Mobile Gaming Has Equal Playing Field of Men and Women

By John Gaudiosi (gamerlive.tv) - Wed, Jun 25, 2014

Amazon and Harris Interactive teamed up to research how changing demographics with men and women specifically affect the mobile gaming world, and conducted a survey that investigates the different behaviors that men and women exhibit while playing mobile games. According to the survey results, a nearly equal percentage of women and men play mobile games, and smartphone/tablet ownership is nearly equal as well. Other research has shown that women make up nearly half of the entire gaming audience.

With evidence suggesting a level playing field, what are some of the trends in the industry that are being shaped by women, and how does the mindset of this audience compare to traditional behaviors associated with gaming culture?

In the survey, both sexes were asked if they would feel competitive in certain gaming scenarios, how they would share their top scores (if at all), whether reviews could convince them to purchase a mobile game, what ways they would complain about bugs/glitches, and more. Based on the analysis of the results, here are the top 3 insights from the survey:

Men are more competitive than women in mobile gaming -- Men who play mobile games are more likely to feel more competitive than their female counterparts when a friend or family member is better (e.g., getting better scores, beating the game more easily) at the game they play most often (53% to 45%, respectively).

Women are less social about their mobile gaming experience -- Women are less likely to share their top scores in mobile games than comparative men (43% to 53%), share screenshots of top scores with friends/family (6% to 10%), or complain about bugs/glitches (52% to 69%) in their favorite mobile games.

Women are leading the trend towards Free-To-Play (F2P) -- Female mobile gamers prefer free to play games more than their male counterparts (84% to 77%), and are less likely to pay for a game (27% to 40%).

For starters, it appears that women who play mobile games may not exhibit the same competitive nature as men. The traditionally-held competitive attitudes of male gamers appear to ring true in the mobile gaming landscape, and our survey data provides several scenarios that showcase these behaviors. In one example (say, a friend or family member routinely beats you and gets higher scores in a mobile game that you play often), men who play mobile games are more likely to feel competitive than respective women.

Additionally, our data indicates that women across the board are more socially reserved about their mobile gaming experience than men. We asked participants how they would react after earning a top score in their favorite mobile game, and guys were more likely to publicly share those scores in a variety of ways (doing everything from personally telling friends/family, using social media, and even capturing a screenshot). Furthermore, women are less likely to complain about bugs/glitches they experience in their mobile games, and are also less likely to be persuaded to purchase a game by outside sources, like consumer ratings and press reviews.

It’s also quite possible that female preferences and attitudes are driving trends in purchasing strategies. Our survey found that female mobile gamers are more likely than men to prefer free-to-play (F2P) games, and also strongly prefer F2P against other paid methods, even considering pop-up ads and micro-transactions that are part of those experiences.

Additional research conducted last year indicates that older female gamers outnumber men, and in this recent survey, it was observed that women 55-64 were more likely to play mobile games than respective men (64% vs. 49%). These findings could certainly be a contributing factor toward the expansion of the F2P model.

As mobile games continue to increase in popularity, and become further integrated into the everyday user’s mobile experience, it will be interesting to see how the habits and attitudes of men and women change, compete and influence the industry at large.

This online survey was conducted by Harris Poll for Amazon/Weber Shandwick in late February among over 2,000 U.S. adults, among whom 880 play mobile games on their smartphone or tablet. We conducted the survey to gain insight into two main areas: first, to assess the behaviors that men and women exhibit while playing mobile games, and second, to determine how certain trends in the industry are being shaped by both sexes.