• The average age of social network gamers is below 30 years old in the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K.
  • 29% of social network gamers are under age 20
  • 8% of social network gamers are above age 50 in the U.S.
  • Only 4% of social network gamers are above age 50 in Europe
  • The average age of the social gamer is 43
  • 24% of U.S. gamers consider social networks as their primary gaming method
  • 10% of European gamers consider social networks as their primary gaming method
  • Almost 60% of social gamers in the U.S. are female

According to M2 Research and Nintendo, there are 45 million people primarily playing console video games in the U.S.

  • Nintendo estimates 26% of these primarily console gamers are female
  • This is approximately 11.7 million female console gamers
  • Wii – 80% = 9.3 million
  • X360 – 11% = 1.29 million
  • PS3 – 9% = 1.05 million
  • Total = 11.7 million Females

M2 Research estimates there are:

  • 130 million women currently playing online PC games worldwide
  • 140 million men currently playing online PC games worldwide

Close to 40% of all World of Warcraft players are female, or almost 3 million players

According to Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather:

  • Women account for 85% of consumer purchases
  • U.S. women spend more than $5 trillion annually on consumer goods and services
  • 22% shop online at least once a day
  • 61% influence consumer electronic purchases
  • Women account for 66% of all PC purchases

Women Are Gaming

A study from Q Interactive and Social Media World Forum of more than 2,000 women in November of 2009 found them actively engaging with brands as they partake in social media gaming. The report also states:

50% of U.S. women play online games according to Pew Internet

The online social-gaming market is expected to at least double from $720 million to over $1 billion by 2010 according to Think Equity

The study also establishes a picture of the typical woman engaged in social media games and applications:

  • 85% of those surveyed use five or less games and/or apps regularly, indicating an inclination to be loyal to a handful of favorites; approximately 15% regularly invest in six or more games/apps at a time
  • 57% are earning/spending virtual currency daily
  • 74% got involved in a game or app due to a recommendation by family or friend or because they noticed a friend or family member’s score
  • 95% utilize virtual currency primarily to gift and/or advance games
  • In interacting with games and apps, 57% feel virtual gifting – for example, giving a bag of virtual makeup from Sephora – is as meaningful as real life gifting
  • 97% of women prefer to earn virtual currency through either winning more or accepting a branded offer – versus paying for it with “real” money
  • Only one in ten women have actually used “real” money to purchase virtual currency; of that, 85% have spent under $100 in their gaming and aping activities – ever
  • Of women who have signed up for branded offers to get more virtual currency, 67% found the offer useful
  • 37% of those women chose the branded offers based on “content”; 17% went for offers with free products or services

A follow up study in February, 2010  Q Interactive and Engage! Expo  revealed insight into the psychology of women who play social media games, the largest demographic of social media users. The study of over 700 women, about 54% of which play daily and 30% weekly, investigates a range of viewpoints around salient social media gaming topics. This is the company’s third recent proprietary research study from its “Women’s Channel.”

Of those surveyed, 42% consider themselves gamers and 7% deem themselves obsessed:

  • For 67%, one to five hours per week is socially acceptable
  • 26% feel six or more hours per week is socially acceptable.
  • Nearly 45% of those surveyed have friends they consider obsessed with social media gaming.
  • Approximately 16% of those surveyed hide or sometimes hide their gaming habits.

Over two-thirds of those surveyed believe there are stigmas associated with gaming. For those women, the leading stigmas are:

  • Games are addictive (24%)
  • Play makes you neglectful of other areas of your life (21%)
  • Gaming is a waste of time (17%)
  • Play at work is basically off limits: 93% of those surveyed share they primarily play at home versus work.

More than half of women surveyed, 54%, fear more games will make gamers pay in the future:

  • If forced to pay, 77% would give up the game, while:
  • 10% would prefer a monthly subscription or fee
  • 10% would prefer a pay-as-I-go system
  • 2% would prefer a separate payment scenario for each game played

Chris Sherman Founder of the Engage! Expo said, “…  moms and kids are both wired into social media gaming… however, mom… is actively supervising the time her kids play and what they spend”

  • Overall kids (children under 18 years old) are connected: 16% of moms say their children have a smart phone.
  • According to mom, 40% of kids are allowed to play daily, 37% weekly, and 10% monthly.
  • Generally speaking, kids are banned from the wallet: 80% are not allowed to pay for social media gaming.

