid to point out such things.
      I wanted Larian to ignore player gender and just do their thing. Now however I am leaning towards a more female focused game.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Hi Ethel! Thank you for your post. It looks like you’ve been checking out the campaign for Divinity:Original Sin 1 that we did back in 2013 but you make valid points, and it looks like we’ve been somehow making the same mistakes again. We’re quite hard-core in our nerdiness, women & man alike on our team. One mistake we keep on making (as one of our producers says) is that we undersell our features, thinking them normal and obvious whereas they aren’t for a lot of people, and you just demonstrated that again. For what it’s worth, I’m glad I wrote this blog post as it taught me a lot about obvious things we’re missing.

  • Abi Hernandez

    I am a woman who loves RPGs. I Pool of Radiance was one of my first computer games. Like other women here, I tend to avoid online communities and posting on game forums. When I post, I don’t identify myself as a woman because of the hostility.

    As others have mentioned, I think that having more women work on your RPGs will help. Obviously, each person’s tastes will vary but there are some things that will generally be perceived very differently by the average man and the average woman. I think that having more women shown in your videos will help. If there are female reviewers, it can help to have them review your game.

    As odd as it sounds, I think that in some ways, it’s harder to be a female gamer now than back when I first started playing in the 1980s. One thing that probably made it much easier for me to play and love many RPGs was that Scorpia was probably the most well-known RPG reviewer. She worked at a respected games publication, Computer Gaming World. As sexist as many male gamers were back then, everyone seemed to respect Scorpia, even when they disagreed with her. So everyone accepted that some women were serious RPG fans and that they were good at games. It also helped to have Roberta Williams as a co-founder of Sierra-on-Line and Jane Jensen as one of the most popular game developers. It helps, often on a subconscious level, to have identifiable and respected women as spokespeople and representatives of those who would be interested in a particular game. If you could get respected female game reviewers to talk about D:OS 2 (either on web sites or twitter), I think that would help a lot.

    I agree that character customization is important. I’m more concerned with skills, attributes, etc. but many women (and quite a few men) that I know like to be able to choose various body types, clothing, skin color, hair color and style, etc. If there are skimpy clothing choices for female PCs, give us a similar percentage of skimpy clothing choices for male PCs. Most straight women (and all the gay and bisexual men) that I know will appreciate it.

    Even in D:OS 2, the drawings I’ve seen for female NPCs seem more sexualized than the male NPCs. Most are not sexualized for either gender but I have seen a few female NPCs that emphasize breasts and small waists but no male NPC that emphasizes his great ass, for example. E.g., the first pic on the video on your kickstarter page emphasizes the woman’s breasts and small waist. It seems like she’s more concerned with posing provocatively than engaging in battle. Compare that with the men in the picture. If you go to the picture with five companions (?), only one is a woman. That tells me that the primary emphasis in the game will be on men, which is fine but not something I’m interested in. If the game seems good otherwise, I might play it anyway but I will probably find that aspect annoying most of the time I’m playing the game. The next picture down has two women and two men. One of the women has far less clothing than the other three. The divine magisters picture seems to emphasize the woman’s sexuality and vulnerability. Where is the equivalent male picture? One of the armor sets that I saw in a video had boob armor for one of the women. It is your game and you should stay true to your own vision, but that is off-putting to me bc none of the male NPCs “assets” were similarly emphasized. If I hadn’t already played D:OS and appreciated some of its other elements, I would never have backed D:OS 2 bc it seems too male gazey for me, just as D:OS was in some respects.

    Add me as another person who was put off by the title “Original Sin”. That is often used by some religious people to blame women for the fall of all humankind. It’s used as a reason why men are superior to women. Some men use it as a way to support blaming their own sexual desires on women. Some people use it to support rape culture because it, at least subconsciously, reinforces the idea that women are responsible for controlling men’s desires and should therefore dress and act “properly” or be at fault for the consequences. The Pandora myth is a similar trope so I was very concerned about D:OS when I first started playing. If I didn’t like RPGs so much, and if Larian hadn’t marketed this as being inspired by Ultima VII, I might have put D:OS down near the very beginning. I am still wary about D:OS 2 because of that.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Thank you for your post. And thx for making me remember Scorpia 😉 I have to say that on the artwork, the analysis you did is something that didn’t occur at all among the artists who made it, one of the principal ones being a woman. We just picked cool imagery, regardless of gender. We have plenty of concept art that features only women but it seems that on this topic, we just can’t do it right and people will immediately read something into it if we just take something that looked good and didn’t worry about the politics of it. It’s probably because it really isn’t at the top of our minds and so regardless of what we’ll do, we’ll probably always offend someone, be it male, female or lizard 🙂

      As to the title, that’s another thing – I was raised in catholic school by nuns, the school literally being next to the cloister. When I think of the original sin, I don’t think of blaming women, far from it. I think of forbidden fruits. Different cultures, different mores, different ways of thinking. But there’s nothing to be done about other people associating other things with it. It’s one of the things you have to live with as a creator.

      I can only assure you that we’re a team that respect people in general and that it’s something we look at when doing hires. The only thing we hate are the Dutch 🙂

      • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

        In rereading my post, I wanted to add that really, the randomness of how sometimes artwork gets selected at a developer and what people read into it really is striking.

        • Abi Hernandez

          I’m not sure that people are reading anything specific into it so much as saying “it looks like this game isn’t designed for – or at least marketed to – people like me. I am clearly not in the primary target audience. Therefore, there is a good chance that people like me will at best be an afterthought in this game.” That seems like a reasonable conclusion to me. I’m not sure what is being read into the artwork or Kickstarter campaign here.

          I didn’t assume anything about the intentions of you are anyone at Larian. I think the actual Kickstarter campaign and the artwork shown are far more important than intentions (which are essentially irrelevant IMO) when discussing how one can appeal to or alienate a particular group. I think that specific feedback about what is appealing, what is alienating or unappealing, or what is “meh” would be especially valuable if you had good intentions and wanted to know how your campaign was being received by a particular group. Things done out of ignorance, incompetence, indifference, or lack of funds can be just as off-putting or alienating as things done out of malice, especially considering that consumers rarely know which it is.

        • Alex V

          Most people don’t read anything of that sort into artwork. You have simply attracted a “special” group here. Your blog has become yet another battlefield in Culture Wars.

          I mean, really. Someone just told you that your game’s title relates to wife beating. I can only hope you’re not taking that seriously.

        • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

          I think in all honesty you have to exert a certain level of deliberate control and intent over artwork selection to ensure that, not only is the art absolutely beautiful and perfect for the atmosphere of the game, but also that likely or foreseeable misreadings are avoided. Deliberately choosing art with good female warrior representation over art with scanty or sexualised imagery or only male heroics, at least for the main advertisements, could easily correct any potential backlash – whether or not it seems legitimate. The fact of the matter is that sexualised female characters are so ubiquitous in fantasy art that we are simply sick of seeing ourselves only portrayed that way. Ideally, none of the art of heroic main characters should be sexualised needlessly in this manner, but if you’re going to do it for women only it’s going to create an obvious disparity in message. For comparison’s sake take X:Men Apocalypse – the billboard of a large, muscled and overpowered mutant choking out a main female lead and one of the strongest current characters was seen as needlessly sexist and was even claimed by some to promote domestic violence. It’s not that this was the studio’s intent, but that anyone creating in the modern world has to be aware of the parallels to their work in real life and whether an image is just too ubiquitously associated with other issues to be viable. Which is where female artists come in. We are at least somewhat more likely to draw depictions of ourselves that are active rather than passive or sensual in their intent.

