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Insider #149 - Game Demographics

She's Young, She's Practiced, She's Good, She's Not Alone

By Miles Weston


"Listen, you moron! I am here to stay and if you don't wanna' be in my life, you've got two choices. Move out or Ring out! That's it! End of File!" - Lt. Jordan O'Neill (Demi Moore), G.I. Jane (1997), Caravan Pictures

When we were growing up, our parents used to tell us to go out and play in the street.

They meant it!

Today, entertainment is at our kids' finger tips - computer video, game systems, standard TV, premium TV, mobile phone entertainment, music, and online Website options. 

Nielsen Research says that about 5 percent of all U.S. family entertainment dollars is spent on video games.  With video game households that percentage jumps to 9.3 percent of the monthly entertainment dollars. 

Video gaming families also tend to spend more of their entertainment budget at home, rather than activities like eating out, shopping or basic TV cable packages. 

But the stereotype gamer has gone the way of the dizzying array of gaming options.

It's no longer our kid and his buddies barricaded back in his room firing rockets/mortars, jackin' cars, showing off their skills on his Xbox or PS3. 

He's not locked away online with World of Warcraft and a gazillion other MMOG players.

He's sorta' ticked that he and his buds don't dominate video gaming.

As we saw at E3, Wii has been a game and gaming image changer. 

Our daughter got real serious when the Wii was introduced and now plays a lot of tennis and works out every day.

This year, hardware folks announced their version of the Wii controller and showed off their off-the-couch games.

Of course, both of the kids also have a ton of social media game sites they can choose.
They're never without their smartphones and stash of (mostly free or super cheap) one-person and multi-player games.

Queen of the Games
 What's surprising is over half of the adults play video games, according to Pew Internet research.


New Regime - Females - young and old - have become major influences in the types of games that are played online and offline with smartphones.  Game publishers need to pay more attention to the volumes rather than the "excitement" of the game for the best return on investment.  Source -- ESA

In fact, four out of five young adults play.

Pew found that 53 percent of American adults age 18 and older play video games and 21 percent play every day or almost every day.

Among adults, computers are the most popular gaming device, while young adults prefer consoles.

Still, video gaming is a teen activity with 97 percent playing. 

But when it comes to the new category of social gaming, the average player is a 43-year-old woman.

So if some kid hollers at your son, "Your mother wears combat boots!" He can take the dude down a notch or two, "Yeah and farm boots and Prada and gad, is she in terrific shape !!"

Lightspeed Research found that nearly half of social network users play games and women are playing more casual games than men.

As you would guess (hope), males/females play totally different games.




Distinctive Difference - Even the most fanatical gamer understands that males are different from females.  And the difference really shows up when you look at their gaming preferences.  Source - Nielsen Company

The ladies though are a lot like Lt. O'Neil, "Just treat me the same. No better, no worse."

Twenty-eight percent of females who are online play games like FarmVille, MafiaWars, Bejeweled, Insaniquarium.

In addition to playing games, females are more active on the Internet doing everything!

The mobile smartphone gamer segment jumped dramatically in the number of female players. 

Heavy Gaming
More than one-third of the ladies play games several times a day. 

Thirty percent play 30-60 minutes, while 4 in 10 participate in social games 1-5 hours a week. 

In the social gaming arena, Facebook is the leading destination with 83 percent of the ladies heading there to play weekly.  In fact, half of the female gamers surveyed by PopCap said they only log onto their social sites to play. 

Info Solutions Group projected that about 100 million folks actively played social games. 

Research also showed that:
* More than 60 percent of social gamers say on average, they play more than half an hour at a time, 10 percent 3 hours or more.
* Facebook is the most popular destination for social gamers -- 83 percent play games there compared to MySpace (24 percent), Bebo (7 percent), Friendster (5 percent).
* Social gamers spend 39 percent of their time on social sites playing games, compared with chatting with/messaging friends.   Half (49 percent) only go to the sites to play games. 
* The most popular games are Farmville (69 percent play once a week or more), Bejeweled (65 percent once a week or more), Texas Hold'em Poker (63 percent) and Cafe World (61 percent).
* A little over half (53 percent) of social gamers use gaming virtual money. 
* More than 80 percent of social gamers play social games with friends, family, colleagues.
We've watched the intensity of their game play and agree with Sgt. Cortez, "Hey, O'Neil! I'd go to war with you any day!"

While women may have been attracted by the Wii, the other consoles - Xbox, PS3 - have seen online gaming increase, most of the game play is still offline.



Offline Play - If you look at the numbers of interactive computer games, you might think that when people play their console, computer, smartphone games they are always competing against someone else.  The truth is, most of the gameplay is offline.  Source -- NPD

The single player and mobile games are just a good way to creatively waste time.

Older Gamers
Pew Internet's recent study found that the new game consoles, new social sites and new games also appeal to senior Internet users.

They're online doing the same things the younger adults do as well as the kids.



Aging Gamers - People who grew up on the Atari game systems aren't ready to retire to the rocking chair.   They're playing and seriously.  Research has also shown that gaming improves hand-eye coordination, exercises mental capacities and are good for the older gamer.  Source -- NPD

Age makes a big difference in the way folks play. 

Young adults (18-29) prefer their game consoles (75 percent) and online computer play comes in second (63 percent).

Older adults (29-45) prefer computers for game play (73 percent), compared to 53 percent who prefer console game playing. 

In addition, the older adults like their single person, offline gaming - 35 percent on mobile phones, 25 percent portable gaming devices.

NPD and Nielsen attribute the Wii with its sports and fitness games as having been the systems that reintroduced older adults - 55+ - to video games.

Pew found that nearly a third of them play games every day, keeping them physically and mentally active.

Young Males Rule
Even though young males have seen the mystery stripped away from their dark, dingy video games, they still haven't lost their mastery over the mysteries of technology, according to recent studies by ICOM.

Research shows that when folks want to know about techie stuff - mobile devices, games, game systems, TV sets, heck just about any electronic gadget - they're the first person to be asked.



Point Person - The young gamer fanatic may have lost his position as the most important for the game developers but they are very important for other PC/CE/communications manufacturers.  They are the first people folks turn to for recommendations on products/services.  Source - Giant Realm

And why not, cripes, they're usually the first person to buy into the new technology, the new product.  Yep...young males stand in those long lines late into the night when it's cold, rainy, miserable, you know - sucky!

Not sure if that kind of loyalty makes them terribly bright; but what the heck, they get their hands on the new stuff first!  

It's great that they still command some portion of their universe because when it comes to using their game console, they can only hope their moms aren't around.

One person you just don't cross - at least where we live - is the lady of the house.



Whenever our son thinks he has a say in things, his mother just looks at him and repeats Master Chief Urgayle's words, "The ebb and flow of the Atlantic tides, the drift of the continents, the very position of the sun along its ecliptic. THESE are just a FEW of the things I control in my world!"

Yep...we'll wait our turn!!!

Undercover author Miles Weston has spent more than 30 years in the storage, software and video industry, indulging in, among other things, marketing activities in promoting PC, CE, communications, content technology and their applications . Contact Miles through his editor by clicking here.


Related Keywords:MMOG, video games

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