She’s got (video) game

Sep 19, 2014

More women in the U.K. are playing video games than men and, pretty soon, it appears, the same will be true in the U.S. That is the conclusion of studies by both the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Entertainment Software Association.

According to the IAB, women now represent 52 percent of video gamers in the U.K, up from 49 percent in 2011. Another stereotype buster is that there are more people over 44 (27 percent) playing video games than teens and younger kids (22 percent).

IAB pointed to the internet and growing ownership of mobile devices as reasons why more females are playing video games.

"They’ve brought down the barriers to entry, making gaming far more accessible and opened it up to a whole new audience," Steve Chester, director of data and Industry programmes at IAB, told The Guardian. "In the past you needed to go out and buy an expensive console and the discs on top to get a decent experience, now you can just download a free app."

The most popular types of games among women are puzzles such as Candy Crush Saga. Men, on the other hand, prefer shooters, according to IAB.

Closer to home, EAS’s findings do away with the idea that video games are the sole domain of teenage males. Women 18 or older, according to EAS, represent a greater percentage (36 percent) of total gamers than boys 18 and younger (17 percent). All told, 59 percent of all Americans play video games and 48 percent of all gamers are female.

How long do you think it will be before females replace males as a majority of video gamers in the U.S.? What are the implications of the research done by the IAB and EAS for retailers and brands?

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7 Comments on "She’s got (video) game"

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Chris Petersen, PhD
7 years 7 months ago

No surprises here … the trend in gaming is moving from specific gaming consoles to mobile devices. Games on mobile phones are more easily accessible without the requirement of additional expensive hardware.

The trend toward mobile gaming has major implications for retailers like EB Games/Gamestop which have been heavily focused on console gaming. It could also be a threat to the gaming business for retailers like Best Buy who have relied heavily on console sales around holidays.

A major effort of Microsoft (Xbox) has been to make gaming a connected experience. Connected to other players through Xbox Live, and the ability to play traditional games on mobile devices.

In gaming, like everything else sold in retail, the consumers will vote as to what experience they prefer, where and when.

Tom Redd
7 years 7 months ago
The game industry has two levels—intense multi-player shooter/violent and social multi-player. Females could easily outnumber males in the social game space, but the intense multi-player/violent games seem to be in the male space. These are the hardcore addicts that down the road will have to be go through some form of gaming detox. Their lives are all about the game. It impacts their careers, social lives and more. I do wish I had enforced stronger gaming rules in our home back in the days when gaming took off. I am stuck with one son who has learned to partially detox himself from gaming, but he lost years in his life when games controlled him. Parents of today—closely control the amount of time your kids game. When they are in a “I must game” mode they will go to the extremes to get on their consoles or their PCs. Worse comes to worse, block the IP addresses to these devices. Takes them a while to figure out why they cannot get online, or else steal their… Read more »
Joan Treistman
7 years 7 months ago

I watch people on the bus and subway absorbed in their mobile devices. Indeed mobile devices have opened the world of games to many who would otherwise not play. And I suppose that has encouraged women to partake. Reading between the lines it seems (no surprise) that the types of games which appeal to women are distinctive in format and goals. And more of these games are becoming available. So it’s not a matter of women becoming gamers. It’s that games and devices are now more in line with how women want to play.

For retailers, the competition seems to be the app. I don’t know how they can combat the ease and convenience of “do-it-yourself, anywhere you want.”

Liz Crawford
7 years 7 months ago

To me the question isn’t when women will surpass men in terms of numbers of gamers, but the implications for other categories—and importantly, retail.

Regular game play trains consumers to interact with commercial platforms in a particular way. Their expectations pivot around small, speedy decision-making, frequent acknowledgements and rewards, score-keeping and social graph interaction. These are becoming the new tenets of loyalty program-building for retailers and brands.

Ralph Jacobson
7 years 7 months ago

I think retailer and CPG brands need to look at this video game “channel” as part of their omni-channel strategy. Properly identifying who is playing these games is a great start, as these studies have shown. Beyond that, targeting these people with appropriate offers is the next step to driving a huge opportunity for profitable growth via this somewhat new channel.

Sam Peters
Sam Peters
7 years 7 months ago

The fifth paragraph says it all. Females are playing smartphone puzzle games, while males are playing console/PC first-person shooters. A successful marketing plan needs to appreciate the difference.

Gajendra Ratnavel
7 years 7 months ago

Mobile devices have made gaming very attractive and casual. Games in the past decade used to be difficult, time consuming and required a bit more hand/eye coordination and timing. It’s a different environment now where Candy Crush can help bridge the 30 minute delay at the dentist.

What is really amazing about this is the idea of “gamification.” I’ve seen this word thrown around a lot lately but this report adds more reasons why retailers should look to create new, innovative and fun ways to “gamify” their retail environment and loyalty programs.


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