I’m going to preface this writeup by clarifying that E3 2010 was my first time attending as press, and that I still spent a large portion of my time on the show floor with the rest of the non press attendees. So the opinions you are about to read are given from the perspective of the average convention goer who isn’t waltzed to the front of a VIP line for behind-closed-doors access.
Alright, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…
The most common stereotype that I hear about guys is that all they care about is sex. However, if scantily clad girls are necessary to get a male convention attendee interested in a game, that attendee is no real gamer.
It’s not that I don’t understand who the main demographic that video game companies target are. I get it. I’m not a guy, and that’s not the end of the world. But when the companies developing and publishing games act as if my friends and I are undeserving or uninterested in having access to credible gaming informants, that just makes me think, “Well, okay, you don’t want us to buy your product? Fine.”
And the excuse that it’s all just there to make the event “more fun” doesn’t work on me either. I’m actually annoyed by all the booth babes being there, and I find plenty of enjoyment at E3 without them. So you’d have a hard time convincing me that the lack of booth babes would “ruin the experience” for someone — unless that someone was some sort of booth babe connoisseur, at which point I could care less.
I understand that sex sells, and that the number one bottom line goal of any business is to make money, but a business also has to maintain a good reputation, and objectifying women and lining them up like manikins isn’t really the best way to go about doing that.
There was a debate recently about whether or not video games could be considered art. If a game is so bad that it requires sex to sell it, not only is it not “art,” it probably shouldn’t exist. If we’re going to argue games as an art form, let’s focus more on the concept, the plot, and the gameplay mechanics — and less on the double D breasts pitching portable gaming devices.
None of the games I’ve purchased have ever been due to the main character being attractive. I’ve never looked a game’s box art and said “ZOMGZ SHE HAS NO CLOTHES ON!!” That said, I’ve got quite the game collection, so taking sex out of the equation doesn’t mean people won’t buy the game, it just means they’ll buy it for the right reasons.
In fact, the majority of individuals that I’ve talked to about this actually think it would make more sense to have someone who knows what they’re talking about standing by the booth. That way, they’d get real information from a real person — a real gamer, instead of someone reciting a few lines from a script between nose powdering sessions.
Now, I saw my fair share of companies at E3 this year who actually employed non-booth babe personnel in their respective booths, and I applaud them for it. But that aside, most of the developers and individuals truly educated about the games were reserved for behind-closed-doors media access. This not only insults the intelligence of gamers, it undermines the people who make games by implying that their game requires a model in a strategically placed outfit to make it appealing.
In the end, I’m hoping we can all prove with actions, not words, that we’re into games, not boobs. If you’re a guy (which you probably are) and you consider yourself a gamer (which you probably do) booth babes shouldn’t be necessary to keep your interest at a convention packed with tons of hands-on gaming and cutting edge technology.
Gamers keep their eyes on the games, not the girls. So to all developers and publishers out there — give us what we really want. More educated gamers talking us through great games, and less of the other crap.