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lindagray

Marketing to LGBT consumers

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The belief that young, white, heterosexual males were the force driving the industry forward was strongly challenged by the record-breaking success of The Sims. Video game developer Maxis had resisted Will Wright's goal of creating the title on the grounds that "girls don't play video games." The title was seen as unappealing to young heterosexual males. In the 1990s, the industry began to make some effort to market games to women by creating software titles with strong, independent female characters, such as those in Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. Some video game companies are now moving to further expand their marketing base to include the perceived market of affluent homosexual young men by including LGBT characters and supporting LGBT rights. BioWare included female same-sex scenes in Mass Effect, female same-sex relationships in Mass Effect 2 and same-sex relationships for either gender in Mass Effect 3, and allowed sexual interaction between any gender groups in Dragon Age: Origins. In Dragon Age II, this was taken even further by allowing all romance-able party members to be romanced by either gender (with the exception of a particular DLC-only companion), as opposed to the first game's requirement of choosing between two bisexual rogues.

Even some games that are considered to appeal mainly to the non-traditional demographic continue to censor homosexuality. For instance, despite the tremendous success of The Sims, even the most recent version of the franchise suppresses homosexual identity. Autonomous romantic interactions exist only for heterosexual characters by default. In The Sims 3, players must manually initiate multiple same-sex romantic interactions before a character will be "converted" to homosexuality and begin to engage in such interactions autonomously. The town will then be marked gay-friendly, unlocking the autonomy for other characters. If a player does not force at least one character to engage in same-sex advances several times, the player's town will have no visible homosexuality.

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