“Nintendo Girls Club,” a YouTube channel created by Nintendo UK, has been causing a great deal of debate in the gaming community – as gender topics normally do with gamers. The channel was created to promote Nintendo games on the 3DS and Wii U to young girls. Particularly amongst female gamers, this new channel has been perceived as sexist and stereotypical. Not only do these criticisms spark from choosing Jorgie Porter, star of Hollyoaks and Dancing on Ice, as their host for the channel, the ads are obviously targeted towards girls that are either casual gamers or non-gamers.
According to Fool, “Nintendo’s consoles perform much better among younger-than-average age groups. According to several online polls, the 3DS’ strongest market is the 13-18 age group, and the Wii U sells well among 19-24 year olds.” Consequently, a portion of the female gaming community takes offense to this as Nintendo is encouraging the segregation of young female gamers by marketing casual games that are stereotypically perceived as “girly” exclusively to them.
In my opinion, I can understand both arguments of this topic. Upon watching the introduction video, I interpreted this marketing method to simulate how young girls go into a toy store excited to see a section of toys marketed specifically to her – such as pink Barbie merchandise and perhaps a nice pink vacuum or stove she can pretend cook on. Yes, the games chosen for these ads are stereotypical and it could be said that this campaign segregates young girl gamers. However, in the eyes of Nintendo, this could be a smart move to recruit more female gamers in the community and make sales in the process. This campaign could be a start for “beginners” that will ultimately be interested in more core experiences in the future. “According to the Entertainment Software Association, 45% of gamers are female, up from 38% in 2008.” Fool reports and further elaborates stating, “However, the ESA also notes that the average age of a gamer today is 30, and that he or she has played video games for 13 years.”
As older gamers, we like to reminisce about the days when gaming was the highlight of our days. When I was little, the only game that I remember playing that could be perceived as “girly” was The Lion King on my Sega Genesis. Other than that, I played the same games as the boys did back then. While this ad campaign is not targeted at older female gamers, I would prefer Nintendo not enforce the same biases that I grew up with. I remember a time when females weren’t considered real gamers just because video games weren’t normally associated with “things girls like”. It would be wise to wait for more ads from Nintendo UK before we place judgement, but let’s just face it, the company is more focused on revenue than satisfying the female gaming population. Sure the ads are slightly corny and the host may sound like a preschool teacher interacting with her students, but there’s no harm in trying to target a certain audience. Either way, the greater good is to recruit girls while they are young and make more sales over time.
Maybe they’ll add a clubhouse for little boys next.
What do you think about the Nintendo Girls Club campaign? Smart move, unnecessary, or is it too early to judge?