- Frag Dolls
The Frag Dolls are a group of
girl gamers recruited and employed by Ubisoftwith the aim of promoting women in gaming as well as Ubisoft's games. The Frag Dolls are all avid gamers. The term 'Frag Dolls' refers to three different teams: the original American Frag Dolls, the UK Fragdolls and the newest team in Francein 2005.
American Frag Dolls
Originally recruited by an advertisement on
craigslist[http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2004Jun/bga20040610025511.htm] in 2004, the original American lineup consists of seven Frag Dolls (known by their gamer tags): Brookelyn, Eekers, Jinx, Katscratch, Rhoulette, Seppuku and Valkyrie. Rhoulette, a full-time Ubisoft employee, helped initiate the group [http://www.fragdolls.com/us/post.php?id=84] . Eekers, one of the original seven Frag Dolls, left the group in August 2005; Katscratch, another original team member, left in May 2006. In May 2006 two new Frag Dolls, Calyber and Psyche, were recruited as part of an online reality show produced by GameTrailers with website co-host Amanda MacKay following the action.
The American Dolls have attracted a lot of media attention, primarily because they are female gamers; in gaming, women players are seen as rare. Not all the media attention is positive. In the past, the Frag Dolls have come under fire for their collective appearance, with claims that the team members are models or booth babes rather than legitimate gamers. The team cites tournament participation and appearances at women's interest conferences as evidence of their intent.
The Frag Dolls fulfill many functions for Ubisoft, from attending industry events to playing competitively, both online and offline. Leveraging their media presence, the team members have acted as ambassadors of competitive gaming, touring with the Major League Gaming console professional circuit in the 2005 season as well as the 2007 season. In December 2006, they placed first in the Rainbow Six: Vegas tournament at CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League), making them the first all female team to win a pro circuit tournament.
Much of their press has indicated that promoting professional gaming isn't their only goal. The Frag Dolls mission is to encourage more women to play video games, and to prove that women can enjoy the same games as men. As well, the team has been known to actively promote games published by
Ubisoftboth during interviews and events.
Katscratch, Valkyrie and Rhoulette spoke at the
Women's Gaming Conferencein Austin, TX (October 2005) about their role as Frag Dolls and how they are attempting to reshape the image of female gamers and raise industry awareness of the female market. In February 2006 the Frag Dolls attended the Women in Games International [http://www.womeningamesinternational.org] conference in San Francisco, CA, speaking on panels and roundtable entitled "Women Who Play." They repeated the appearance at the Women in Games International conference in Dallas, TX (April 2006).
During Quakecon 2007, the Frag Dolls announced an open casting call looking for new members. Applicants were also able to apply online through August 5th, 2007. The 8 finalists were flown into Seattle, WA for the Penny Arcade Expo and after much deliberation over 4 days, two new members of the team were chosen - Pyra and Mischief.
UK Frag Dolls
After the success of the American Frag Dolls, Ubisoft ran a similar recruitment drive in the UK [http://www.fragdolls.co.uk] . Five Frag Dolls were selected: Jam, Kitt, Sarin, Voodoo and Lucky. Lucky left the group shortly after formation due to an increased University workload. It is unknown whether Ubisoft will replace Lucky as she was employed as the "newbie gamer" of the group and her role was mostly to bridge the gap between hardcore gamers and "noobs"; An experiment that had not been attempted in the American lineup and is probably superfluous to the concept of the Frag Dolls ideology. Lucky and the UK Frag Dolls had not been established enough at this juncture for the loss to have any real relevance or impact on either the group or the group's fan base. In July of 2006 a second Frag Doll, Voodoo, left the team to form a rival group with another female gamer. Ubisoft has made no official comment on Voodoo's departure, but has announced they intend to recruit two new members to the team.
It appears that the heavy focus on competitive gaming has been dropped with the UK team. The group places heavy focus on showing everyone that games can be fun, rather than acting as ambassadors for professional gaming, as the original American team has been shown to do in the past. This may be due to a difference in culture between the US and UK or due to limitations of the team's small size.
As of June 30th Frag Doll uk was dissolved
French Frag Dolls
As a French company, the third territory that Ubisoft have chosen for the Frag Dolls initiative is France. The French Frag Dolls have been announced and introduced as Arwen, Katana, L!lie, Meiko, and Mya. After 3 months, L!lie left the team, citing school studies and her desire to focus specifically on Counter-Strike.
In December 2007, Arwen announced in a blog entry on Myspace that the group was disbanded by Ubisoft for reasons unknown.
Sex in advertising
* [http://www.fragdolls.com/us/ American Frag Dolls]
* [http://www.fragdolls.com/uk/ UK Frag Dolls]
* [http://www.fragdolls.com/fr/ French Frag Dolls]
* [http://www.myspace.com/fragdolls Frag Dolls US Myspace]
* [http://www.myspace.com/fragdollsuk Frag Dolls UK Myspace]
* [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/58/14 The Escapist: "Frag Doll on Frag Dolls"]
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