Thursday, August 25, 2011

Female Gamers

Some demographic on female gamers:

Nielsen breaks down computer players by age and gender, revealing some interesting nuggets. Women in the 25 - 54 year old group made up the largest percentage of computer video game players. Men in the same age bracket came in second. Women age 55 and up came in third.

Mostly, all these groups played Windows Solitaire and other free titles included with the operating system. World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), is the most popular non-card game title, as measured by number of players. Nielsen figures about 1.2 million male players in the US along with 600,000 women played World of Warcraft in December, 2008.

While women showed the strongest numbers in "casual" game areas, young men still dominated in the more "hardcore" games like the latest Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 titles.
-from here

According to a Nielsen Company study last April, almost 50 percent of all PC gamers are female, with hit PC titles like The Sims played primarily by women.

In NPD's Gamer Augmentation 2009 report released today, the industry-tracking group revealed new figures that show 28 percent of all console video gamers are female in 2009, up from 23 percent last year. NPD attributed the five-point rise to the Nintendo Wii, which it believes has attracted a large number of new female gamers. It reports that Wii usage has increased by 19 percent from 2008 for all demographics.

At the 2007 Women in Games Conference, Electronic Arts VP Sharon Knight said that the Wii is attractive to female gamers because of the console's accessibility.

"The Wii levels the playing field," she said. "You don't embarrass yourself--you can grab it and right away start having fun. ... [Wii games] don't require the same investment to learn and to master how to pick up and play [as other consoles' games]."
-from here

It was also a common stereotype that men predominated in video game consumption but the numbers are now evening out as 2 out of 5 gamers are female.

Gamer is broad term so let us look at the breakdown of gender versus console preference. Females just love Nintendo’s Wii with 80% saying that it is their primary console, or console of choice. Just 11% play Microsoft’s Xbox360 and even fewer (9%) play Sony’s Playstation3. Males are more divided in terms of console preference. 41% still play the Wii primarily but fully 38% prefer Xbox and 21% like the Playstation3.
-from here

One of the common statistics often cited by video game industry trade groups is that the average age of a gamer nowadays is around 30 years old. What you might not know, however, is that among game players between the ages of 25 and 34, women far outnumber men, according to a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (as reported in The New York Times).

The CEA study found that 65 percent of women in the 25-34 age bracket play video games, while only 35 percent of men in that group said that they play video games. Apparently, the key factor involved with these findings is the increasing popularity of casual games, especially among women.

Women were found to be slightly less likely than men in the 25-34 bracket to play traditional console games on systems like the PlayStation 2 or Xbox, while they gravitated more heavily towards simple types of games like Tetris or other puzzle games and card games like solitaire. These casual titles are typically found on web portals like Yahoo!, AOL Games, PopCap Games, EA's and elsewhere.

[...] Of the three hardware makers Nintendo is the only company that has gone out of its way to create unique titles for "non-gamers" and gamers outside of the typical core market — e.g. Nintendogs and Brain Age. With games like these and the simple, intuitive Revolution control scheme, it's clear that Nintendo is looking to leverage the casual market.

[NOTE: That was before the Wii was on the market and called Revolution. And the focus on casual games worked]
-from here

Study 1 found that young German women prefer rich social interactions in computer games, which most available products cannot offer, and also revealed the women's dislike of violent content and heavy gender-stereotyping in the presentation of characters.

[...] Overall, the findings contribute to an explanation of the substantial gender gap in computer game involvement. They also call for further theoretical discussion in entertainment research: Current explanations of why playing video games is fun (e.g., Klimmt, 2003; Vorderer & Bryant, 2006) need extensions to account for gender-specific models of pleasure. If competing, winning, and being a violent superhero do not appeal to women to the extent that they appeal to men, several mechanisms of enjoyment that have been proposed, such as pride in success and identification with attractive role models (e.g., Klimmt, 2003), should be reconsidered. Most importantly, the pleasures of social interaction with game characters, and with other players as well, require more attention in theories about (interactive) entertainment. The studies reported indicate that further gender-specific refinements are needed in entertainment theories and entertainment research in general.

In addition, differences related to frequency of game use among players should be added to the gender comparison. For example, research suggests that males who play games infrequently more closely resemble the stereotypical female game player in their preference for less violence in games (AAUW, 2000; Kafai, 1998).
-from here


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