      • Abi Hernandez

        Sven, thanks for the reply.

        I understand that things are interpreted differently in different cultures. That’s what makes cultures interesting and why I tried to be careful about saying “some people”. Even in the USA (where I live) some people are still either literal about the Bible, Torah, or Koran or else (if Christian) follow Augustinian (or similar) principles (e.g., humans are infected with the original sin at birth by passing through the female body, husbands should rule over wives) but many others don’t believe those things. Until very recently in the USA, wife-beating was considered appropriate because of Eve’s sin. So, for many women, the term has a very negative connotation. IMO if you want to appeal to women, it would be better to not even tangentially invoke the Pandora myth, original sin, or other concepts that blame women for all of humankind’s ills or present them as a lesser being than men. Maybe try to get feedback from people from different cultures, religions, etc.

        WRT which art gets chosen, if you are looking to appeal to certain groups, you should probably go over the artwork with an eye to how it might look to those specific groups. Others here have also mentioned how the male gaze seems to be a problem on your kickstarter page (even if the artist was a woman) so next time you might want to consider that. E.g., one or two of the things I mentioned would be fine IMO if it were counterbalanced by other images that sexualized men but not women. The problem is that it’s far too lopsided with zero sexualization/objectification of men but lots for women.

        I appreciate your willingness to ask for feedback and to consider it. It’s very easy to get defensive when people criticize your work. Congratulations on reaching your $1.35M goal and on getting an new $10,000 backer. FWIW, I like polymorph, not that I think having my vote on that will help you. And I can thank Scorpia for my trying Ultima IV, which led me to Ultima VII, which eventually led me to D:OS.

  • Alex V

    According to your own numbers your KickStarter campaign had more than one thousand women backing it. Instead of asking random people on the Internet about what you are doing “wrong”, you could ask people who believe in your work about what you are doing right. In other words, you could ask your current female backers about how you managed to reach them and invest more into those communication avenues. I’m getting the feeling the replies there will be drastically different from what you’re getting here.

    Overall, your post sounds like you’re unhappy with your current audience and think they are a result of a deficient marketing campaign.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      I’m certainly not unhappy about my audience – it really was a discrepancy between what I thought and the data I saw that got me to reach out to people here to understand. And there’s indeed been quite some talk in our KS community about this.

  • Dee Dee

    Hmm, the thing is a lot of women favour “easy to learn, hard to master” games, which is why… a lot of them swing towards casual games.

  • Isabel Basson

    Hello Swen,

    I normally do not post in discussion forums/blogs/FB pages, but I have to mention this because I absolutely loved Divinity Original Sin and am looking forward to D:OS2. Oh btw I am female.

    Maybe the pledge option of “Double Dibs” is making the female count lower. My boyfriend pledged on Double Dibs so we can play it together. We played Divinity: Original Sin together and thought it was the perfect multiplayer RPG for a couple. I know another couple where the husband pledged at the “Double Dibs” reward level as well so he and his wife can play together. I absolutely love a cool story and dialogue but normally multiply player games do not offer that, D:OS is different. I am also recommending it to my other gaming couple friends.

    On the topic of Kickstarter, I have bought a few of my games on Kickstarter, but I normally decide on my choice of games by recommendations from (male) friends. I have no clue how they hear about the newest games though. Otherwise I buy from Steam recommendations and also share a Steam library with my boyfriend, but buy the games I like that he does not get himself.

    Well that is my 2cents, hope it helps.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Thx Isabel! The Double Dibs theory definitely occurred to us & does the word of mouth in terms of where people get their info from. I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed the coop as a couple. It really was one of the core ideas behind making the game so every time I hear a story like that, I go YES! 🙂

  • KcoQuidam

    Google Analytics suck a lot in the “gender identification”. Most of my friend on social network are women (95%+) dont stop google telling me that 80% are men. Really really suck.

    For the 2nd part … maybe it’s the “not so welcome for women” part of old CRPG that make the count. And yes it can be part of the equation. But as far i play it Divinity original sin 1 was really better and enjoyable on this point (playing two women character, and seeing the both having a chat about the street harasment and sharing theyr experience about it / loving also that the romance – sexualy subtexted dialogue don’t care about gender).

    At this point i can say just: keep up the good work, fantasy computer game need more and more diversity and respectfull game. I’m thinking about the big game DA:I but the first divinity original sin have a lot of good points, you can do better and i have faith in you.

    Cheerfully yours.

    (Sorry for my not really well english / not my mother language)

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Thank you! I think I understood 😉 Out of interest – would you not want the dialogue to be gender dependent? It’s something we often talk about – obviously, the gender dependence wouldn’t favour/disfavour anybody , but just give rise to different situations that would fit in the world & increase the roleplaying.

      • KcoQuidam

        Hello Swen. Thank for your reply ^^.

        For the gender independant dialogue it’s because i’d rather prefer personality-dependant option dialogue than a gender-dependant option dialogue. Making the personnality of the character more important than his/her gender wich is a great point (imho).

        When gender change the way NPC or other talk with the character it don’t bother me most of the time (even if the NPC are a sexist one, if i can kick is ass it’s good. Can be harsh for some people, not everybody want playing in a gender-hostile world). But i’m very worried when the options player can chooses are dependant on the gender. That’s just you know, because old CRPG only allow women character to use charm or seductivity (force sometime), i’m relived seeing i can play a seductive men or a tought women that don’t need to be seductive to find a way out.

        (In the situation there also because non-gender limitation have made possible a lot of romance-oriented dialogue between my two same-gender characters, it is really too rare in CRPG that it make me alway happy).

        (Still sorry for the not well english. Trying my best to stay understandable ^^’)

        • Abi Hernandez

          Hi, Kco. Your English seems fine to me. I completely agree with you that it would be much better to have dialog be personality-dependent instead of gender-dependent. Well said.

          I think it would be easy for a writer to fall into stereotypes or tropes when writing gender-dependent dialog. (As you pointed out, that happened in some earlier cRPGs.) I would find it naive, disappointing, and possibly offensive (depending on the particular stereotype) and would also feel unfairly boxed in with respect to role-playing options unless the stereotypes were generally inverted/averted in a somewhat sophisticated way. It would take a very good writer pull that off well and might also be culture specific (so, e.g, an averted stereotype might work in one culture but not another). Others might like using stereotypes and dislike inversions/aversions. I think, at best, the community’s opinion about specific gender-dependent dialog would probably be divided. Personality-dependent dialog should avoid those problems and would be a great way to increase immersion and help a player feel like the PC was theirs. It’s something that would benefit everyone who likes to role play.

      • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

        The problem with making romantic dialogue gender-dependent is that you then alienate the LGBT+ community instead, or else have to work it up for all possible combinations of PC-PC and -NPC interaction.

  • https://www.behance.net/RavenKS Raven K Smith

    II don’t know if this will help, but as a female gamer (one’s who’s logged a few hundred hours into D:OS) I think I can shed a little light onto this.

