So, here’s a question: why are female video game protagonists so rare? Their absence is palpable, and we talk often of how we want to see more of them, but the why of it is typically addressed with generalizations about target audiences and a lack of women in game development. Penny Arcade Report senior editor Ben Kuchera wanted better answers than that, so he did what any red-blooded gamer would do — he found some numbers to crunch.
As detailed in an editorial earlier this week, Kuchera contacted Geoffrey Zatkin, Chief Operating Officer of EEDAR, essentially the market research firm for the gaming industry. They looked at a sample of 669 action games, shooters, and RPGs, all taken from the seventh-generation console cycle (that’s Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii — in other words, everything in the last seven years). Less than 300 games in their sample had the option of a female lead. As for female only leads…a whopping 24.