Given the recent trends in online gaming with 22% of gamers being between the ages of 50-59, women now making up 55% of the social gaming market, and the average gamer being a 43 year old woman, it seemed only natural that someone would come up with a site that caters to these exact demographics.
Michelle Kaplan, a California woman,liked to play games online, but somehow, the typical games she found online just didn’t seem right to her. Most of them pitted players against each other to win points, status or prizes (Davila). “It seemed to me that the games I played were better suited for young men that like to slay monsters or make touchdowns,” she says. “But I’m just not like that. I socialize with my friends by helping them, not competing with them. The last thing I needed was more stress in my life” ( Davila).
Michelle decided to start a site called “Winster.com” in 2004 that is catered mainly toward older women and whose games are mostly non-competitive, and where the main focus is on social interaction and collaboration between gamers. By focusing on positive collaboration through games, Winster has attracted millions of players (over 2.2 million uniques) because the site helps build enduring online relationships (Davila).
Much like games such as Farmville or Cityville on Facebook, the games on Winster require players to work together, share and trade in-game objects, and acquire new friends in order to advance progression through the many different games available on the site. Winster however, has tapped into a special realm of online gaming that hasn’t really been seen in any of the games like those mentioned above and most of the games that are most popular on Facebook today. The realm that I’m referring to is real-life prizes. By completing different in-game challenges and making new friends, users are then able to win a large number of prizes that can range from Amazon gift cards to Fandango movie credits, Papa Johns pizza money, and even $25 restaurant.com coupons. This is a new and unique way to get people even more involved in online gaming if they aren’t already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this concept popping up on larger sites.
Source: Davila, Damian. “Winster.com a Social Gaming Site for Femal Baby Boomers and Seniors.” (2012) http://www.sexysocialmedia.com/winster-com-a-social-gaming-site-for-female-baby-boomers-and-seniors/