How Much For Ze Little Girl? Part 2: The Endless (Runner) Cost of Being Female

My updates to this blog have been awfully spaced this year due to a number of reasons and getting Netflix recently really hasn’t helped. I’ve found that you can spend your time-consuming nerd culture (i.e. video games, movies, comics) or you can spend your time writing about it. The former is a lot more fun.

But anyway…

A woman running.

Running as a man? That’s free! Running as a woman? You’ll need to pay a toll… (Image sourced from: Wikimedia Commons)

As a follow-on to my article about having to pay to play female characters through extra DLC, I saw that someone else had looked at the issue when it came to top-selling endless runner titles on mobiles. Their discovery was that out of the top 50 titles, only 15% had free female characters, compared to 90% of the titles having free male characters.

If someone wanted to play a female character the day they downloaded their endless runner, on average it would cost them $7.53, with one title charging nearly $30 to unlock the sole female character in their game.

The key quote for me was that each of the apps I downloaded only cost an average of $0.26 [making] girl characters cost about 29 times more than the cost of the apps themselves. It really does cost more to play as a woman character in-game in what is a very popular game type!

However, there was something encouraging that came out of the study – the number of developers who stated that the study opened their eyes about this price discrimination. They hadn’t realised this was the case until it was pointed out, but now it’s so obvious (and “embarrassing“) that they are going to make more free female characters available.

And that’s the key part: changing attitudes. It’s great to see and the above points out that doesn’t require a large shift to start increasing female inclusion in gaming titles.

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