On the popularity of ROs and their gender

One thing I’ve noticed while browsing the Steam achievement statistics of CoGs and HGs is that female ROs are generally more popular than male ROs.

Some games with fixed-gender ROs provides achievement based on the characters you romanced, which gives a rough estimate of the popularity of the characters as ROs. Here’s a summary of the most popular male and female COs and the percentage of players who romanced them respectively in different games. Note that none of these games have fixed non-binary characters.

Breach: the Archangel Job

Most popular female RO: Avelyne/Mouse (27.6%)
Most popular male RO: Gabriel (15.5%)

A certain character, Mouse, can be chosen to be either male or female, and f!Mouse is romanced almost thrice as often as m!Mouse (27.6% vs 10.8%).

Choice of Magics *

Most popular female RO: Tal (30.4%)
Most popular male RO: Cos (8.9%)

*I ignored Vance/Vera because their gender is flippable

Jolly Good: Cales and Ale

This is a weird case because the achievement is not directly linked to romance, but to what I understand as an optional romantic encounter. Two characters, Tabby and Gilberto, have fixed gender, and the romantic encounter of Tabby (9.5%) is done quite more often than of Gilberto (6.9%)

Keeper of the Day and Night

Most popular female RO: Seraphina (24.2%)
Most popular male RO: Leon (17.5%)

*Note that the character routes in this game can be pursued either romantically or platonically.

With this admittedly small database, it appears that, while the extent varies, female ROs are universally more popular than male ones. I thought that CoGs/HGs will attract more female and LGBT+ players, but it seems that straight males are still the largest subdivision of the player base, at least on Steam. Are the demographics different on this forum or on other platforms? Perhaps, and I’d like to know what you think about it.

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This seems like it would be incredibly useless to make any kind of accurate assumptions of off, mostly because it doesn’t seem to take into account what the main characters were. And last I checked, it is possible for people other than straight males to be attracted to women.
Secondly, this doesn’t take into account all romantic options, only the most popular ones.
And considering how many other ROs this throws out (Especially when most popular can mean a number as low as 22%) imagine how many people and ROs are being ignored merely because they are not the most popular ones.
(And this doesn’t even take into account that this was done with only 5 games, on the account that only they probably provide such statistics.).

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That is not an accurate explanation, I am a cis straight girl, and I romance all spectrum based on the character I am role-playing with and the character I like the most regardless of the genre.
The fact I am a cis straight girl doesn’t mean my characters have to be the same. That is the beauty of these games put on their shoes.

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Your points are valid. This is not intended to be a rigorous proof. I’m just trying to point out a trend that I personally find interesting, and I want to hear other people’s take on it.

Perhaps a better metric would be a sum of the romance achievement rate of all female ROs vs male ROs. While this will overcount the amount of players who romanced multiple characters in multiple playthroughs, this still gives a good sense of how popular female romance routes are as a whole compared to male romance routes:

Breach: the Archangel job
Females: 65.7%
Males: 38.8%

Choice of Magic
Females: 49.1%
Males: 14.7%

*again, the gender-flippable Vance/Vera is excluded

Jolly Good; Cakes and Ale has only two fixed-gender characters, so there’s no total statistics.

Keeper of the Day and Night
Females: 76.4%
Males: 61.4%

Good points. It’s rather hasty for me to conclude that just because female ROs are more popular means that most players are straight males. Some people not romantically attracted to a certain gender can still play through a certain romance route and enjoy it. But this raises another interesting question: why does female routes seem to have more appeal overall?

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This is an interesting thought.

And something to certainly chew on, at that.

Is there a correlation between the genders of ROs and the people playing the game/reading the story? Which ROs are liked the most? Why are they so popular? This dives, I believe, right into character creation.

And how some characters seem to come to life for some people.

And, yes, all the ones you did reference do seem enjoy the female ROs more, I’m not sure if using only five stories as a grounds for this would be enough to establish a link between readers and the characters they like the most.

Like Mara pointed out, some readers may adapt who they go after debating on the character they play. And it would also be worth taking a look into what gender the player is playing as and the character they go after – as well as that ROs personality and their part in the story.

Def. food for thought, though. Something I’ll be looking closer at, in the future.

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Generally, in my case, because they are better written than cis straight males. Sadly males are usually portrayed more plane and with a fixed cocky personality. They have to be in charge as well.

The Woman fixed characters are far more varied and face more rich circumstances (usually)
EDIt But the data are enjoyable, but not enough to be an accurate representation of the statistics.

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Lesbian/bi/pan women and nonbinary people are LGBT+ too. As are bi/pan men. They probably romanced some of those female ROs.

