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.

Our friends over at VentureBeat have sent over a code that will save you $50 off of registration to the event. We were at last year’s GamesBeat and it was definitely worthwhile. I would recommend it to anyone looking at the business behind virtual worlds, online games, venture capital for game companies, or funding in general. It pulls a good mix of game industry/Silicon Valley.

GamesBeat@GDC 2010 will be held on March 10th in San Francisco and will feature the theme Disruption 2.0.  The one-day executive conference will explore the future of gaming and the effects of the iPhone, iPad, social media, digital distribution, and online gaming on the industry.  Leading speakers will include:

  • Steve Perlman, CEO of On-live
  • John Schappert, COO of EA
  • Bryan Reynolds, Chief Designer of Zynga
  • Klass Kersting, CEO of Gameforge
  • Neil Young, CEO ngmoco
  • Gareth Davis, Platform Manager of  FaceBook
  • Bart Decrem, CEO Tapulous

An others. Join 400 other gaming industry leaders for a day of panels, keynote and networking. Register here to receive $50 off your GamesBeat@GDC registration using the following code:  GBEATSP.

Alex St. John, hi5’s President & CTO, will unveil the details of hi5’s new Game Developer Program at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco Wednesday, March 10, 2010 from 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM (PT). hi5 is the largest social media site built specifically for games. The session is targeting social game developers looking for life beyond Facebook as well as online game developers that want to socialize and monetize their games.  hi5 will tell you everything you need to know to get your game distributed to their global audience of over 50 million monthly visitors. hi5 offers game developers:

  • Free marketing and promotion across the hi5 network for new games launched exclusively on hi5
  • Revenue share on advertising and commerce using hi5 Coins payment platform supporting over 60 payment methods
  • A dedicated game portal and game promotional area to facilitate discovery of your game
  • One-click automatic game installs, so you don’t lose users at the installation step
  • Super-charged social channels which don’t artificially cap or limit the ability for your game to go viral.

hi5’s new Game Developer Program is a different model for social games.  Representatives from engineering, marketing and business development will be on-hand to answer all your questions and anyone with a GDC Expo pass can attend. RSVP here: http://hi5games.eventbrite.com/

According to an article in Forbes, VinaGame has 65% of Vietnam’s gaming market. The article also gives market estimates for India, Korea and China.

COUNTRY 2007 2008 2009
VIETNAM $33 $67 $109
CHINA 1,387 2,640 3,485
SOUTH KOREA 989 1,109 1,225
INDIA 3.1 3.4 4.2

Analysys International says that the China Online Game Market reached almost 26.1 Billion Yuan in2009, exceeding analysts’ expectations.

  • The market for online games in China reached 26.093 billion Yuan in 2009
  • There are now 107 million online gamers in China


Cnet has a story quoting Needham & Company Analyst Charlie Wolf as saying the Apple iPad will sell:

  • 2 Million iPads in 2010
  • 6 Million iPads in 2011

IDC Analyst Richard Shim estimates:

  • 4-5 Million iPads in 2010
  • IDC also estimates just 1.3 million non-Apple Tablet PCs – 170,000 of which will be slates.
  • IDC estimates that in 2009, 1 million tablets were sold, 125,000 of which were slates, as compared to 875,000 convertible PCs

I predict that without Flash support, it’ll be hard for the iPad to gain mainstream acceptance among gamers. Casual gamers playing FarmVille and other social networking games based on Flash won’t be able to play on the iPad. It seems like it might be a smart business move to consider adding Flash support outside of just the YouTube player if apple wants to capture this audience.