    1) Community. – Online gaming communities (forums, guilds, etc) tend to be very dude-heavy, and as a girl it’s hard it can be hard to be a part of. You’ll usually have to deal with some pretty sexist things, so most girl gamers I know prefer to be less involved in the gaming community, preferring to pop up when there’s news or a release.
    2) Getting into Gaming. – If it hadn’t been for my older brother getting me into Baulder’s gate and Halo, I may have never gotten into games. Many girls don’t, there’s a stigma for girls that doesn’t exist for guys. Example: Dudes in a frat house can all go play COD for a few hours, no problem, the same situation wouldn’t happen in a sorority. Games can be seen as too butch, or dark, for girls to play. The amount of times I’ve been stared at like a two-headed goat when I mention I love playing Destiny is well… a lot.
    3) Game Types – Even if girls do play games, many prefer the easy-going casual games. Animal Crossing, Pokemon, the Sims, are all the types of games that usually have a larger female audience and are viewed as somewhat ‘okay’ for a girl to play. (Less Gore, less dark, cuter, etc)

    Now that’s a fair bit of generalization on my part, and there will be exceptions. I for one, am fairly active in the gaming community, and I love Skyrim as much as I love Pokemon Sapphire.

    But to answer where the girls are? Well, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook are the best places to start.

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Those points are similar to what other women raised here, so your post adds further weight to that. We’re not really on Pinterest & Tumblr so that’s probably something we’ll have to pick up as you’re not the first to mention it. Concerning Facebook, we’re learning things and I hope we’ll have more to share on that soon. Thx for your post!

      • https://www.behance.net/RavenKS Raven K Smith

        geen probleem, ik dank u voor het fantastische spel~

  • Maegan

    Hi Swen, my name is Maegan. My brother and I are huge RPG fans, and we backed both D:OS Kickstarters. Here’s why I, as a woman, have enjoyed video games since the 90’s: first and foremost, video games are fun. They take us out of reality and allow us to create our own characters, in order to participate in a – more often than not – larger-than-life story in an unreal world. One of my favorite aspects to RPGs in particular is, as I mentioned, creating custom characters. I might be female, but I almost always play a male character in video games, not only because I’ve made up a lot of male characters that I enjoy role-playing as in story-driven RPGs, but also simply because I prefer looking at (and listening to) a male protagonist as opposed to a female protagonist, when given the option. Nothing against female protagonists,of course, but since I’m already female in real life, it’s more fun (and, to me, more attractive) to get to play as a male.

    My favorite games have always been the ones about sexy characters, and frankly, I find sexualizing women (like the original D:OS cover art) to be fine, as long as the sexualization goes both ways. In other words, if guy gamers get to have sexy girls, then girl gamers should have sexy guys. For me, video games are most fun when they’re larger than life, both in terms of a beautiful setting and beautiful people. I see nothing wrong with the sexualization because, frankly, video games are for fun, and everybody likes looking at sexy characters. I do often feel that girls are the only ones to get sexualized, but a lot of games lately are better about giving armor to guys that’s equally as attractive (i.e., showing lots of skin, muscles, etc.). I don’t find it offensive to sexualize males or females, and in fact I prefer when games do so, as long as it isn’t to a downright ridiculous or offensive extent, like Quiet in MGS5 (except for when it’s in a very zany and self-aware manner and – again – equal to both males and females, like Saints Row IV, which is actually a favorite game of mine from recent years).

    I really admire the Kickstarters lately that are a callback to the 90’s games that I grew up with and loved. I still replay some of my favorite ones, like the Baldur’s Gate series. If I could offer any other suggestions about things I’d like to see in the D:OS games, it’s that I’d love to see full-party customization in the sequel. Creating all-custom parties is one of my favorite aspects of certain classic RPGs, and that’s often not even an option in many modern games. A lot of the other female gamers I’m friends with also share my love for creating custom characters and parties, too. Another element I’d love to see added to the game are voice sets and an easy way to create custom ones. I’ve created many custom voice sets for the Infinity Engine RPGs in my own time, so that I can insert my favorite voice actors into the game, and I’d love to be able to use those in D:OS as well. Voice sets add another level of character customization that I find enjoyable, although it’d be important to me that there is an easy way to import custom voice sets, instead of having to do some serious file importing and modding, like what’s required for some games.

    If there’s anything else I should’ve discussed, I could definitely keep rambling. I don’t get much opportunity to discuss my take on video games, mostly because I don’t go out of my way to add my voice to the masses, and this is a welcome chance to do so. Personally, I was attracted to D:OS in part because of those Baldur’s Gate comparisons you mentioned, since the Baldur’s Gate series are my favorite games of all time (alongside the Uncharted trilogy), and I’m happy to see any games calling back to that era of RPGs. Whatever’s the case, though, I’m looking forward to the D:OS sequel!

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Hey Maegan! Thx for your post. Ever since more character customisation was mentioned here, I’ve been feeling the pressure in the office 😉 Importing voice sets is something that never occurred to us but I’ll certainly look into it (though the sheer quantity of voice is bananas in a game like D:OS EE). We’re using third party software for the sound which we can’t distribute just like that, so that may make it more complicated, but at some point we’ll have to find a way to let modders put in different sounds, so that may be a good test case.

      We’ve never really differentiated on gender except once, which was in Dragon Commander where we didn’t let players play as a woman – which frankly was more a budgetary thing and us having to pick a target audience than a voluntary choice – and I agree with what you’re saying – sex(y) isn’t bad and equality matters because everybody wants to feel cool when playing a game.

      • Maegan

        Happy to have joined in the discussion! If I could ever be of assistance on figuring out a way to import custom voice sets, I’d love to help out, even in some small way. I’ve done voice set mods for a lot of RPGs now over the years and a few other kinds of games in my spare time (all the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games, Neverwinter Nights, Temple of Elemental Evil, and several more), and I’ve spent a lot of time with other audio files (mostly getting other games’ audio files so that I can use them for custom voice sets; I like to use my favorite voice actors, Nolan North and Roger Craig Smith, as player voice sets in RPGs :P). I’m far from an expert, obviously, but I’ll definitely be working on modding voice sets in future D:OS games as well, no matter how daunting the number of voice files is. 🙂

  • chandrikanm

    I haven’t looked into how to collect more stats, but in terms of how to reach that target market I think that you would have to actively seek out those online and physical meeting spaces for female gamers/techies in addition to your traditional marketing techniques. You possibly already do this. I am in a marketing role myself at the moment, and in order to develop new customers and target audiences, my job is to actively meet and invite them or they will never show up, become involved, and develop a new brand loyalty. This is a time consuming but super effective way of engaging a new audience, who also appreciate the time and effort spent into seeking them out and starting a genuine conversation.

  • Anyhtmare

    As a 47 year old female gamer I have loved the Divinity series from the very beginning! RPGs are my main genre of choice and I have been I have been a huge gamer since the Atari 2600 released back in 1977. My first foray into PC gaming was on the Commodore 64 and even though I play video games on all platforms including mobile and FB, RPGs have always been the genre that has given me the most enjoyment in my life. (Yes, I do play shooters, action, adventure, platformers, simulation, MMOs, casual, and other genres as well!)