The February study is available here, and the November study is here.

ClickZ recently posted an article talking about CafeMom, and exploring some of the reasons women play games. Here’s the data:

  • More than 50% of moms in the U.S. play games online regularly
  • U.S. moms play games usually to relieve stress and relax
  • According to eMarketer, more than 27 million women between 25 and 64 in the U.S. visited an online gaming site in a single month last year

The Entertainment Software Association released its annual report a couple of weeks ago. We took the time to go through it and pull out some of the most interesting facts. The full report is available here for free. Here are the key data points.

Buyer Demographics:

  • The average age of game buyers is 39

Growth in Online Games:

  • 57% of male game players play games online more than one hour per week
  • 43% of female game players play games online more than one hour per week

Types of Online Games Played Most Often:

  • 43% puzzle/board/trivia/card games
  • 21% action/sports/strategy/role-play games
  • 16% MMO games

Paying to Play Online Games:

  • 23% of frequent users pay to play games online
  • In 2003 only 5.2% of frequent users paid to play games online

Parents’ Opinions of Games:

  • 63% of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives
  • Parents are present 92% of the time when games are purchased or rented
  • 94% of parents monitor the content of the games their children play

Games for Training

  • 70% of major employers utilize interactive software and games to train employees
  • More than 75% of businesses and nonprofits already offering video game-based training plan to expand their usage in the next 3-5 years

Government Regulation and Piracy

  • In FY 09, a total of 161 bills (80 in 2008 and 81 in 2009 to date) affecting computer and video games were introduced in 37 states
  • None of the pending bills from 2008 were carried over to the 2009 legislative session
  • Italy is the worst country with regards to Peer-to-peer game piracy
  • Consumers downloaded nearly 6.5 million illegal copies of games across 223 countries, regions or territories
  • The top two pirated games accounted for 4.7 million of these downloads, a figure that far exceeds those games’ legitimate sales for that period.

Leading downloader countries

  • Italy (17.1%),
  • Spain (15.1%)
  • France (7.9%)
  • Germany (6.9%)
  • Poland (6.1%)

Networks used to pirate games

  • Telecom Italia (Italy) 11.6%
  • Telefonica de Espana (Spain) (7.8%)
  • France Telecom (France) (3.9%)
  • Polish Telecom (Poland) (3.6%)
  • Deutsche Telecom AG (Germany) (2.6%)
  • IUnet (Italy) (2.1%)
  • Neuf Cegetel (France ) (1.6%)
  • Jazz Telecom S.A. (Spain) (1.57%)
  • Free SAS (France) (1.56%)
  • Uni2 (Spain) (1.53%)

Nielsen released its Insight on Casual Games – Analysis of Casual Games for the PC, which tracked 847 PC casual game titles.

  • Of 847 the titles tracked, they were played by over 43 million unique people
  • On average, players played around 30 minutes a day
  • Casual games account for 75% of the total number of minutes of PC video game play across all video game titles
  • Casual gamers have the vast majority of play minutes and a very high frequency of play
  • 58% of casual gamers are female
  • 88% of casual game players play card games and puzzle games
  • Casual games have a high recurring game play rate
  • Casual game play sessions last an average of 31 minutes
  • Non-casual game play sessions are more than double, at 80 minutes
  • World of Warcraft game play sessions last on average 120 minutes

Download the full report from Nielsen here.

There is an AP article today talking about the market for games in the US, based on Pew Internet & American Life Project’s research released yesterday. Here are some data points:

  • 81% of people between 18-29 play games
  • 23% of of people over 65 play games
  • 97% of teenagers are gamers
  • 50% of women play games
  • 55% of men play games

There’s more data, but these are the important points.