Apr

27

Go Girl! The Rise of the Female Social Gamer…

Mark Stephens

There was more recent evidence that it’s truly a lady’s world when it comes to social gaming. Any developers out there working on new titles would do well to bear in mind that if you’re not catering for the females, you could be losing a big chunk of your potential audience….

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Fruit Ninjas or Fruit Ninjettes?

Games like Words With friends, Farmville, Draw Something and Candy Crush have long been favourites with the ladies.

A recent Australian report looked at downloads of the game Fruit Ninja by Australian developer Halfbrick. Of 500 million downloads, more than half are by females, with the figure growing every month.

In fact the Australian Interactive Games and Entertainment Association 2012 report found that 47 per cent of gamers were women.

One of the main reasons for this, according to Halfbrick chief marketing officer Phil Larsen is this:

“Not everyone has a lot of time for games. Mums don’t have a lot of time. Now that these devices and platforms are able to accommodate that, that’s exploded and everyone has seen that games are such a huge industry now.”

Casual social games therefore fit into the lifestyle of busy mums. They are able to pick them up and put them down again at short notice, resume where they left off and not make huge time commitments that effectively trap them for long periods. This flexibility is key to the success of many games.

Another factor is that the games have become an integrated part of social networks, with a whole array of social features built in and accessible from a single log in. Rather than a separate activity from networking, games are a part of the social online experience with groups of mums and female friends all getting in on the act.

Playing games is also a way for parents to share the online experience with their children. Most modern families have at least one or two social game-ready devices in the home: tablets, smartphones, or computers. This enables families to play games together, teach each other and run challenges against one another: it’s all part of the fun!

Teenagers Run Out of Town by Mums with iPads

Once the darling of the game developers, teenage boys and twenty-something male gamers have been partly run out of town by mums armed with nothing more than their iPads!

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The Entertainment Software Association’s latest survey outlines the Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. Amongst its recent findings are that women aged 18 or older represent a larger portion (36%) of the video game playing population than teenage boys (17%).

Coinciding with this dramatic change in appeal of the gaming industry (and perhaps the main reason for it) is the growing dominance of casual and social game play on mobile devices, which is now the most popular gaming genre of all.

Although it is a US-based survey the trends are relevant to all of us. Some of the other interesting highlights of the survey include:

  • The number of female gamers over 50 has increased by 32% since 2012
  • 44% of gamers play on smartphones, while 33% play on wireless devices
  • 59% of Americans (more than 181 million) play video games
  • The average player is 31 years old
  • 39% of all gamers are 36 or older
  • The average age of the adult game purchaser is 35, and men and women bought games in equal amounts

But perhaps the biggest illustration of the changing role (not to mention perception) of games is evident in the following two snippets:

56% of parents said video games were a positive part of their child’s life………
68% of families with children under 18 believe the games provide mental stimulation or education and more than half said games help them spend time together

So, good news all round! All those times over the years when you sacrificed social interaction for a bit of game time wasn’t just wasted time or misspent youth. It was mental stimulation and education! Mums and girlfriends understand that now….