    When I first started frequenting the internet for my gaming news and info I used sites such as IGN, Gamespot, PC Gamer, etc. But after disagreeing with their methods for reviewing games, and reporting stories I started using more and more independent run sites. A lot of the independent run sites I use have a more community feel to them and they make everyone feel welcome. So part of the reason I think females stay away from most gaming sites/communities is because of the corporate and unwelcoming feel they have to them. I myself only have a select few sites I use anymore because unfortunately women are made to feel unwelcome and trolled a lot on most of the sites I used to frequent.

    Also, the analytic sites/programs do have a tendency to misrepresent people. As many women before me have commented, Google thinks I am a guy because my browsing/purchase history tends to be mostly video games, game/graphic design, and sports. So unfortunately the analytics are majorly flawed and inaccurate.

    My paying job for the last 11 yrs has been with a major gaming retailer and the main reason they hired me was because I was the most knowledgeable female gamer they ever met. I started freelance writing game reviews about 8 years ago and then 5 years ago a good friend of mine proposed that we start our own independent video game website. His views on the major sites were pretty much mirror images of my own. As someone who works as a video game journalist and has to look at analytics every so often we see the same thing. We thought our readership was 50/50 because many of our friends use the site regularly and they are equally split gender wise, but analytics showed it was mainly men that visited our site.

    The main thing I look for in a game is the story and then I look at the characters, gameplay and finally graphics. For me as long as a game has a good story, interesting characters, and is fun to play, I could care less what it looks like.

    How I found out about the Kickstarter is different then most because I got the press release about it due to my work. So the way you guys are promoting the game has been spot on in my opinion (even though I wish when you did your US PAX Preview tour there would have been more female journalists the game was shown to) My gamer friends are mainly guys, but the female friends I have are all gamers that play all genres of games.

    I agree with other suggestions about possibly advertising more on the sites that casual female gamers frequent like Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube. Also, doing a behind the scenes with some of your female developers, artists, coders, etc. might help as women in the video game industry are not highlighted enough, and this may draw more women into wanting to follow the game more.

    Interesting numbers from my Steam Friends List: Divine Divinity (2 male, 1 female) – Beyond Divinity (1 male, 1 female) – Divinity II ( 4 male, 2 females) – Divinity: Dragon Commander (12 male, 3 female) – Divinity: OS (12 male, 6 female)

    I am a rare breed among my friends as I have probably played every RPG, CRPG, JRPG, and ARPG that has ever released in North America. My friends come to me and want to know my opinion before they buy an RPG, and then hate me later because they spent so much money buying my recommendations.

    I would love to see a more in depth story in D;OS2, but I think the origins may help that. More character customization is always a plus. Romance options would be nice too, but isn’t necessary to make the game enjoyable. Co-op play is always a plus, because not very many developers care about it anymore

    I for one will be picking up D:OSEE for my PS4 so I can play it with my brother and my son. I introduced them both to the franchise with Divinity II on Xbox 360 and they are looking forward to playing D:OSEE when it releases. They are also keeping their fingers crossed that you guys will announce D:OS2 coming to consoles also!

    All in all – Swen it is up to you what matters and what doesn’t. Yes promoting your game is something that is needed to help it sell, but in the long run as long as it’s selling, making money and people are enjoying it, the gender of the player shouldn’t make a difference.

    Can’t wait to participate in the beta for D:OS2 as I made sure to back you guys this time!

  • ithil

    My own, very anecdotal (fem. gamer, game programmer) two cents:

    I first knew about D:OS from Rock, Paper Shotgun, I believe, not long before the game was released, when it began gathering universal praise. I did know about Kickstarter at the time, but was a bit wary about it (and still am; so far I’ve only backed two old-schoolish RPGs by developers whose games I’d enjoyed in the past and an ex-colleague’s game, plus a few already mature Early Access games). I’d also heard about the Divinity franchise, but only in name. I bought the game when it got released and according to Steam have put around 130h in it, so I’d say that I enjoyed it ;D. I really digged the game mechanics and the combat system, even if eventually I lost interest and left it for months at the gates of the final battle until I actually finished it. One reason could be that the main characters didn’t feel compelling enough in terms of storytelling to carry those hundred hours upon their shoulders, the other was that I felt that the encounter difficulty was forcing me to follow a somewhat linear path (I probably had a crappy build, but a difference of one level beween the enemies and my team generally meant the difference between a more or less comfortable victory and a shameful defeat, so I’d frequently found myself retreating back to the “right path”), and last but not least, there were several other games competing for my attention.

    This time I was aware that there was a KS for OS2 (and D:OS EE, of course) but hadn’t actually browsed it until now. I’m not sure about why…game information overload, perhaps? My pile of shame on Steam, GOG and other “channel-less” games is absurdly high, so I try to restrict myself in order not to succumb to the hype (but after seeing some of the new ideas you’ve got for OS2 it’s going to be hard to resist, grrrr).

    As for information channels, I read a lot of articles, blog posts and game reviews/previews, mostly by other developers. The above-mentioned RPS and Gamasutra are probably the places I visit more often together with Steam’s front page, but I also lurk PCGamer, some Spanish sites and communities like RPGCodex, /r/roguelikes or simply follow the links posted by friends or some respected game personalities (this is actually how I ended up here tonight :D). Despite this, I hardly ever participate: first and foremost, because I’m an introvert with mysanthropic tendencies; on developer-oriented sites it’s also because of the imposter syndrome, and last, in more gamer-oriented places the toxicity and immaturity you can sometimes find plays a role, too: rather than for fear of being hurt, because of a complete lack of will to waste my time engaging in worthless flames.

    So I’d say that in my case the marketing channels you guys used were the right ones, but I’m probably an outlier. Among my female coworkers, some of them play games, of course, but generally favour adventure games, platformers, JRPGs and occasionally the odd RPG like Mass Effect, whereas I prefer western RPGs together with strategy games (turn-based, then real-time) and roguelikes, so perhaps some of the sources they use to find about games differ from mine. And last, outside of game development I think that the situation (at least in Spain) is pretty close to what Draskya has described, but I hope that it will improve in the future.

  • wr4ith0

    My lil brother pointed me to this article after I recommended the game and I’d guess if those figures are anywhere near representative, the pr channels may be largely responsible. Personally, I’m enjoying the enhanced edition, but my fiance is completely obsessed with the game (seriously dude, good work). So I can’t say this a game that does not inherently appeal to the ladies. Admittedly, she’s an engineer, and the one responsible for getting me into D&D, so it could be due to the two obvious target markets (grindy tabletop, and challenging video gamers) which do both slant male (especially the relevant communities). But she also checks out reviews of gaming stores online before she’s willing to go in, because as much as we love them, there’s a lot of women-unfriendly gamers. So you have this game with a decently high barrier to interest, spread largely by word of mouth in communities where women don’t necessarily feel comfortable.

    To illustrate, I heard about this game a number of times before I actually took the bait and bit. I think I originally ran into it on kotaku during the kickstarter. I did a bit of research on the game and didn’t find enough to compel me to bite (sorry, I’m extremely kickstarter gunshy). Then I ran into it twice on co-optimus when I was looking for good co-op games to play with friends and family. The second time I got interested, and after checking out a couple reviews saw that the enhanced version had done some very cool things to streamline the initially reported niggling annoying details. Reviews were enthusiastic enough that I bought the 2 pack on the spot. I had a bit of buyer’s remorse after impulse buying them full price, at least up until we finished an impressive first session and my girlfriend was absolutely hooked.

