Women Game Differently

August 5, 2010

Women engage with online games at a high rate, but have different preferences than male gamers, according to a new study from comScore.

Women Like Gentler Games
“How Women Are Shaping the Internet” indicates women are much more likely to play casual games (i.e., solitaire, Sudoku and Scrabble) than action, adventure, and sports games, which are typically favored by young males. Many casual games are available for networked online play within social networks, which generally have higher female usage rates.

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comScore Plan Metrix data shows that the biggest gender disparity exists with online puzzle games, played by 20.5% of women but only 7.4% of men. This is followed by online card games, played by 17.3% of women and 8.2% of men, and board games, played by 10.5% of women and 5.3% of men. Higher percentages of women play arcade and casino games than board games, but the gap with male players is much narrower.

As might be expected, the widest gender gap where men have a higher usage rate exists in online action games, played by 12.2% of men and only 6.8% of women. The smallest female engagement rate exists in sports games, played by 0.6% of women and 4.1% of men.

Older Women Drive Female Gaming Engagement
In the games category (which includes gaming information and online gaming), there are clearly two demographic groups that drive the category, according to comScore research: young males (of whom there are more), and older females (who spend more time on the category). High reach and heavy usage in the 45-54 and 55-plus female groups reflect the growing popularity of casual games among women, according to comScore.

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Sixty percent of males age 15-24 play online games, compared to about 50% of women age 15-24. In the 25-34 demographic, about 50% of both genders play online games, with men having a slight edge. In the 35-44 bracket, slightly more than 50% of women play online games, putting them ahead of men. A slight dip in use among both genders occurs in the 45-54 age group, with women maintaining a lead. In the 55-plus age group, about 50% of women and 40% of men play online games.

Looking at time spent, males age 15-24 clearly spend more time per month playing online games than females of that age (100 minutes compared to about 75 minutes). However, women spend an increasingly larger amount of time than men playing online games in every succeeding age bracket, with women 55 and up spending more than 200 minutes a month playing online games, about double the time men 55 and up spend.

Online Gaming Sites Surge
Online gaming sites surged in popularity between May and June 2010, according to recent Nielsen Company data. Americans looked to online gaming for entertainment in June 2010, with online gaming sites attracting nearly 103 million visitors during the month.

WildTangent Network took the top spot with 17.3 million visitors, up 6% from the prior month. GSN Games Network And CPMStar came next with 16.9 million visitors each, followed by Nickelodeon Casual games with 15.3 million (up 14%), EA Online with 15.1 million (up 2%), and Disney Games with 14.9 million (up 15%).

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