Women in Gaming: The Mobile Boom
Picture this: your average gamer. What do you see? While many of us have perceptions of the archetypal gamer being invariably male, that’s not entirely the case.
Recent research has shown that women make up an entire 46% of the gaming demographic in 2017, and in Britain alone they’ll be spending £1.1 billion on the industry over the coming year. That’s £83 million a month on consoles, upgrades and the next big titles.
The big thing, it turns out, is mobile games. Think Angry Birds, the infamous Candy Crush that has you swiping up, down, left and right, and mobile casino slots themed on movies, leprechauns and television shows. Even Tinder now has paid services that users can tap into to improve the experience. Of all gaming platforms available, it would seem that the majority of women play on mobile, and this is the market set to see the most growth in the foreseeable future. Gaming is evolving, and investors are keen to be involved. And that’s thanks, in part it would seem, to women and girls everywhere having access and interest in the modern day. Kids have smartphones and tablets in their pockets before they’re even off to school, and portable entertainment for the travelling mum can be a quick fix for any approaching temper tantrum. Games aren’t boy-centric anymore. They’re everywhere, for everyone, from the CEO businesswomen on her lunch break to the university student looking to wind down after a long stretch in the campus library. This is evidenced enough by the fact that 1/5 of the current gaming population arewomen aged 36-65 and up according to some reports. Even grandma is getting involved.
And while mobile gaming is certainly the largest denomination of women in gaming (coming in at 48%), girls are no small portion of other areas in the community, either. That £83 million a month stretches over into PCs, Xbox and PS4, and Source:the scene’s newest release, the Nintendo Switch, too.
Women are spending, women are playing, and it’s up to developers to decide how to respond to this growing portion of their audience. If the current trends continue, a 50/50 gender split might not be too far in the future. Publishers, marketing teams and designers should all see this as a great opportunity. More consumers mean more sales, and hopefully the production of higher quality games.
They should be aware, too, of how their demographic takes in their content. One study found that women learn and choose the games they play differently from their male counterparts. 59% of female gamers use a combination of social networks, friends and family to discover new titles that might be of interest, whereas
men tend more towards online review or game sites, as well as online video channels, when coming to a decision. This is just one example of many differences between the genders in the video gaming industry, but it will be interesting to see how the company’s producing our favourite titles respond as time goes on.
What’s clear for now is that gaming is more accessible than ever before, no longer kept behind a barrier of boyishness. Now, even your phone is a platform, and women everywhere are taking part. What comes next for girls in gaming? Industry trends suggest more of them and more spending, but only time will tell.