    You had an impressively triple A level game produced by a little known studio without much press coverage and probably less of a marketing budget. If people were going to find Divinity, many of them were going to find out about it from friends and communities and many of these communities aren’t super welcoming to women. It took me at least 3-4 exposures to the title (that I actually remember) before I took the plunge. Just a couple less hits and you wouldn’t have probably had that marketing conversion. So I’d say, yes. You need to find some way to expose this game to women if you want an equal representation. Though I would ask if you thought of offering some sort of game based poll if you wanted to run your own numbers and see if the disparity is really as bad as you thought (throw in an armor set [or maybe more natural looking underwear choices?] for taking a short optional poll etc and you should pull in decent data ). Also, this is just anecdotal, but most of the female gamers I’ve ever known seem to be pretty big on LP content. If you could somehow get an early copy or something into the hands of roosterteeth’s acheivement hunters or the like it wouldn’t solve your (possible) problem, but it might help.

    • Raze

      There were multiple updates for D:OS, but the actual Enhanced Edition will not be released until about late October (it will be automatically added to your Steam library as a separate entry upon release; same for those who have it from GOG).

  • Ryan

    Yay, I’m glad you are bringing this issue up – even if it’s potentially going to attract some unwelcome trollish attention. It’s probably got something to do with the welcome minority/women get on gaming forums. Gamersgate has not helped. According to one study by a gaming organization the percentage is around 40%. Not sure if it’s accurate but I wouldn’t be surprised. So I have never ever understood why gaming companies don’t give more attention to the ladies. Even if the question of right and wrong doesn’t appeal to gaming companies – it makes no business sense to ignore anything from 30-40% of your clients. Overall the gaming industry like other industries suffers from white male privilege. More women writers and designers would help. But if I were you I’d contact some of the gaming sites that cater specifically for women and ask the writers there what the issues are and how best to interact with your lady customers. Try the following
    So happy to have the head of a gaming company take this seriously.
    PS don’t ask me I’m a guy!

    • Gnostic

      That is an understatement.

      Gamergate make it worst. It preaches female gamers to fight and force their opinion down others throat.
      You won’t be feeling hospitality towards people who want to fight you.

      Recently I am harboring a phobia when someone declare she is a female gamer. “What! To publicly declare that, is she a feminist? Must thread carefully about this one”

      Luckily the majority of female gamers that posted here are reasonable and not pushy. It make me realize that they are humans after all and my prejudice is very childish.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Ryan you are male. Please stop trying to claim you know what women want. It’s massively sexist of you.

      If you really knew that you’d be drowning in pussy, not trying to shill sites that adovate for pedophilia and domestic abuse and say tell people to use those to get women to like them.

  • teerebel

    I’d take those numbers with a grain of salt. I actually had to manually change my gender in Google’s ad settings because their analytics incorrectly assumed I was male based on my interests.

  • LovingLife139

    According to Google Analytics, they must think I’m a male and that my husband is female. My interests tend to be video gaming, science, finance, technology, DIY projects, politics, and automobiles, while my husband’s main interests are vegan cooking, shopping, and video gaming. I totally agree with what many women here have previously stated: these methods of categorizing women and men won’t be accurate for many of us.

    As for women not engaging in game communities, I can see this being true. I follow gaming news, stream E3 every year, and actively search out game trailers and sales daily, but I rarely ever post like this to comment on things. I usually don’t have the time to. I own about two thousand games over a dozen consoles and PC, and I’m constantly searching for new games on the horizon, so I never get too stuck on hype for a single game unless it’s something super special (actually, Divinity: Original Sin was one of these games, due to Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga being one of my favorite RPGs of all time). While I have been harassed online in gaming, I don’t attribute it to being a woman, as everyone experiences online harassment in some form or another. I have never found the gaming community to be hostile. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am more likely to engage on gaming websites than any other type.

    I was born in the late ’80s and started gaming as a toddler in 1991 on DOS, SNES, and the Sega Genesis. I mostly stuck with FPS, strategy, and simulation games. I met my now husband in 2005 and realized I’d been missing out by skipping on RPGs. It’s now my favorite genre. No one I knew was into cRPGs, even though all the women I knew were gamers growing up, and most of the men. I am still the only person I know who will play the older cRPGs (or newer ones, for that matter).

    You mention Facebook and Kickstarter quite a lot in your post. I am not a member of either website, so I can’t really comment on that. You also said you were curious as to how women found out about games they would like. While I can’t speak for all women, I usually find out about upcoming games through Steam, E3, game trailers, personal research, or console advertisements. While I do usually wait for a game to release to support it (as you surmised), I do not trust the majority of critic scores due to the various developments in video game journalism in recent years. I instead have been relying more and more on consumer reviews and renting video games before I buy them, if applicable (steep sales if not, to minimize risk).

    I hope my story can add to the other women’s voices here and give you some food for thought. It was interesting reading through all the posts here. It is clear this game has a solid female following, regardless of our percentage of the pie. Whether female or male, I think most of us can agree that you guys create some fantastic games. Keep it up!

    • http://www.lar.net/ Swen Vincke

      Thx for the post! Time pressure has prevented me from reacting as extensively as I’d want to several posts here, but I’ve been impressed with the amount of detailed accounts like yours that I received and I learnt a lot from them. Your story sounds very similar to that of a lot other RPG players I know btw – several of them played a lot of games and eventually drifted toward RPGs as their favourite genre as their taste in gaming became ever more sophisticated.

  • LC


    It would be quite interesting to see how many of the assumed female and male players of DOS played the game (mostly) in SP or co-op. I can remember you stating that about 85-90% of the people who bought DOS almost exclusively played the game in SP while only a very tiny group of people really engaged in full co-op. So there are two similar splits here, between assumed femals and male players and between SP and MP gamers. Do male players engage more in SP and females more in MP/co-op in DOS or is there no such relation? You said somewhere down below that you kind of failed to market your game as cooperative experience more thoroughly. Maybe that’s connected to not reaching as many female players as you could? Or does it mean that the huge majority of gamers who are attracted to your kind of game is actually male AND wants to engage in SP no matter what? Anyway, it’s something you should/could think about… 😉

  • Audie Bakerson

    Isn’t it amazing how actual women are said not to change anything and yet Swen would only reply to the men telling him to use sites dedicated to pedophilia, domestic abuse and stolen naked images?

  • testguy111

    I don’t have any metrics or stats, yet I’ve already known that. everyone knows that. seems only devs aren’t aware of the fact that the people who like tactical games are MEN.

    which makes caving to feminazis even more ridiculous.

    just don’t do it.

    women who are into these tactical games aren’t crazy feminists. stop listening to them.

    build your game for men.
    have some pretty girls with insufficient clothing.
    not gay sex, ‘hot guys’ or masculine women. not saying all this is in your games, but let’s be honest here: it’s all coming, unless you put a stop to it.
    resist the takeover or lose your fans

  • Ayamabuki

    Just thought I’d add my two cents. I’m kickstart backer and woman as well. I’ve been with Larian since the birth of Divinity series. Absolutely love the games. Been a gamer my whole life, literally was on computer before I could walk, haha.

  • Inquiring

    The sheer number of assumptions you make are quite embarrassing.

