Now that we know that women make up 55% of the social gaming market, it may be interesting to find out what the average women social gamer looks like. Teenybopper girl? No, in fact the average social gamer is actually a 43-year-old-woman, married with children, some college and a full-time job (socialtimes). That’s a far cry from the media’s average portrayal of gamers who are teenage boys with pimples who sit in their rooms in front of the TV. Actually there are more than four times more people between the ages of 50-59 playing games (22% of gamers) than there are people between the ages of 18-21 (5% of gamers) (socialtimes).
A recent study by PopCap Games found that there is a direct correlation between the rise in popularity of social networks among “older” users and the uptake of social gaming (memeburn). This makes me wonder if older users are just joining these social networks and realizing that they have games so they in turn become interested, or if they join the social networks strictly to play games.
The same study also found that while older women frequent social games more often than any other demographic, they also play the largest variety of games, not just playing one game everyday (memeburn).
this leads me to believe that maybe they just hear about all these games from friends, children, the media etc. And decide to join the network and try out a large number of games to see what they all have to offer.
In my experience, most of the people I know who play social games become obsessed with one game, be it Farmville or Mafia Wars, and just play that game strictly until they get tired of it. Older gamers who are just playing for the social aspects of a game would be less likely to do this because that is more the behavior of someone who is trying to “beat” the game or achieve a certain level.
The Popcap study also reported that the new type of women gamers are attracted to the social aspects of the game, namely playing with their real-life friends (memeburn) which supports my theory that female gamers are playing more for the “fun” of gaming and less for the competition value.
Pitcher, Sandra. “A Womans World: How Social Media has changed gaming.” (2012)http://memeburn.com/2012/01/a-womans-world-how-social-media-has-changed-gaming/
O’Neill, Megan. “The average Social Gamers Are 45-year-old Women.” (2012) http://socialtimes.com/the-average-social-gamers-are-43-year-old-women-infographic_b87767