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Old 07-07-2010, 01:23 AM #1
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Why Women Don't Like Paintball - Lessons from Video Games

This is based on something I'd picked up from experience with computer games, with application to paintball prompted by Reiner's recent blog.

I have noticed over the years that in general, women prefer computer games that do not involve loss, especially loss at the hands of other players. The most direct example I have is MMORPGs - there are two varieties; one where players can cause harm to each other (often called player kill) and one where they can't. And there are several MMORPGs with different servers where game play is entirely identical EXCEPT for the player kill element. Guess which variant has nearly all of the female players? NOT the player kill one.

As a base financial example, let's say someone offers a free lottery ticket, but you have to pick one of two types:

A) 90% of tickets are worthless, but 10% win $100. (average value: $10)
B) 80% of tickets win $100, but 20% lose $100 (average value: $60)

I would expect most women to choose ticket A, and most men to choose ticket B.


When applying this to paintball, the reason more women don't play paintball is not so much dirt, pain, etc, but simply that women in general avoid situations where they are at risk of loss. So, if we want more women to play paintball, then we need to change the standard rules of recreational play to not be the elimination game.

Laser tag, for example, does things differently: You pay for X number of minutes, and everyone runs around for that number of minutes shooting the other players. Nobody really loses; if you get hit, your gun just stops working for 5-10 seconds.


So maybe more women would find recreational paintball appealing if the standard format was more like laser tag. Not sure it works the same though since that does still involve getting hit multiple times per game (which could be a problem for all rec players.)


- Chris
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:58 AM #2
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Nah I think it simply comes down to the fact that it hurts. No need to over analyze it.
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:58 AM #3
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I doubt hurt has anything to do with it. Women do LOTS of things that hurt. Whether that be athletic women who pick up lots of bruises in sports, women who exercise to discomfort, or tweeze eyebrows, wax, whatever. The idea that women just don't want to do something if it hurts is, well, I think a bit silly.

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Old 07-07-2010, 07:26 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raehl View Post
I doubt hurt has anything to do with it. Women do LOTS of things that hurt. Whether that be athletic women who pick up lots of bruises in sports, women who exercise to discomfort, or tweeze eyebrows, wax, whatever. The idea that women just don't want to do something if it hurts is, well, I think a bit silly.

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Yeah,

After all, have you ever met a woman who didn't want to have a baby?

Sal.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:34 AM #5
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I think your Laser Tag solution causes more problems than it helps with anything. I also think it drives away your main customer base, men. We like to compete, and there needs to be a winner, or else we'd all spend more time in the staging area arguing about who won.

I'm not really sure that anyone can make paintball enticing to women. You'd think the only ones that would really even consider it would be the girls that already play sports. In which case they're going to be competitive anyway, so you wouldn't think the risk of loss would matter anyway.

Just the first few thoughts that went through my head.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:21 AM #6
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I could see this working as something not to replace paintball but to enhance it. I know from working at the shop that there are moms that want their kids to get hurt and bruised up.
I think that the best setup would be if a field could set aside an area specifically for laser tag but i am sure that it would work if you just ran it on the normal fields you use for paintball. Myself, I would still give them a mask and barrel sock (for effect).
I have looked at the the set up that Tippmann is selling and if I was going to run this I would go with this over any other set up.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:34 AM #7
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Quote:
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Yeah,

After all, have you ever met a woman who didn't want to have a baby?
Actually, yes.


I wasn't suggesting that people actually play laser tag; just that looking for a way to play that didn't involve "permanent" elimination from the game wouldn't be a bad thing.


I don't think it has to drive away men either - I certainly had a good time playing laser tag. Plus, last I checked, the LAST thing that drives men away is more women.


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Old 07-07-2010, 10:44 AM #8
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Yeah,

After all, have you ever met a woman who didn't want to have a baby?

Sal.
trick question?
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:57 AM #9
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:55 AM #10
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Chris,

I am not so sure your theory that women don't like games that involve a loss is true. I only base this on the women customers we have had. MANY of them are not athletic but ARE competitive to one degree or another. This has held true in tournaments AND private groups consisting of occassional players.

i.e.; We had a group of grandmothers (each over 50 years old) play in a beginner's tournament this year and they were competitive and loved it even 'though they didn't place well.

We regularly have private groups in which women LOVE shooting their boyfriends, husbands, etc. and don't complain when they get shot.

You may be correct in your theory but I can only base my opinions on my personal experiences.

Sal.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:34 PM #11
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Quote:
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Chris,

I am not so sure your theory that women don't like games that involve a loss is true. I only base this on the women customers we have had. MANY of them are not athletic but ARE competitive to one degree or another. This has held true in tournaments AND private groups consisting of occassional players.
While both of our samples are anecdotal, your sample suffers a sample bias as you're only looking at women who are at a paintball field, so you're far more likely to see the women who do like paintball. If someone fits into my generalization (and it's definitely a generalization; my sister would be a good example of the exception; she has no qualms about risk and played Living Legends even), I think it's unlikely you ever see them at a field at all.


