What Are the Different Types of MMOs for Girls?

G. Wiesen

Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games for girls are available in a wide range of styles and genres, to appeal to the varying interests of different girl gamers. Many girls enjoy playing the exact same games that boys play, including fighting games and those in the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre, despite some stereotypes to the contrary. There are a number of MMOs for girls that are designed to appeal to certain "feminine" roles, such as shopping and decorating. Some of these games have come under criticism, however, as they can be seen as reinforcing stereotypes and promoting product consumption over creativity.

Playing MMO games with the child is a good way to ensure she is playing age-appropriate video games.
Playing MMO games with the child is a good way to ensure she is playing age-appropriate video games.

Many of the same games played by boys can also be MMOs for girls, especially as research indicates that online and social games are drawing increasing numbers of females into the market. These games are frequently still advertised to boys or men, who have long been the major demographic within the video and computer gaming industry. Many of these titles are played by girls, however, including those games that are violent and typically associated with male gamers. As female gamers have become more prevalent, many MMOs for girls have been developed that are specifically marketed to female players.

Social games are especially popular as MMOs for girls, especially when marketed to adolescent gamers who can use them as a way to communicate and play with friends. These games are often simpler than more elaborate MMOs, which can take years to develop. The focus of these MMOs for girls is typically on interactions between players. Cooperation may be a major element of these games, though competitive aspects can be fostered to encourage gamers to play more frequently.

MMOs for girls are often developed to appeal to interests that many female gamers may already have. For example, these games can involve collecting different types of resources, often through playing mini-games, and then using them to purchase things in the game. Such in-game goods can include new outfits and accessories, player housing, and furniture that can then be used to decorate and customize the house. While collecting and creating goods are elements of many MMOs, there is some concern that it is branded to girl gamers as a more "domestic" ideal.

Some MMOs for girls have been criticized for perpetrating stereotypes about women to young girls, thus reinforcing them. Critics worry that young female gamers are taught that consumption of products and competing for more things is the yardstick against which they should measure their achievements. MMOs for boys, or those made without the intention of appealing primarily to girls, often reward accomplishments with other types of achievements in game. Many MMOs for girls, however, do not encourage creativity or abstract thinking in the same way that other games do.

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