Google is about to break a record in the video game market with a service that is likened to a Netflix for games, but most importantly, the big tech is targeting women, an audience that has been overlooked by rivals.
Gamer gear is traditionally manly with colours like black and navy blue. Sony’s controllers are mostly available in black and maybe other shades of neon and camo. Microsoft Xbox controller are equally available in colours like fire truck red and electric blue.
Google’s stadia is changing the narrative by taking a more gender-neutral approach. Controllers will come in white, black or wasabi green while Nintendo will come in brighter colours like turquoise and yellow to suit both audiences- men and women.
In an interview with CNN business, Phil Harrison, Google VP and head of Stadia said that games have been modelled by their competitors to be played by men because of the approach they explored but that Google wanted to take a different approach. He said: “more mechanical in the approach”. some of our historical competitors in the console space have been a bit more masculine and a bit
Google wants to use a different design to help its new gaming service to stand out from competitors and to also attract a more diverse audience. In the United States for instance, women are not totally isolated from the gaming industry. They make up 46% of gamers, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
Ernst & Young estimates that the gaming industry will generate $152b in revenue in 2019. It’s only logical that Google wants to diversify its audience and stand out from its competitions as a secret weapon.
“If Google has an advantage here versus Xbox or PlayStation, it’s that it doesn’t have a pre-existing ‘gamer culture’ it has to appease,” Laine Nooney, an assistant professor and historian of video games at New York University said.
Regarding its choice to settle for Wasabi, Google’s director of design, Isabelle Olsson told CNN that it polled thousands of gamers before taking a decision because the colour had a universal appeal. “Both men and women gravitated towards this colour. It ended up being super gender neutral but still very expressive. It’s really hard to find colours like that,” she said.
Aside from the colours, CNN business revealed via a test that the controllers are light-weight and easier for small hands to grip, contrary to similar products sold by rivals. Google acknowledged that the move was intentional to stand out.