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September 4, 1988

GAMES FOR THE GIRLS: AUDIOGENIC SETS OUT TO PLUG THE VIDEO GAMES GENDER GAP

By CBR Staff Writer

There’s no other industry where people ignore half the market says Audiogenic Software Ltd managing director Peter Calver, expanding on his company’s recently announced decision to turn its back sexist advertising and packaging, and develop and market home computer programs aimed specifically at girls. The Harrow based firm, a wholly-owned subsidiary of computer games giant Supersoft, backs its egalitarian cum commercial gesture with reams of Gallup-conducted survey data, which makes fairly dismal redressing-the-balance reading. A recent poll shows, for example, that within MS-DOS micro-owning family homes in the UK, only 20% of the main users are acknowledged to be girls. Similarly, the top computer games magazine, Advanced Computer Entertainment or Ace concedes that 99% of its readers are male. Calver acknowledges that differing maturity rates are a major underlying factor; at 13 or 14 years old – the typical age of an Audiogenic consumer – girls possess the intelligence of 16-year old boys, and have simply grown out of computer games, he says; some males we know who are far from boys still haven’t grown out of them. To date, the company’s attempts to develop programs designed to appeal to girls are still at the research stage, with no major commercial offerings anticipated until next summer. One idea which appears to have won particular favour, however, is the move to computerise a major publication detailing contact names and addresses for pop, film and television stars, which currently enjoys a 60% teenage girl readership. Meanwhile, the company is anxiously awaiting feedback from the plethora of national newspaper womens’ pages and teen magazines which received its press release, and has plans to sponsor a competition, encouraging girls to write in and define the kind of computer game they might be tempted to allocate precious pocket money to.

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