Does sex sell? Gender representation, sexualization, and violence on video game covers and their impact on sales


Video Games
Cue Utilization Theory
Cover Design

How to Cite

Does sex sell? Gender representation, sexualization, and violence on video game covers and their impact on sales. (2024). Journal of Business Strategies, 41(1), 27-42.


This study examines the cover design of 1,113 video games. Based on cue utilization theory, it is argued that video game covers represent important product cues that should affect sales as consumers evaluate them before purchasing. Analysis of the data shows that the depiction of male and female characters along with the illustration of violence on the covers has no statistical impact on sales. However, sexualized depictions are associated with a negative sales impact in key genres and market segments when controlling for publication year, publisher and platform type. But there is evidence that the use of sexualized images as a sales strategy works in less significant market segments such as puzzles, miscellaneous, simulation, and strategy games. The results of the study therefore indicate that the advertising strategy with sexualized covers is not effective in all segments of the video game market. The implications of this result are discussed in detail.



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