Ubisoft director Scott Phillips was “surprised” to find out that when he looked at the game data for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey that two thirds of players prefer playing with Alexios over Kassandra.
Destructoid reports that in the latest Game Informer Magazine, Ubisoft director Scott Phillips actually revealed that two thirds of players are using Alexios compared to one third choosing Kassandra.
According to Phillips, those live numbers shocked him because during play tests the usage between the characters was 50/50. However, he did note that while it was roughly 50/50 there would normally be “a little bit more Kassandra.”
What is also surprising is that the Kassandra character was promoted heavily in Ubisoft’s marketing for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey compared to Alexios.
But why does this shock Scott Phillips? It seems that he bought into the idea that male and female gamers are built alike in their gaming habits.
It wasn’t long ago that a narrative was pushed that females made up half of all video gamers. News outlets such as The Guardian claimed that 52% of gamers are women. And they made it clear that most of the women gamers were playing what many consider non-traditional games. They are playing games on their smartphones like Words With Friends, Candy Crush, and other puzzle and trivia games. They aren’t playing Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, or Red Dead Redemption II like their male counterparts. That’s not to say women don’t play those games or men don’t play puzzle and trivia games. It’s simply stating their is a sharp divide in who makes up the majority of players for the big AAA releases like God of War and The Witcher III.
If you look at data from the Quantic Foundry, you will see that women who play video games aren’t the normal gamer and aren’t typically playing games like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. They play puzzle games, interactive drama, and atmospheric exploration games. The nearest traditional gaming genre is an MMO like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. The Quantic Foundry’s data reveals just below 40% of female gamers surveyed played the genre. That number declines significantly when you look at Western RPGs which shows 26% of women surveyed play games in that genre. Survival roguelike games which Assassin’s Creed used to be known for only sees 25% of women in the survey data revealing they play that genre.
The data paints a clear picture that men and women have differing gaming habits.
I think most of us know at least one lady who is in the squad, but if we look back and examine the evidence, she was, in fact, an outlier, not the norm especially in the huge AAA blockbusters like Halo. I’m happy about those outliers because they made old Halo and Call of Duty sessions fun.
Now, Ubisoft’s data isn’t specifically about who is playing their games, it’s about the characters they are choosing to play. Based on the limited data that is available, it’s safe to say that male players might not be interested in playing a female heroine when given a chance. It’s more than likely they’d play a male character just like them.
But maybe more importantly, this “surprise” for Ubisoft calls into question who they are getting to play test their games. It’s quite possible whoever is play testing their games might not be your average gamer.
One thing is clear is this appears to be another case where a massive game company appears to be completely out of touch with their actual fan base especially when they are using the word “surprised” when finding out most of their players, who are more than likely male, enjoy playing a male character over a female character.
What do you think? Are you shocked that Scott Phillips was surprised by the live usage data in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey? Let me know in the comments below!