While women were once seen as the weaker sex when it came to gaming, the tables are beginning to turn in a dramatic fashion. According to recent research, some 52% of gamers are now women, ensuring a far stronger female demographic across the board. Thanks to games such as free puzzles and trivia games, women are leading the market over men. Meanwhile, the age of the average gamer has also increased to 35 years for men and 44 years for women.
It’s vital that games developers and retailers understand the similarities and differences between male and female gamers. Being able to interpret such knowledge enables the industry to keep abreast of the latest trends, and appeal to all demographics successfully. While there’s nothing to say that men and women can’t enjoy the same kinds of online games, researchers have noticed certain trends emerging among the two genders. Of course, there will always be gamers who subvert these trends, but for the most part, it’s possible to see how the gaming behaviours of men and women is shaping the video and online gaming industries.
The main differences between the gaming habits of men and women include:
The gaming platforms that they access
Recent research indicates that more men enjoy PC and console games than women, and these statistics certainly fit with the stereotype of a gamer. However, when it comes to the most popular gaming platform, mobile gaming, the genders are evenly matched in terms of the time that they spend accessing content. Men may choose to play on a console or PC more often than their female counterparts, but women are just as keen on picking up their phones or tablet devices and entertaining themselves with a game.
The types of games that they play
There’s a tendency to assume that women prefer social, roleplaying, edutainment and puzzle games, while men would rather enjoy an action adventure, strategy or sports game. While this is certainly true for many players, women are just as happy to play the top titles for each platform, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, as men. One thing that individual researchers agree on, though, is that women are far more drawn to online casino and arcade games than men. Female players are more likely to play online slots and bingo in particular, and they are also more likely to investigate each new online casino and the social side of casino gaming than men, driving the market in a completely new direction.
How they discover games
As a rule, women are social gamers, picking up their recommendations from friends, family members and social media platforms. Men, meanwhile, usually look to more official routes to find new games to play – online video channels, gamer sites, social media reviews and games magazines provide male gamers with their fix of the latest titles. The roles of television adverts, magazine coverage and app store rankings appear to make little difference to either gender.
In-game behaviours and habits
Perhaps the biggest difference between male and female gamers occurs when it comes to gaming habits and in-game behaviours. More men than women view gaming as their primary hobby, while more female gamers admit to dipping in and out of gaming as a means to fill their spare time. It’s easy to see from such habits why mobile gaming has become so popular, particularly among the female demographic. Online casinos and mobile apps tend to demand less time and focus and can be accessed during a lunch break, commute or spare afternoon. This difference means that women are less likely to pay for gaming extras than men, choosing to limit themselves to the free versions of browser games and apps.
Of course, there are similarities in the ways that men and women game, including both genders’ propensity to choose mobile gaming over any other platform and the titles that they choose to access from various genres. While the similarities and differences between male and female gamers alter fairly regularly, it’s clear that the industry’s ever-changing landscape has much to do with the genders’ gaming habits.