If you think it’s Mel Gibson, think again. Women want games, especially games of the social and casual variety. Let’s take a look at the facts:
- Female Facebook users outnumber their male counterparts in every age bracket.
- According to a study conducted by ShesConnected Multimedia, 36% of women would give up chocolate, Prada, and their mother-in-law before giving up their social networks.
- The fastest-growing segment of the casual gaming market is women over 40.
- King.com, a leading skill games Web site, reported that the majority of their 17.5 million monthly active users are female.
- 74% of paying casual gamers are women, and 72% are older than 35, according to the Casual Games Association.
Why are women so captivated by online games? Women are spending 40% more time at home than before the recession, and as a result, they are spending 58% more time online. And social and casual games are more accessible, shorter, and easier to play than hardcore games. Women can divide their gameplay into shorter segments throughout the day, which makes for a much more accommodating, flexible gaming experience.
Finally, social and casual games are perfect for women who are looking for community. For example, the Big Fish Babes—a group of nine women, mostly over 40 and retired—met three years ago while playing an online game. These women have been the best of friends ever since, and one of the Babes even said that this is “the best support group you could ever find.”
This is a huge monetization opportunity for game developers. After all, women control up to 85% of all household expenditures, and they aren’t shy about spending money on online games—in fact, many women spend $30-50 per month. Developers need to understand what their female users want and need and carry out monetization strategies accordingly.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- When women pay for social and casual games, it’s typically through micro-transactions instead of larger lump sums. They want to pay a few bucks to gain additional coins.
- Women want games with good, captivating visuals.
- Women are looking for value. Games with alternative payment methods must make sure that their advertiser offers present clear value to their female users, rather than trying to use gimmicks like making everything pink.
Because women’s needs are dynamic, developers must keep up with those changes. King.com has it down—CEO Riccardo Zacconi says that his company continues to “gain insight into [their] users through dialog, surveys and ongoing interaction.”