Talk to the indie game maker, and he’ll tell you that the place to find an audience is on mobile devices like the iPhone 5. Talk to the video game publisher, and he’ll tell you the same thing, because there’s no revenue model quite so promising as that of the free-to-play, microtransaction supported mobile game. Both of them will agree that it’s tough to get your game in front of people. Only a few video games release at retail each week, but literal hundreds hit app stores on a daily basis. Marketing a mobile game isn’t easy, but at least game makers and publishers alike know which audience they should target: Women.
EEDAR, a video game industry research group, published the findings of a recent survey breaking down mobile gaming demographics on Friday. Women now represent the majority of the mobile market.
Of the 2,491 mobile gamers between 15- and 64-years-old interviewed for the survey, 60 percent were women.
“What we are finding is tapping into that female client is more important than ever before,” EEDAR’s Jesse Divinch told USA Today, “It really is changing the face of gaming.”
According to the ESA, the split between men and women in the overall video game market, including PCs and consoles alongside mobile devices, is 53 percent to 47 percent. With the shift towards touch based devices, social games based on constant interaction with friends, as well as games that require less time investment, women have become a dominant force in mobile.
This has surprised mobile and social game makers, especially as they’ve turned to real money gambling games in the past 18 months. “If you are building for mobile and you want to scale to the broadest possible audience of purchasers, you do need to absolutely focus on [women,]” said Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen. Big Fish opened its very first real money mobile casino on iOS this past August, “You would think Texas Hold ‘Em would skew [towards men[, but we are seeing 65 percent of the revenue coming from [women.]”
The importance of women will likely force a number of publishers previously focused on the console and PC markets to reconsider their mobile businesses. Activision Blizzard, for example, is only now growing its internal mobile game development. Its new Leeds-based studio The Blast Furnace is making mobile titles based on older games like Pitfall and they’re rumored to be taking over Call of Duty for mobile devices, not exactly games built with women in mind.
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