作为一个女性，我想谈谈这种成长对我产生的个人影响。在M2 Research上，现在我们已经能够见到许多女性分析师了。其中有个分析师格外精通MMO游戏，包括休闲类和硬核游戏。她在《魔兽世界》中的角色创立了全美排行前50的公会。除了硬核游戏玩家和M2 Research分析师这两个身份外，她还是3个小孩的母亲，现年已35岁。这体现了一个事实，游戏已不再是某类群体的专利。
这些女性玩家中，80%选择Wii，11%选择Xbox 360，9%选择PS3。也就是说，玩Wii的有930万人，玩Xbox 360的有129万人，玩PS3的有105万人。
微软Xbox 360发言人David Dennis说道：“Twitter和Facebook之类的社交网络对女性有着特别的吸引力。研究发现，多数社交网络上的女性用户都多于男性，包括Twitter（游戏邦注：女性用户占59%）和Facebook（游戏邦注：女性用户占57%）。除了Facebook和Twitter外，Xbox LIVE上的许多功能也满足女性用户的需求。用户可以使用Xbox LIVE来与国内外的好友分享电影、音乐、照片和游戏体验。对我们来说，女性是个重要的用户来源，我们正提供各种能够满足她们诉求的娱乐体验。”
Will O’Brien此前担任过TrialPay的社交游戏总经理，现在是Big Fish的社交游戏副总裁，他称“通常来说，虚拟商品交易的60%来自于女性。但是，不同题材的游戏能够吸引不同性别的用户。比如，扑克游戏男性玩家较多，但是那些照看宠物的游戏更容易吸引女性玩家。”
据Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather调查显示，在所有消费类交易中，女性占85%。美国女性每年花5万亿美元购买消费类商品和服务。调查结果显示：85%的消费类交易来源于女性；22%的人每天至少网购1次；61%会购买消费类电子产品；购买PC的女性占66%。
Big Fish Games首席执行官Jeremy Lewis认为她们是主要的消费力量，他认为“游戏是种能为人普遍接受的娱乐形式。传统游戏公司的目标用户是年轻的男性，但Big Fish Games的目标用户是全球玩家，其中女性所占比例超过80%，而且她们都会在游戏中投入大量时间。年轻女性是我们的主要用户，她们在我们的站点上畅玩各种游戏，包括益智类、物品隐藏类及其他单人游戏，所有这些游戏都能让女性得到放松并享受其中的乐趣。”
你所要做的就是仔细研究那些男女通吃的行业。比如，每年参加Winston Cup汽车竞速的660万人中，有40%是女性。就我个人而言，我没去过Winston Cup，但我钟爱F1赛车。我经常观看此类比赛，购买F1产品，而且知道过去两年是Brits获得冠军奖杯。
十多年来，Her Interactive首席执行官Megan Gaiser专注于为女性开发游戏。Her Interactive成功地开发了《The Nancy Drew》系列游戏，这些游戏屡次位居NPD十大最畅销游戏之列。
The Next Frontier – Female Gaming Demographics
As an analyst I am drawn to trends that shift markets. I see nothing shifting the gaming market more significantly right now than the impact that girls and women are having on the industry. The growth and market dynamics related to female players are utterly fascinating.
As a female I am drawn to the personal impact this growth means to me. At M2 Research we have several female analysts now. So yes, it is a personal topic for us here. One of our analysts is extremely versed in MMOs, both casual and core. Her World of Warcraft rogue character made the US top 50 Guild. So besides being a hardcore gamer and an analyst for M2 Research, she is also over 35, and a mom of three small children. The reality is games are not just for one particular type of player any more.
Steady but Slow Road for Consoles
More young girls are being exposed to console games, especially as their fathers introduce them to that world as a way to bond with them. In late November, president of Nintendo America, Reggie Fils-Aime presented several data points outlining the current gender breakdown of console play in the U.S. Reggie estimates there are 45 million people playing video games as the primary players in the U.S. Of those, Nintendo is estimating 26% are female, or roughly 11.7 million.
Of those, 80% are on the Wii, 11% are on the Xbox 360 and 9% are on the PS3. Wii – 80% = 9.3 million. X360 – 11% = 1.29 million. PS3 – 9% = 1.05 million. Total = 11.7 million Females.
John Koller of Sony told us, “Before the holidays we made a big push in our advertising campaign by appealing to a wider demographic. Women see the benefit of having a game console that also works as a Blu-ray player, and that has definitely boosted our sales into the dual-console households.”
And David Dennis, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 spokesperson believes that, “Certainly social networking functionality like Twitter and Facebook appeal to a female audience. Studies have found that in general, most social networks have more female users than male, including Twitter (about 59% female) and Facebook (about 57% female). In addition to Facebook and Twitter, there is a lot of functionality in Xbox LIVE that appeals to women. With Xbox LIVE parties, users can connect and share movies, music, photos and gaming experiences with friends on the same couch or across the country. Women are an important audience for us, and we’re offering a variety of entertainment experiences that will appeal to them.”
