If there has ever been a myth that has been further debunked than any other in 2019, it is that of game campaigns only appealing to youths and males within the 18 to 25 year old bracket. This is obviously not the case as study after study have revealed that any and all concerned demographics can be reached one way or another via a game campaign if the research and planning has been well laid out in advance.
There is a lot to cover on the topic of which games are best suited for certain demographics and why. So much so that this article will be broken down into 2 main parts;
- Game Genre Statistics
- Gamer Motivation Framework
In part 1 of “Not all games are created equal” we will be looking at particular genres of games and what the market split percentage is between both male and female gamers, along with any observations we found while going over the numbers.
The truth is advergaming works for just about any marketer, but not necessarily any genre of game works for a campaign. While the demographics under the title of “gamers” are both wide and varied, so too are the preferences of effective game genres for campaigns.
Current Game Demographics
Different game templates have their own unique genre origins, and not all of them are created equal. Whether it be for Educational, Business or Marketing purposes, a lot of institutions are being asked to place their trust in a concept yet are unfamiliar with the many forms an advergame can take and for what demographical purposes.
Why is this the case? Well, consider how the older millennial generation all grew up on gaming. Having a console in the house wasn’t just accepted but expected. As time and progress has occurred, the millennial generation and all who follow after them have grown up in a lifestyle in which games are a social outlet, an interactive alternative to television, and even a way in which they can make money.
As for the older generations, they have never been intuitive when it comes to adopting new technology, but they have always been open to simplified game formats. The mother that you recall playing solitaire on the family PC back in ’97 is the same mother who plays Words with Friends on her smartphone.
A few quick stats;
- Internationally the average male gamer is 33 years old.
- Internationally the average female gamer is 37 years old.
- Consumers between the ages 15 to 19 spent an average of 44 minutes playing games for leisure on weekdays and an average of 81 minutes on weekends and holidays.
- 13% of both males and females ages 50 and up in the United States play video games.
- 17% of male and 10% of female between ages 18 -35 in the U.S. play video games.
- 27% of who used to play games on a portable/handheld video game console spend 6-10 hours playing games weekly.
All of these variables within a large market make it apparent that not just any old game template will work in an educational context, progress tracking software or marketing campaign.
So which games should companies invest their time and money into?
Game Genre Statistics
The following percentages are currently recognised market splits on different game genres between both Males and Females.It bears pointing out that most gamers play a variety of games across genres, and a high participation rate in the chart doesn’t necessarily mean that gamers (whether male or female) only play that particular genre. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest takeaways we got from the graph in regards to women having a larger input into the current game market.
1) Match 3 and Family/Farm Sim Gamers Are Most Likely To Be Female.
In fact, these two genres are head and shoulders above any other genre in terms of percentage of female gamers. The next highest genre is a full 27 percentage points lower in its proportion of female gamers.
2) Tactical Shooter and Sports Game Players Are Least Likely To Be Female.
Sports Games (with an average 2% of female gamers) have the smallest proportion of female gamers of all the genres we analysed. Although the percentage of women in both Shooter categories is low, there is a noticeably lower proportion of women in Tactical Shooters compared with First-Person Shooters (4.3% vs. 7.2%).
3) The Variance in Female Gamer Percentage Across Genres is Large.
The genre averages range from 2% to almost 70%. This is a 35-fold difference, and illustrates why an overall statistic for all gamers (ignoring genre) can be misleading and confusing.
4) Genre Findings Align with Primary Motivation Differences.
In a previous blog post, we compared the primary motivations of male vs. female gamers. Much of those differences seem to underlie the current genre findings. For example, genres with more women emphasise Completion and Fantasy (the top 2 motivations for women). And genres for men emphasise Competition and Destruction (the top 2 motivations for men).
The Opportunity Space is Larger Than It Appears
It’s easy to read the genres in the chart and pin the cause solely on gender differences in gaming motivations–e.g., “women simply don’t like X or Y game mechanic”, but there may be a lot more going on. For example, games on the bottom of the chart tend to not have female protagonists, tend to involve playing with strangers online, and tend to have a lot of rapid 3D movement which can lead to motion sickness (which women are more susceptible to). Low female gamer participation in certain genres may be a historical artefact of how motivations and presentation have been bundled together and marketed.
This means that none of these numbers are set in stone. Things aren’t necessarily “just the way they are”, in fact there are most likely elements to a game that simply haven’t been addressed properly in order to draw in other demographics.
Age, gender, interests & location all matter when choosing a game. Some games have a user percentage that can be 85% male, while others are 70% female. Knowing who your audience is, allows for you to allocate the right kind of game in order to reach that demographic.
The user experience is the foundation of effective marketing, however some brands get so caught up in their own message that they forget to tap into who their audience is and where their interests lie. Once you can identify your target audience it becomes inherently easier to build a campaign around that information.
- Entertainment Software Association
- Bureau of Labor Statistics