Women are never going to make up the same percentage of players as men, simply because it's a dirty outdoor activity and less women than men do dirty outdoor activities. But paintball's female participation is still way below what you'd expect for any other non-confrontational dirty outdoor activity. there's little we can do about the dirty and outdoor, but there might be something we can do about the way the game is played in a rec setting.


And that change might just be better for EVERYONE - most of us play elimination games, but how many of us know WHY we play elimination games?


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Old 07-07-2010, 02:07 PM #12
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I doubt hurt has anything to do with it. Women do LOTS of things that hurt. Whether that be athletic women who pick up lots of bruises in sports, women who exercise to discomfort, or tweeze eyebrows, wax, whatever. The idea that women just don't want to do something if it hurts is, well, I think a bit silly.

- Chris
I don't know, I think pain is a major factor. I've tried to get several different women to come play over the years. I've managed to convince a few to try, and most of them only played once. The answer I usually get when I ask them why they don't want to try it/play again, is that it hurts, and they don't want bruises.

I got my girlfriend into paintball last year, and she really enjoys it. However there have been a few games this year she has passed on because she "just didn't feel like getting shot." that day.

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Old 07-07-2010, 03:48 PM #13
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I will ask the question I have learned to ask more often:
Are they not coming, or are they not coming back??

I can't comment on paintball because my experiences are limited and I personally knew most of them first so I feel there was an experience provided different than most might receive. (both good and bad)

But as far as computer gaming goes I play a lot of MW2 on the Xbox with my wife and a number of other women. There are a lot more women playing than you might think, however a lot of them stay off the mic because or all the "attention" they receive once people figure out it's a woman and not a 12yr old boy. I can't even begin to count the number of times she has been propositioned, (for marriage, or otherwise) belittled, or sent inappropriate messages. I'm sure in "real life" the attention is a little less do to having to do it in person, but it doesn't change how uncomfortable a women feels in the middle of a "sausage party".
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:49 PM #14
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some people dont like to compete. It's their own problemo tho if that keeps them from playing a recreational game.

I dont keep tabs cause customers are customers, however if I had to estimate I'd say women make up 30-40% of all my rental customers. Thats pretty fair female representation. It is very common for me to get a group of all female customers. (birthday parties, team windups, stagettes even!)
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:59 PM #15
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I dont keep tabs cause customers are customers, however if I had to estimate I'd say women make up 30-40% of all my rental customers. Thats pretty fair female representation. It is very common for me to get a group of all female customers. (birthday parties, team windups, stagettes even!)
I'd say that's a pretty phenomenal percentage. Is there anything in particular you feel you do to have such a high percentage of female customers?


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Old 07-07-2010, 04:38 PM #16
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I think Chris is on the right track although I would ammend the "fear of loss" to "fear of confrontation". In my own experience I think a lot of females had fun when playing in all female groups......but when you mix them with the guys they can get a little intimidated. You see the same trend in fitness facilities. There aren't any all male gyms that I know of. Plenty of all female gyms.....again because the women feel intimidated or indeed harassed(which is intimidating).

Naturally speaking males are more proned to aggressive behaviour so it only makes sense in my mind. If you want more women to play........stop going hard on them. Ease them in slowly. Comments like "Man I'm so going to shoot your ***", while meant to be funny, still strike a chord in a lot of women. In general they don't want that type of confrontation.

An interesting tidbit.......on Mythbusters last night they were testing the myth that woman are actually more tolerant to pain than men. Myth was confirmed! Take that for what it's worth.
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:56 PM #17
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........on Mythbusters last night they were testing the myth that woman are actually more tolerant to pain than men. Myth was confirmed! Take that for what it's worth.
How many women do you know with more than 1 child?

How many men do you know what have got their "frank & beans" caught in a zipper more than once??


I'm just sayin'
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:21 PM #18
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Here's what your missing too. I would say the FAR majority of women that play are because of their man, or guys they know. Almost no women would go to play just to play. Whereas guys go, because they want to go play, and don't really care who is coming or not. Just because you may see women out there playing, doesnt mean they would choose to play on their own.
Paintball isn't appealing to women for many reasons. The simple answer is it's a man's sport. Catering to women players is a costly, unpredictable road to go down. Stick with what you know....male players.
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:54 PM #19
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As someone who has played MMOs on both PVP and normal servers, I personally found the same amount of females on each, at least in the guilds I belonged to. Obviously I wasn't exposed to everyone who played on those servers, but there certainly wasn't a lack of women on the PVP or PK type servers.

Just my observation.

Also, we have parties of just females who play at our field (birthday, corporate, whatever) as well as mixed groups. It always perplexes me, but it happens. And quite regularly.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:25 PM #20
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How many women do you know with more than 1 child?

How many men do you know what have got their "frank & beans" caught in a zipper more than once??


I'm just sayin'
i can gaurantee birth is a much longer lasting pain then getting a penis caught in the zipper
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:41 PM #21
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i can gaurantee birth is a much longer lasting pain then getting a penis caught in the zipper
You can? You've experienced both?
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