    One, your assumption that D:OS has a lot of female players because of your anecdotal experience is worthless. Women could, just as the Kickstarter data shows, be only 2-5% of your audience and you would still get your anecdotal results. Consider how many women you know total, and then consider how many actually play D:OS.

    When looking at PAX, look at what kind of show it is. It is a show for gaming enthusiasts, who have the means and wherewithal to go. It is already a non-representative sample, as it is going to attract the more enthusiastic fanbases.

    Then of course there are the excuses that stem from this: “Women get so much backlash,” “Men/boys clearly feel threatened by women/girl gamers,” “blah blah, factually empty platitudes that mean nothing.”

    Ignore the biological fact that women are more likely to perceive criticism and discomfort and give vocal concern to that perception. Studies have shown that in online interactions men and boys receive far more criticism, threats, and harassment than women, except in the single area of female TV news reporters, who out edge their male counterparts by a couple percent.

    Studies —which someone has already linked in these comments— have also shown that when it comes to non-mobile phone app games, and non-Facebook type games (Farmville, etc) that men are the overwhelming majority of gamers for PC and consoles. Women are also the overwhelming primary consumers of hidden object games, match 3 games, and other such “casual” games.

    The fact is humans are terrible at estimation, because they suck at recognizing that a small sample size is not a reliable indicator of reality. As an example, homosexuals are about 2-5% of the population, but the average person thinks homosexuals make up more than 25%+ of the population. This is because at 2-5% it is almost a certainty that every single person knows at least one person who is a homosexual, or knows someone who knows someone. People then poorly extrapolate that this must mean homosexuals are a very common demographic, while ignoring that, yeah, the odds of knowing someone, or knowing someone who knows someone, is actually very high when you are talking about 2-5 people out of 100 over a span of years.

    People are just shit with numbers, and think small numbers are bigger than they are, and big numbers are smaller than they are.

    In conclusion, this entire blog post is predicated on a massive logical fallacy. It is all based on an assumption that a small sample of anecdotal evidence represents a much larger reality accurately in any way, shape, or form.

  • Geeklat

    Me and my wife only just recently started playing through the game with co-op on PC. I originally backed D:OS and played through it when it came out, and she just didn’t really have time till recently to go through it with me. That being said, any feedback or polls are all filtered through me. She loves the game, but doesn’t really take the time to research or read into the game or the next game because I’m handling that side of things.

    In a recent poll on the kickstarter site there was a question of “How did you play D:OS?” and it only allowed you to select one option between single-player, online co-op, couch split-screen co-op, and didn’t play it. I have to select “single-player” as it’s the primary way I played, but that’s not the whole truth. You’re missing out on data that I also played it local LAN co-op with my partner. Co-Op local/couch could have had a follow up question and was an opportunity to get more data on the people playing who normally wouldn’t be filling out the polls.

  • Kyle Rybski

    My experience has long been that, in part, female gamers just engage differently online. They’ll play, and produce fan art, and talk with people in person, but it’s otherwise not a part of their lives compared to males.

    And not because of “harassment” or any other force but a plain lack of whatever it is that makes many people addicted to following games in development. I haven’t yet known a female gamer to seek out games on her own. It’s always seemed to be a matter of word of mouth, stumbling on fan art or fan fiction on unrelated sites, word of mouth, targeted ads, and word of mouth.

  • James Donley

    Well hey, if you’re so obsessed with “fixing the gender ratio,” by all means point me toward your refund policy and I’ll help shrink the blue portion for you. If I’m not wanted, I’m happy to take my business elsewhere and point my friends elsewhere, as well.

  • nyamms

    If Kickstarter has a 70-30 male-female split and you expect every third Divinity fan to be a woman, then you SHOULD expect no more than 10% of your Kickstarter backers to be female, just statistically speaking. There is nothing odd about that observation. If you assume women are equally less likely to participate in your further polls or follow video game FB groups, then that would also explain your other results.

    The fact that it’s as low as 5% does also not surprise or “concern” me the least bit because RPGs (and in fact, big-budget games in general) have always been more popular among boys than girls, and studies that claim results to the contrary usually reach such conclusions by including free or cheap Facebook/Smartphone casual games that ask for a very much smaller time investment than an RPG like Divinity. I think many examples have already been provided. Do not expect a 50/50 split when selling a cRPG.

  • JazionKeera

    An interesting thought is that since female gamers like myself tend to be more social, they could be sharing Kickstarter rewards with someone else that they intend to co-op with. I’m still really excited for this game to be released and should get around to finishing the original (started new game after someone messed up mine).

  • Abused Prof

    I only just saw this blog post, and I wanted to respond as a woman who plays (and loves!) Divinity: Original Sin. I tend not to participate in gaming communities because they’re so often dominated by young, male homophobes. I think you could get some valuable feedback from female gamers and do a great service to the community as well if you were to create or sponsor some community space for us women — especially to help women connect with other female players for co-op. More publicity in non-game media we read would help too! If you were to encourage women who work in Larian’s development department to write about gaming as a woman from the developer’s and the user’s experience, I bet some mainstream media such as Slate, Jezebel, and so on would run stories.

    And since you asked about such things: I’m nostalgic for the heyday of real-life RPGs, but missed out on a lot of computer games as a lifelong Mac user. I also stopped playing games for a long time because so many games seemed to be about gore and machismo rather than story and character. I find games sometimes via my university students, and otherwise generally by looking up Metacritic scores after I see something that looks intriguing. Words such as “clever,” “humor,” “explore,” “dialogue,” and “story” in write-ups are a draw, as are images with strong women not dressed as and/or built like they belong in a swimsuit calendar.

    I’m very glad that you care about getting the eye and support of women who game!

  • Ossifiedtoad

    Fwiw, I’m a woman gamer who never played a “traditional” style RPG before D:OS. I discovered it while looking for couch-coop games that I could play with my partner. (Major mainstream game studios seem to be increasingly relegating multiplayer and co-op options to online-only, unfortunately.) I think every partnered woman gamer I know games with her partner at least sometimes, so anecdotally, that seems like a good avenue of connection.

    Also, I definitely don’t buy games until I’ve had a chance to see reviews, unless they’re from a studio I’ve had good experiences with in the past.


    50/50? This is why you take SJW statistics with the grain of salt.

    I’m about 25 hrs into Divinity EE on PS4. This game is hardcore. Wouldn’t want it any othe way.

  • Melandrhild

    I’m female and buying a whole lot of RPG’s since I’m a kid, I bought Baldur’s Gate games, I bought D:OS, but one thing that make me go away from late games is the “censorship” of anything sexy on female characters. I won’t play a ugly woman with a male outfit in a RPG, and I won’t buy a game that only give this possibily to please a small group of angry people. So while some developers try to gather new female non-gamer audience, they may lose old female gamer audience…

  • nobody72

    Will there be a 2016 blog entry ?

  • Alicia Kristen

    My older brother introduces me to most games, even now that I’m an adult. I hate stereotyping, but studies from my game design graduate project seemed to indicate that men play more obsessively, where women play more casually and socially. This is why my brother and I played Divinity together. Baulders Gate with true co-op!! Now we want to play Pillars of Eternity but their is no co-op. It is telling that a forum post when searching “taking turns in Pillars of Eternity” comes up with a guy saying, “Guys, I don’t know what to do. I am going to disappear into this game when it comes out but that means not much time for wife and kids and that’s going to start fights.” And to Haba, you sound awfully close to saying, “Mostly men play REAL games.” You sound like one of those sports guys. “Yeah 50% of sport players are women, but only if you count like gymnastics and other lame sports.”

  • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

    I believe I have the answer to your dilemna.

    First, a bit of background about myself. I’m just into my thirties, a female gamer, game artist, and RPG fan. I’ve been playing them since ADOM at age 12 and Morrowind and Neverwinter Nights from around 15. Divinity Original Sin player. Bought two copies of the game so I could play alone or with my partner, though it’s extremely difficult waiting for him to have time. I’m a fairly decent fan of the original game and will likely be buying the second one when the price drops enough to afford two copies at once. This is exactly the sort of gameplay I enjoy – questing, varied combat, a great overarching metaplot, fantastical elements, decent character interaction, and above all freedom to customise.

    As you’ve discovered, there are many reasons why women might not identify themselves as female online, especially in the gaming community, or why we might be mislabelled as male consumers given the various algorithms and purchasing patterns applicable. However, even as someone who otherwise rates the game positively, I also have had definite issues with gender representation with D:OS which most female gamers will have noticed and which may have contributed to a lower female consumer base. And it’s understandable that these have arisen within the design for the Divinity series without being noticed by a male-skewed development team, too. (Most of these are visual; the writing is far better and more balanced as a whole and I’m certain Sarah has had some impact on that.) There’s a gap in your perceptions which a wider array of female respondents might have flagged up earlier.

    I want to see a bit of myself in the female characters on-screen. NPCs, PCs, everyone. That doesn’t mean they have to be perfect – only relateable – but they have to be serious, decent, enjoyable, identifiable, heroic, fun, and above all, they have to not be reduced to their gender as their primary attribute. In some ways D:OS doesn’t deliver this.

    As a female gamer I want to see myself and others like me represented in a serious and epic manner within the concept art as well. The art for the game sells the game. It attracts or repels potential customers. Your current art is likely to dissuade at least portions of the female gamer demographic. Don’t get me wrong, the art is beautiful, stylistically gorgeous, but it’s just too difficult to ignore that while you have a muscled, powerful, grim and epic armour-clad hero on the right hand side of the screen, the heroine is in what effectively resembles a metal bikini. She’s far too slight, short and smooth-skinned, too; her body looks like what men consider to be attractive in a sex partner rather than someone who actually trains with arms and armour. She’s less than half the male hero’s breadth. Even her post and expression are more geared toward looking elegant or sensual than powerful and epic. Is it so much to want my fantasy alter ego to be depicted as powerful?

    I love the fact that your canonical heroes include a female character, and that it’s possible to play with any gender balance at all (at least within the binary). Loved the varied roles, personalities, strengths, weaknesses and so on for the NPCs, too – that Russian-accented fish seller in the Cyseal harbour sold D:OS for me, right there in the first gameplay hour. But even so, too many of the – admittedly varied – female NPCs are character tropes based on self-serving sexuality; for example in the starting locale of Cyseal, you have Anna as the only female member of the Fabulous Five who asks the PC to run away with them (gender regardless?) and then turns out to have been using it as a ruse to earn extra coin, and just upstairs the merchant Shereth also comes on with the charm and scanty-ish clothing and needs a (male) bodyguard on hand to protect her. I don’t *necessarily* mind these two characters existing in a varied world of different NPC types, but there really aren’t any sexy scanty-clad male analogues as balance.

    The in-game visuals were for me the most irritating turn-off. Your female heroic character model is slim, lithe, attractive, sexualised rather than idealised, whereas the male one is bulky and enormous to comic proportions almost as if they’d been on a diet of cartoon spinach for the last several years. I do appreciate that the style of the game is cartoonish, but really, both male and female heroes ought to be muscled to a certain extent as well as powerful and attractive. If, like us, players wish to create a strong female warrior and a lithe male rogue/wizard, the visuals we have to apply to those characters are so dysfunctional with their chosen classes as to actually breach the illusion of the game. This isn’t even a subtle thing. Gender variation doesn’t come close to accounting for the sheer scale difference between male and female party members. And this is a fantasy world, one where – had your team chosen – they could have represented female characters of various races as being bulkier, larger and tougher than their male counterparts. Orcs, especially, fall into this trope in various other productions. Instead the D:OS female orcs read visually as slave sex on legs.

    The female clothing in-game is also not exactly ideal. It’s far better than some of what’s out there, I’ll admit, but even so you have the annoying situation where armours that look fantastic on the male model are slimmed down shirts and breast-modelled torso covers on the female. Women’s armour in the real world, let alone fantasy, was not modelled so heavily around the torso. We know these characters are female already, it doesn’t require a constant reminder of their body shape for them to still look absolutely excellent. Additionally, for whatever reason, someone thought that the heroine looked better in permanent, eight-inch heels, than running around wearing greaves and boots suitable for actual adventure. Leading to the ridiculous state of affairs that, even when naked, female characters are still wearing foot-warping platforms. I don’t mind a small heel on a decent looking pair of boots (although it’s entirely unnecessary, really, people will play the game without leg curvature) but when the entire animation set for the female characters has to account for them running about on their tiptoes something has surely gone wrong? Most women couldn’t wear that height of heel to a party, and we definitely wouldn’t choose them for tearing up a few walking corpses with a greataxe.

    It also leads to a lack of differentiation between major characters. Your female characters could have varied, striking silhouettes that differentiated them from each other .. if you’d wanted. We look absolutely amazing in edgy, geometric armour. Just look at Hawke. But instead everyone has the same set of curves, leg and chest flesh, and skinny arms and legs, on show. Even the villainous Conduit – who is a magnificent choice of villain, by the way – wears a breast-and-leg-revealing robe and is no different in scale or form than the majority of NPC models. Please, feel free to make your female heroes and villains larger than life, just the way you do to the men! And please don’t always go down the bare-flesh-curvaceous route of doing so, by default.

    These issues aren’t only an issue for female players, either. Players can’t possibly avoid being constantly reminded of their characters’ genders as the primary aspect of their visuals. Due to this it’s a bit frustrating to see people asking if they can play the game with a mono-male party. Perhaps if you guys had created powerful, heroic female models for the PCs more male players would be interested in creating two epic-looking and complementary heroes regardless of the genders chosen? Either way men will still play this game if the female characters and graphics are also allowed to be both epic and representative rather than so wholly slimmed down and illusion-breaking vulnerable. It’s not about adding more to cater for female gamers’ somehow mysterious needs – it’s about adjusting the content you already have so as not to put us off.

    I was hoping that D:OS II would correct this issue, being a newer, more up-to-date game, but having had a gander at the Kickstarter campaign and artwork released up to this point it seems as if the visual issues at least remain unchanged. Massively muscled, idealised male hero clad in shards of steel armour, next to a lithe, nearly-naked elflike creature whose bosoms are not only on full show but due to her pose are actually the main focal point of her existence. Yes, it’s an easy way to attract and titillate some types of male gamer to plaster a lithe female body on the cover, but you have to realise that it’ll also turn off most female gamers and plenty of the more socially conscious male gamers too.

