Pop open a game of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker and you may notice a trend in your competition. Women are quickly becoming part of the broader target audience in a space where men might typically be seen as top customers. In fact, CEO and founder of Big Fish Games Paul Thelen reports that games like these are “seeing 65% of the revenue coming from females.” A recent study by EEDAR, video game research and consulting company, reinforces these findings.
Not surprisingly, social and casual game developers are recruiting female players for feedback to integrate into their designs. Big Fish Games has long recognized that female demographics are key to their core business. A fan group of women, fondly known as “Big Fish Babes,” formed organically around Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate using chat rooms on Big Fish Games’ site. However their interactions didn’t stop there. The women decided to meet up in person in Seattle and subsequently got a tour of the game studio offices. Since then, the Babes have been signed on to regularly test upcoming Big Fish Games’ designs as well as attend Casual Connect as guests.
King.com is another huge player in the mobile and Facebook gaming space. As the second most popular game developer with 52 million monthly active players on Facebook, King.com has been actively seeking insights from their female audience. In Seattle they hosted a gamers panel of women at Casual Connect to ask hot topic questions including:
- What is it about mobile that drives the playing you are doing?
- Considering in-game advertisements, what is your tolerance level?
- How important is it to have others to play with, or be at the top of the leader board?
- When are you willing to spend money in a game?
Each panelist contributed to the discussion and affirmed many of the trends developers are leveraging in the mobile and casual gaming market. The women explained that the ability to play for 5 minutes or less is what draws them in, especially when they can access content at the same speed as on computers. They prefer in-game advertisements that allow them to trade watching a video for virtual goods. Competition was another big factor, with one panel member saying that she actively strives to make the leader board.
Other members explained that they are also wiling to pay to stay competitive with other friends or buy special holiday items when goods are discounted. The full version of the focus group, facilitated by Jong Woo VP of Business Development US at King.com, can be viewed online through Casual Connect’s lecture pages. A few major takeaways from women focus groups on the casual and mobile game industry:
- Playing games online is no longer considered geeky
- Competing and mastering games is a common goal
- Prefer option to donate prizes or points to charity
Long story short, women gamers are shaping the casual and mobile gaming market.