It's a boy thing. They finish school and already their only focus is how quickly they can get upstairs, get changed and settle down comfortably in front of the TV.

Not to watch cartoons or teenage dramas but to click profusely on an ergonomically-designed control pad and shout things randomly at the screen. At least that's how it appears to the rest of us.

They are playing computer games.But is it just a boy thing? Or are girls just as likely to take their position on the living room floor?

Following reports this week that the gaming industry is continuing to fail women by not producing suitable games, Tabloid! took to the streets of Dubai to find out who is taking control, when it comes to computers, in the UAE.

No effort from the industry

David Gardner, of Electronic Arts (EA), a leading games company, said the industry is only reaching a small proportion of possible users — not only geographically but also genetically.

He said if EA cracked the problem the firm could add a billion dollars to its sales.

He added: "The industry has to learn from the film business. The movie industry doesn't just make films for boys.

"Star Wars was the biggest film of all time until Titanic came along; Titanic became the biggest because women went to see it and women went to see it multiple times."

EA's own research found that 40 per cent of teenage girls played video games versus 90 per cent of teenage boys, and that most girls lost interest in games within a year.

Different interests

Angela Picker, a mother-of-four, said all her children are as bad as each other.

The Dubai resident of four years said: "To be honest, the girls are just as bad as the boys. I have two of each and they are all obsessed with the computer but they like different games.

"The girls tend to like the singing and dancing games — I think they like to dream of being little pop stars.
"And the boys seem to prefer the fighting games."

Fed up

Donna Micheline said she agrees with the research from EA.

The 24-year-old designer said: "I am fed up with the choice out there. Being female we do want different games to the boys. I don't like many of the games which are obviously designed for boys. There are some good games out there but they are few and far between."

Itha Garner owns a music and computer games store in Dubai. "I would estimate that 80 per cent of my customers are male," he said.

"Even if games are bought by females they are usually for the children at home.


"Many women ask me 'what are good games for girls?' My honest answer is that they tend to prefer platform games — where you progress through the levels in a logical way.

"Or I suggest the dance games or karaoke discs. They normally go down well with girls.

"However, I do also believe there is a highly sophisticated female gaming market out there. They play their games via the internet. These are PC games, not console."

Gardner from EA said one of the biggest problems was that the content aimed at women was not appealing.

"They don't want 'pink games'. Thy are not trying to play girly games where Paris Hilton and Britney Spears go shopping and put make-up on.

"Those kind of things have not been that successful."
But he said games such as The Sims (made by EA Games) and websites such as proved there was a market for women gamers.

"Most of the Sims players are girls —70 per cent are women under 25," he said.

"The Sims is really a game about relationships — and that's what girls want — they want relationships, they want to be able to chat."