Sony Hopes The Puppies Will Help
On the paws of successful titles like Nintendogs and Sims2 Pets, it's become clear: pets in video games attract women. Nintendo credited its game for attracting female market share, and Sims2 Pets sold over 3 million units in three months (which is a good number for a video game, by the way).
The New York Times reported this week that Sony Online Entertainment, in trying to diversify the demographic profile of its 85% male customer base, has added puppies to its new release, Free Realms.
Marketed toward girls, the game is free but relies on paid registration and microtransactions like buying virtual pets. Puppies, that is. Apparently the male design team wanted pets with fighting capabilities until someone came to their senses ("Sony's Other Games Division Makes Push in New Direction," by Seth Schiesel, New York Times, June 11, 2007).