    To summarise: the main reason you don’t have female customers and players when compared to similar RPG titles is mainly because you are too heavily targeting opposing groups within the fanbase. Your player demographics aren’t close to equal, because the way men and women are treated by and represented within the game isn’t equal. The writing may be reasonable, the visuals are not. You need to approach this issue from the mindset of a woman who wants to enjoy the setting and visual spectacle of the game and not just the mechanics.

    I did buy, nevertheless, and I will continue to enjoy. But I can’t get immersed in the same way until I have a game in front of me which truly welcomes me and makes us feel as strong, powerful, connected and identified with as it does for the bulk male playerbase.

    • https://www.facebook.com/FineArtsAberystwyth/ Debbie Jackson

      Sorry this is such a long spiel, Swen, and I’m sure I’ll get at least several shades of backlash from other readers. (If, in fact, anyone is still following this topic at all.) But you seemed to be legitimately asking for help. You’ve made an absolutely magnificent game series and there’s plenty more right about the world, writing and general production than there is wrong. I just hope that the details above can go some way toward helping your team as you work towards the final full release of D:OS II and plan for further games in future. It would be incredible to see some or any of these issues corrected.

      • Fox

        I check in every now and then (hopeful to see a new blog post–it’s been a while. You won’t get any backlash from me–lots of valid points there.

        I think presentation is definitely an underrated aspect of marketing games. For better or worse a screenshot is a person’s first and perhaps most powerful introduction to the games’ worlds. How characters are modeled, animated and costumed is enormously important.

        And, yeah, content is an issue, too. DOS’ pair of protagonists may seem like equal representation, but it’s largely superficial when much of the writing relies on tropes designed to appeal to men. The opening mystery, for example, is a man being murdered *presumably* due to the machinations of an unfaithful women. IE man encounters tragedy due to woman’s irresponsibility–a trope *literally* as old as Eve. And then there’s how the mystery eventually unfurls, where (SPOILERS!) it turns out all this mess was caused by a jealous woman. One of the more crucial aspects of designing an RPG for a more diverse audience is, I think, learning to identify and avoid relying too heavily on narrative and character tropes that elevate on particular sort of person, or disparage another. It can be a tricky balance, and of course applies to more than just women (IE if you’re going to write a story that deals heavily with colonialism, maybe don’t depict the native peoples as violent barbarians who “need” the paternalistic oversight of their colonizers), but is probably most crucial w/ regard to women simply because they represent such a significant share of the market.

  • La Chica Incognita

    Women gamers tend to avoid community stuff when it comes to gaming. There is a perception either conscious or unconscious that male gamers are immature maladjusted morons that we quite frankly would rather not deal with. Things like GamersGate going from a rally for “journalistic integrity” to straight up women bashing MRA nonsense is probably the clearest example of this in recent memory. Also look at Steam’s community. Any bit of it. Look at the comments left on news articles, look at reviews look at everything. Look at the Skyrim Nexus where tons of popular mods clearly fall in the realm of “real women don’t move, look or sit like that” and in general. Seeing the SLIGHTEST mention of women in gaming typically triggers foaming blood at the mouth by a shockingly large amount of gamers where even the most innocuous of conversations will end in bile being spewed and labels of SJW (a meaningless term which does more to label the person using it then the person it was aimed at) being tossed about. It’s pathetic.

    While I might be speaking a bit hyperbolic it’s not always outright toxicity that puts women off. Even the little things tend to make us want to roll our eyes and wonder “why the fuck should I bother?”….and most of us just don’t. Hell readings through the other comments have given me this reaction, while none of it was actually toxic there was loads of smug nonsense that makes me wonder “why the fuck would I want to be involved with these people?” We don’t take part in the gaming community because we frankly either feel unwelcome or just don’t see any benefit to indulging the preteen mentality that exists in MOST of gaming. I am aware it’s likely to be more of a vocal minority…but a vocal minority is a hell of a lot more effective than a silent majority.

    …and in the middle of typing all this I glanced back up and saw this was basically already covered in the first update to the article. So…there you go.

  • Lisa

    As a child, I played Divine Divinity and I really liked it. Important in this was very good localization in my language. The following parts I liked much less. Original Sin became for me a breath of fresh air, this game combined an interesting gameplay and good interactivity. In RPG, I always like to play some role, interactivity in Original Sin perfectly handled with it. In fact, there are many more reasons why I love Original Sin, including even the attitude of its developers to their project. Irony, references, loyalty to the players and the absence of exclusively commercial policies.

    And yes, I’m a girl. And yes, English is not my native language, so I apologize for the mistakes in my text.
    P.S. I don’t think that internet statistics in reality can be correct, because this is internet.

  • http://yellowravenink.deviantart.com/ Yellow Raven

    I have been a female gamer all my life and I have yet to meet someone who lives near me with the same amount of love for games (aside form my bf). I live in Italy and it seems rather clear to me that women are not really taken into account when it comes to the gamers community (here in this country) but at the same time women are not discouraged to be part of it. Simply put it is very rare for a girl to grow up with games. I have been interested in drawing and art + I felt out of place at school so games/books/comics were my escape route. One of the first games I really got into was Final Fantasy and WoW was my first MMO, the aspects I loved the most about these games were the story and character personalization. I loved collecting swords and reading lore. Perhaps certain mechanics surely appeal more to the male gamers than females. That being said I also believe that, given the right input, a woman can overcome her dislike for certain aspects of a game so that she might enjoy other features. I for example played DOS 2 for the story, the romantic involvement with the main characters was something I didn’t expect but it was truly delightful and I honestly can’t remember many games who have done that (aside from otome games). Of course this is my personal experience and might not reflect all the other female players but still, I’m rather sure it comes down to habits, routines, how your grew up, etc… etc… and it has always been easier for a male to become a gamer because of the circumstances surrounding said person.

  • Mandy French-Burkhead

    Maybe if Divinity: Dragon Commander let me play as a woman, I’d be more interested in your games, Larian Studios. According to the FAQ for that game’s website:

    Q: Can we be a female dragon commander in the campaign?

    A: No – sadly not. Dragon Commander tells the story of the son of a dragon knight, and catering for all the different permutations that would occur as a result of having different possible genders didn’t match our budget.

    I call bullshit. Why would there need to be different permutations? Why should the game be any different if I have a female avatar? This is just plain laziness and catering to what is assumed to be a male-only audience. I would have loved to have played this game, but I refuse to play a game that claims to be all about player choice but forces you to be a man.

    • Raze_Larian

      If you are not interested in the game as it is, I very much doubt the option of a female character would make a difference, given that you never see or hear the character, and it is only a factor in the some of the interactions on the airship (specifically, with the royal marriage).
      Also, it is strange that you refer to ‘games’ (plural), when in every other Divinity game you can choose the gender of the main character(s).

      Would there be a political alliance in the form of a marriage to a choice of princesses if the main character were female? That feature would either need to be doubled (writing, voice recording, QA, etc) or scrapped to offer a choice of genders for the main character, plus changes to some of the other dialog and voice acting. One of the races’ princesses was dropped during development due to limited time and resources, so doubling it was not an option.

      Did you read the blog? The point was the audience was thought to be much more female that the analytics indicated. If a “male-only audience” was assumed, the title would have been “He look, there are actually women here!”.

      Do you boycott games where the main character is female only? That is the exact same lack of choice. What about when the main character is a robot, or ball, etc?