Growth is in PC Online Gaming
Unlike the console market, where the gender discrepancy is still significant, the PC gaming market is pretty close to even when it comes men and women. The openness of the platform and social element of the internet remains a significant factor.
M2 Research estimates there are roughly 130 million women currently playing online PC games worldwide, and 140 million men. And we see that figure growing steadily over the next several years for both men and women.
Women playing online PC games has worked for a couple of reasons:
1. It is a platform females already know well enough to navigate around
2. It has the social networking components females gravitate towards
3. MMOs, casual and social gaming are all games that appeal to women and they are all PC based
Look at the gender split between GTA4 and some of the other games.
It is estimated that close to 40% of all World of Warcraft players are female, or almost 3 million players. In November, Blizzard announced its first virtual pet would go on sale. In a 2 month period the company sold over 200,000 for $10 each, equaling $2 million on one virtual pet item.
Will O’Brien, who until recently was General Manager of Social Games at TrialPay and now VP of Social Gaming at Big Fish, “Typically, women account for about 60% of all virtual goods transactions, although different game genres attract different audiences–for example, poker games might be more male-centric while games that let you care for pets might appeal more to the female demographic.”
PopCap recently released findings from a survey they sponsored that showed: The average social gamer is a 43 year old female; 38% say they play social games several times a day; Women are more inclined to play with real-life friends.
The Chief Household Officer
According to research done by Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases. U.S. women spend more than $5 trillion annually on consumer goods and services: Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases; 22% shop on line at least once a day; 61% influence consumer electronic purchases; Women account for 66% of all PC purchases.
Jeremy Lewis, CEO of Big Fish Games, calls them the Chief Household Officer. “Games are a universal pleasure. Whereas traditional gaming companies are focused on young males, at Big Fish Games, our audience is global, more than 80 percent female, and so engaged that on any given day, we distribute 1.5 million games. Our primary customers, young women and chief household officers, as we like to call them, enjoy a broad variety of games on our site, including puzzles, hidden objects and solitaire, all of which provide women with the opportunity to escape relax and have fun.”
In our current economy, where frivolity on household spending has taken a back seat, women and moms are opting for Free-to-Play options for their kids whenever possible. Additionally, used game sales continue to increase. GameStop’s used sales were up significantly in 2009 from 2008, growing from $887 million to $1,109 billion for the six months ending August 1.
Mark Nebesky, Chief Marketing Officer of Goozex, an online video game trading company, explains what his company is witnessing, “There are two main purchasers, men purchasing for themselves or their children, and women purchasing for their children. In the case of the women, they control 100% of their account activity. In other words, the children requested games to Mom, who then placed the order on Goozex. And we see this group growing.”
Move Away from ‘Pink It and Shrink It” Marketing
There are still so many stereotypes about women and girls. Many marketers believe that females will only buy something if it is pink and covered in sparkles. It is also a misconception that women are not interested in shooting and highly competitive games – this is a stereotypical opinion that try’s to pigeonhole all female buyers into the same prototype. That is simply not true; to stereotype all females is the same as saying men and boys only like violent games.
All you have to do is look at other industries that prosper with both men and women. For example, 40% of the 6.6 million people attending Winston Cup car races each year are women. Now, personally I haven’t been to the Winston Cup, but I follow Formula One racing, watch it religiously, have been to a race, bought F1 products, and know that Brits have won the championship the last two years.
Megan Gaiser, CEO of Her Interactive has been focused on building games for girls for over ten years. Her Interactive is the successful creator of The Nancy Drew games, which have consistently placed on NPD’s top 10 best selling game month after month. Some months it’s even beat out World of Warcraft, Spore and The Sims.
When Megan joined Her Interactive, the company was told to make the products pink and girls will come. Megan explains, “That is about as simplified an explanation as saying, make it violent and boys will come. So we decided to go strategically UNPINK, and guess what, the girls still came.”
This is where game companies need to look to other forms of entertainment to bridge the gap. In films, the top box-office hits are films that attract men and women. Movies like Avatar and Dark Knight appeal to a wide range of people. In the music industry, men and women are equal in their purchasing of music. There is nothing wrapped in pink, except maybe Lady Gaga and Pink.
Closing Thoughts (But Not the End of the Discussion)
There is no denying that core gamers have been the mainstay for the industry for the last 10 year. However the market has grown. There are now wide sweeping segments of the population that make up the patchwork of gamers.
When you start looking at the numbers, there is a critical mass already in play. All you have to do is look at Zynga. With $250 million in sales and 233 million users, Zynga has a $3 billion valuation right now. Compare that to EA and its current valuation of $5.6 billion.
We feel this analysis is just touching the surface. There is so much more that needs to be addressed in terms of studying the demographics of these different patchworks, and this is something M2 Research is focused on.
Fundamentally the biggest issue is making intelligent, engaging games for whatever target market you are trying to reach. Girls on average are no more inclined to buy a portable gaming system because its pink than a boy wanting a system simply because it is blue. Consumers, no matter what the age or gender, want to be engaged and challenged.
The demand is there and the revenue opportunities are there. (Source: Gamasutra)