29 February 2008

Interview with Per Rosendal of Guppyworks

Interview with Per Rosendal, CEO, Guppyworks. Guppyworks is working on Guppylife, a MMO for girls. This interview was conducted in behalf of GameDev.Net

24 February 2008

Sony Scholarship

Wed Feb 20, 7:37 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) said Wednesday it is luring women into video game design with a 10,000-dollar scholarship and paid internships.

"We are under-represented," Devra Pransky of SOE told AFP after the announcement of the scholarship at a major Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

"Video game making is male dominated and we need to change that."

A Sony-sponsored survey in January of female students enrolled in game design and programming at The Art Institutes showed that about half of those surveyed think more women would play video games designed by women.

The perception of the video game industry being a male bastion deters women from getting into the field, those surveyed agreed.

"It is a misdirection that women don't like video games," said SOE publicist Taina Rodriguez, who sported a lime green t-shirt with the acronym G.I.R.L. -- Gamers In Real Life.

"If more women make games, then more women will play games and get excited about making games. We want to strengthen that cycle."

Students enrolled in The Art Institutes schools can begin applying for the SOE scholarship in April. The winner will get 10,000 dollars for tuition and a paid internship at an SOE studio.

The Art Institutes has 35 campuses in the United States and offers online education.

"I love games, but I'm a bit old school," said Niki Dominguez of The Art Institute of California in San Diego. "I'm an Atari fan."

She also boasts a nine handicap playing golf on Nintendo's Wii video game console.

Students enrolled in accredited universities or trade schools can also apply for SOE internships.

NYT article: Vital Signs (Men and Video Games)

Vital Signs
Patterns: A Video Game, an M.R.I. and What Men's Brains Do
Published: February 19, 2008

Why does it often seem that men enjoy playing video games more than
women? Perhaps because they do.

A new study finds that when men play the games, a part of the brain
involved in feelings of reward and addiction becomes much more
activated than it does in women.

This may explain why men are more likely to report feeling addicted to
video games than women are, the researchers say in an online article
in The Journal of Psychiatric Research. The lead author is Fumiko
Hoeft of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

For the study, the researchers took a group of 22 young volunteers —
half men, half women — and had them play a game as an M.R.I. machine
looked at what was happening in their brains. The study found that in
the men, there was much more activity in the mesocorticolimbic system.

Given the abundance in video games of violence and other themes near
and dear to many men, there may be a natural explanation for why their
brains light up more. But the senior author of the study, Dr. Allan L.
Reiss, said the researchers made a point of steering the game they
used in a more neutral direction.

The volunteers played a simple game in which they were told only to
click the images of balls they saw, with no mention of a goal.

The players soon figured out that if they kept the balls from
advancing too close to a wall, they gained ground. Both the men and
the women did well — but the men did a lot better and appeared more
motivated to acquire terrain.

Link to article: