An Argument Against Booth Babes

An Argument Against Booth Babes

You don’t see them as much at E3 these days, but events like the Tokyo Game Show or Germany’s GamesCom are full of young women (and sometimes men!) wearing very little clothing while trying to sell you video games.

It may excite young male readers/visitors, but for the most part, it’s an awkward and occasionally uncomfortable practice. One that TidBITS writer Glenn Fleishman approaches well, in a piece that argues it reflects poorly on the companies resorting to the tactic, not the show or those lured by a bit of flesh.

My complaint isn’t that attractive people are trying to get me to pay attention to their products. Rather, my point is that companies that rely on models whose various assets are stress-testing spandex or exposed to air are trying so hard that they fail. Not all attention is good, since it highlights to women attending the show that these products are not for them, as well as driving off men who find being so blatantly manipulated distasteful.

It’s the last part that rings true for me. If I see a game or keyboard or headset or whatever at a show and it’s being hawked by a young lady in a jumpsuit, I’m inclined to disregard said product. Why? Because if the product was any good, it could sell itself, sell me on what it does or at least how it looks, not how the person selling it looks.

Booth Babes: iCandy or iScream? [TidBITS, via Boing Boing]


  • I’m not sure here.

    Is it discrimination or, at least, closed mindedness to say that skimpily clad women appeal only to young male gamers?

    Do older male gamers suddenly not like them?

    What about female gamers? Can they not be titillated by women?

    Why “must” women be pushed away by them?

    I dunno.

    Just seems out of place next to the general articles discussing equality and appropriate language and gender/sexuality awareness.

    • I can imagine some women would be pushed away from them because they feel like they could never live up to a certain physical ideal, and perhaps it makes them uncomfortable because they might feel inferior due to not being a skinny white chick with a boob job and long shiny hair. And as a girl who was fat and is now skinny I can tell you, you do totally get treated better if you’re more conventionally attractive, so maybe that’s why girls might find it off-putting. it can grate on you when you’re constantly being told by the media that your entire worth is based on how hot you are. It’s getting that way for guys as well.

      But in all honesty I reckon if people want to see some skin, go to a strip-club. Or a nudist beach, if you’re too broke, hahaha. 😛

      • Unfortunately from what I heard nudists beaches majority wise is full of fat and/or old people. I’m also guessing probably certifiable as well so I’ll pass.

      • Yet, a lot of young women idiolize other young women who are attractive and show skin. Go figurer.

        “you do totally get treated better if you’re more conventionally attractive” happens with guys too.

        There are people out there who will turn to goo in attractive persons hands, thus, getting a sale or good impression even though it has nothing to do with the game.

  • I think a better idea for booth babes (and dudes!) would be to have people in high quality cosplay as characters from the game being sold. And like what has been done with Crystal Graziano and the chick playing Lilith in borderlands 2, they could hire cosplayers by holding competitions with being the mascot as a prize – it would be great for marketing AND for the cosplayer, because they would get the attention.
    And to back up this statement I’ve seen girls cosplaying Bayonetta who have done a MUCH better job than the costume shown in the image above.

  • Aren’t a lot of booth babes based on actual game characters, like Bayonetta above?

    Booth babes reflect the actual in-game characters. You’d have to change them first.

  • I’m one of those people that finds having to use booth babes as a distasteful act. I kinda ask myself “Why do we need this?” and then I realise that its probably just marketing playing on the Virgin Video Gamer cliche or something of the like.

    I mean it’s a shame that I saw crowds at a convention gathering around the cosplaying models wearing basically nothing – when I was expecting there to be some sort of amazing video game trailer or demo going on. It kinda made me ask myself what I was there for again, or what others were there for anyway. People will always go “oh dont be like that you just dont understand what they’re there for” or some retarded counter argument.
    (I’ve also met better cosplayers of Bayonetta, derp. :P)

  • Hilarious that they actually use males to depict female characters, sort of reminds me of that ‘You gotta Squeeze every penny’ Simpsons Episode.

    “See those beautiful Women? They use to be men.”

  • We need Booth Dudes. Muscled hunks in tight spandex cosplay of Snake and Ganondorf pelvic thrusting advertising at people passing by. I would go to that.

  • Did God just show up and write a Kotaku article? I’ve been saying this for YEARS. At last!! The News agrees!!! YEAH!!

  • It was never something I was interested in (I have the internet after all, I can look at photos of attractive ladies whenever I want) but the whole booth babe thing only started to really piss me off when the coverage of them was on par with the coverage of the games they were advertising. It wasn’t uncommon a few years back to have the booth babe gallery as the top story on gaming websites and then maybe further down the page there was some information about the games themselves

  • Tits and asses (and muscles) sell, stop being so uber-moral my fellow gamers. I mean seeing an ice hockey arena filled with 20,000 computers at Dreamhack gave me a raging boner but seriously, I would not use the sweat fuelled gathering of people of all ages as my wallpaper ^^

  • I’m sure that there’d be fewer complaints from the fairer sex if there were “Booth Bros” in the form of Nathan Drake/Solid Snake/Commander Shepard wearing clothing designed to accentuate their rippling muscles and washboard abs.

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