Let’s Hear It for the Girls!

July 16, 2008

imagine-screenshots.jpgOur video games reporter Kemp Powers went to today’s Ubisoft press conference, which featured the usual array of gun play and sword fighting fans expected from the French video game publisher.

The company, however, saved some of its most enthusiastic chest-bumping for an update on its “Games for Girls” brand strategy.

Tony Key, Ubisoft’s senior vice president of sales and marketing laid out the impressive data; in the first three months of 2008, sales in the division aimed at “tween,” or pre-teen, girls grew 63 percent. Six of the top ten third party titles on the Nintendo DS are games targeted to the tween set.

And the number one third party title on the DS is Ubisoft’s own “Imagine,” a series of games that allows girls to pretend to be animal doctors, fashion designers, chefs and other professions and has sold more than four million units worldwide.

“You definitely cannot call them casual,” Key said of young girl gamers. “They’re playing and buying a lot of games.”

Which is why Ubisoft is expanding its girl games brand by rolling out a new line of “Imagine” titles between now and October that includes “Teacher,” “Interior Designer,” “Movie Star” and “Wedding Designer.”

We’re not sure how many little girls dream of planning other people’s weddings when they grow up, but obviously Ubisoft has done some focus group study and knows better than we would what professions today’s girls find interesting.

Our favorite game of the bunch is “Party Babyz,” in which girls play as babysitters and entertain the little tykes by having them race, dance and have soap bubble contests.

“Ener-G” is the new brand offering that will seek to capitalize on the popularity of girl sports when it releases during the holidays.

Calling it “the first sports brand dedicated to girls,” Key explained that the interest in sports is at an all-time high among young girls, with one in two girls playing sports in 2008 and 50 percent of all high school athletes being female.

For a company that is renown for its games for the hardcore enthusiasts, Ubisoft is definitely proving that it knows what the young ladies like.

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