German girl gamers play vanilla

A new gaming magazine targeted at women gamers is scheduled to hit German news stands this December.  Play Vanilla will be a gaming magazine for the casual girl gamer, age 19-40 that wants a more feminine flair to her gaming articles.

Appearing as a supplement in the January 2007 edition of Joy magazine, Play Vanilla will start appearing as a regular solo magazine as of March 2007.

“Play vanilla will be serving an interest group that has so far been woefully neglected, a group with enormous potential and specific requirements,” explains Petra Fröhlich, Editor-in-Chief of play vanilla and PC Games. “Women want to play too, but are quite different from men in the demands they place on a game. A magazine like play vanilla is inevitable with the increasing numbers of female gamers and games with specifically female appeal. Focus groups and games publishers have shown excellent reactions to play vanilla.”

After reading about this magazine and what its goals are, I’ve come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be caught dead reading this. I read Electronic Gaming Monthly, Game Pro and Nintendo Power and I find that as a gaming fan that they meet my needs as a female gamer quite well. I don’t need some feminine soft gaming magazine to make it easier on me as a woman to read about games. They make it seem like woman gamers don’t feel right about reading normal gaming magazines or something like they aren’t emotional enough for our delicate minds to want to read them.

Women have been the source of enormous surges in growth on the games market; internationally successful games have already shown a large proportion of female players – 60% for Sims II, more than 30% for the Anno series. Half of the “casual” gamers – more than 54% of the target group for advertising aged 14 or over are female according to a recent study by Electronic Arts and Jung von Matt – as are 44% of the Nintendo DS gamers. Women make up more than a third of all mobile game downloads according to Bitkom presiding committee member Manfred Gerdes (FTD, August 2006).

The magazine owners are giving us stats on female gamers that play The Sims 2 and other casual games, and I have to wonder why any casual gamer would even want to pick up a magazine about video games in the first place. Speciality magazines are usually only bought by people who are really into the magazine’s main topic. You wouldn’t buy a cigar magazine if you smoked a cigar maybe once a week, would you?

The only way this magazine has any hope of selling well is if the editors and writers don’t follow any stereotypes or make the magazine pink or something.  I don’t see things going well for this publication though, considering the very name of the magazine insults me; Play Vanilla makes me think of the term, vanilla sex which means safe or plain sex.  Does that mean they’re trying to say that female gamers and their choice of games are plain or safe? Not a good way to start off.


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