Martha Stewart's New Growth Recipe: Video Games for Women

Last Updated Apr 21, 2010 12:28 PM EDT

The video game industry, which grew another six percent last month to $1.52 billion, seem a World of Warcraft away from Martha Stewart's domiciled existence. But coming to your console soon will be a new set of interactive games based on the Domestic Diva's cooking, cleaning, and crafts.

Stewart hopes to jolt the video game market by catering to chronically overlooked female players, who comprise 40 percent of video game aficionados and yet are relegated to gender-biased play.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has granted Majesco Entertainment exclusive rights to publish branded video games. The publisher has created the rival Cooking Mama, Gardening Mama and Crafting Mama series for families and non-traditional game players.

The cunning Martha is aiming at the growing female social gaming audience that she figures has to get out of the kitchen sometime. Stewart already has hinted on her website that some of the games also could be geared to children.

I wouldn't be surprised if within a few years, Stewart has built a vibrant new video games segment that integrates learning, fun and celebrity -- the same as her television programs and magazines. Some are already labling it Stewart "sensibility," but it surely will need to be high on style to successfully compete along side dominant software such as God of War III and Final Fantasy XIII for Sony's PS3, Microsoft Xbox 360's Battlefield Bad Company and Nintendo's Pokemon.

But titles don't tell all. Although Nielsen reported last year that more than 400,000 women are World of Warcraft loyalists, choices for the largest contingent of female players age 25-plus are generally limited to Solitaire on the one hand or clearly sexist -- or worse -- fare on the other. One Japanese video game , RapeLay, is rightfully under fire for allowing players to assault and rape women.

Martha is doing more than entering a new media field. She is invading male turf. Just as she has done before, she is filling a gaping marketplace void.

Bloggers and media pundits are having a field day with cracks about the Martha Stewart jail bake-off games and fun with convicted felons. But Martha could have the last laugh is demonstrates she can take it as well as dish it out. And that would be "a good thing!"

<SOURCEURL>Slate</a>

  • Diane Mermigas

    Diane Mermigas has been a contributing editor and columnist at Mediapost, The Hollywood Reporter and Crain Communications as well as writing for such sites as Seeking Alpha, TrueSlant and BNET. In addition to speaking and television appearances, Diane consults with companies in digital transition, and is completing a book on the future of media.