It costs more to play as a female in mobile games

Ben Parfitt
It costs more to play as a female in mobile games

Fewer games than you think offer free playable female characters by default

A 12 year-old has discovered that it costs gamers more money to play as female characters than male characters in the most popular iPhone games.

The Washington Post has run an article by 12 year-old Madeline Messer in which she explored the accessibility of playable female characters in the top 50 iPhone games, which her parents allowed her to download for the sake of research.

Of those apps, 18 featured main characters whose gender was not identifiable (an example being a potato!). Of the remainder, 98 per cent offered male characters and only 46 per cent female characters.

More alarmingly, 90 per cent of the apps offered playable males for free while only 15 per cent did the same for females.

Furthermore, among those that offered premium access to playable female characters the average price of such a privilege was $7.53. That compares to an average cost of $0.26 to download the apps in the first place.

One game, Disney's Temple Run Oz, charged a staggering $29.97 to access the only playable female character.

These biases affect young girls like me,” Messer said. The lack of girl characters implies that girls are not equal to boys and they don't deserve characters that look like them. I am a girl; I prefer being a girl in these games. I do not want to pay to be a girl.

App-makers should eliminate this practice for a business reason too: If girls stop playing these games, then they also would stop making in-app purchases and stop watching the ads. If our character choices tell us these games aren't for us, eventually we'll put them down.”

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