My impressions (because that’s all they are) off of this forum and tumblr are that male ROs are more popular, so it might even-out across all platforms. Or, at least, the fans of male ROs are more likely to engage in discussions?

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Gods above, this is so true.

Females, in fiction, to be more fluid in their emotions while men tend to be stuck with a more rigid structure that makes them less…real to me. It’d be nice to see the guys being able to shift, to give and take, in their own romance subplots (or major plot, depending on the story).

Some more variations to one male NPC would be nice.

I wonder if that’s how they’re written because of how society, as a whole, tries to portray men overall? The tired, long-lasting “strong man” thing were its all confidence and showing little to no uncertainty or weakness?

I’ve grown up around those guys. Don’t want to read about them (unless there’s one good plot behind WHY they’re like that other than succumbing to society’s “norms”(

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The problem I see with this is that its not proof at all. If this were for those specific games only, then it would be more accurate, yet still wrong because of the previously mentioned points.
You can’t say its a trend if you have no base to compare it with. It shows only that the female ROs are more popular overall in these specific games. Which can be for a number of factors that have already been mentioned. Due to this, I don’t see a reason how you could make in kind of actual assumptions.
The games did not come out at a similar time frame, they are not similar in genre or more importantly, quality and characters (and their amount, which can also change, if for example one game has 5 ROs while the other 7 or 8, no matter the gender).

The only thing that ties them together is steam (which only limits the already limited observation group even more), that they come from the same publisher and that they provide stats.
You have parts to make proper statistics, but to make a comparison, this mostly just seems like completing 20% of a puzzle and assuming what the picture is.

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I think there is needed more data here before you can come with a conclusion on this

I know Bioware collect statistics about in game decisions (this is something you can decide if you want to share the data or not)
but i have rarely seen that they have shared the stastistics officialy. other than stastistic about how many choose paragon or renegade in mass effect games. not that i have looked to much in to it.

For me who dont make games i dont find those stastistic very usefull.

just looking at achievements on steam is not very representative.

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This is what I was thinking too. Steam is more likely to be skewed towards a straight male demographic compared to the other platforms that COG publishes on, so I don’t think the stats in the original post necessarily reflects the overall COG playerbase. Also I don’t think Steam is the most popular platform for COG games either?

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This is my thinking. It might say something about the users on that platform, but not the overall userbase.

I don’t know where CoG sells most of its games, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was on mobile: Android/iOS devices (as opposed to Steam).

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Perhaps the act of genderizing a character makes an author consciously or unconsciously assign gender-fitting characteristics to them? It won’t be that surprising.

That’s what I’m here for: trying to get the other 80% of the puzzle through other’s feedback :grinning:

It won’t be surprising — I personally first heard of CoG on mobile devices as well. It’d be nice if we can view the achievement statistics on the apps as well, but I don’t know if the developers actually collect the statistics, let alone are willing to release them.

I agree with the folks that say it’s a mix between where you see the stats (steam) (cause i think if you’d dare to dive into the tag for a game on tumblr… you’d get different results judging by fanart etc) and how characters are written.

Gaming communities (as opposed to games in general) still tend to be male dominated due to various factors that have been illuminated on better by people a lot smarter than me, but a basic idea is that most women will play a game and not touch the community, believing it to be (rightfully in most cases) toxic or unwelcoming. The COG community in general has a greater parity between men and women compared to most gaming communities I’ve seen, but that’s not saying much considering how abysmal some communities get. Selection bias is also a thing – how many people actually reported which ROs they romanced?

That said: a lot of people (self included) will end up romancing a character in a game not because they’re romantically attracted to them, but because they’re an interesting character, and often the only way to see more of that character is to pursue a romance with them. And a lot of the most interesting characters in COG and HG games happen to be women.

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I agree with this

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Get the other 80% with the help of people that have neither the stats, knowledge or anything else needed to actually complete them, but can only speculate, with even less information than what you have?
That doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for accuracy.

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While I agree with the others that it is a small sample size, at the same time it’s an intriguing idea that I’ve not seen a lot of people consider. Seems like that info could be of particular use to Heart’s Choice authors.

Another factor to consider is that you’re gathering your data from steam. I have a steam account, but I buy my CoG from the CoG store. Perhaps the demographics of steam are playing a part here.

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First off, when make this kind of stastic you can´t just ignore the genderflippable character - escepicially not if they are popular. Because it may very well be that they are drawing people away from the genderstatic ones - making the sample dodgy at best.

The second is that the sample is way too small to draw conclusions.

The third one being that you have not taken into account how many of these sample are for people with more than one RO-achievement and what that mean for the sample.

While we can certainly make a guess based on our perception it is just that: A guess. And it is more likely to based on what we think we know and not the actual data.

Statistic are hard, people.

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