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Stats Games

Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys 276

MojoKid writes: The Entertainment Software Association has just released its 2014 report on the state of the video game industry (PDF), and as the title of this post suggests, there have been some significant shifts since the last report. Let's tackle the most interesting one first: Females have become the dominant gamer, claiming 52% of the pie. That's impressive, but perhaps more so is the fact that women over the age of 18 represent 36% of the game-playing population, whereas boys aged 18 and under claim a mere 17%. Statistics like these challenge the definition of "gamer." Some might say that it's a stretch to call someone who only plays mobile games a "gamer" (Candy Crush anyone?). Mental hurdle aside, the reality is that anyone who plays games, regardless of the platform, is a gamer.
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Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

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  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:27AM (#47741157) Journal

    TFA has some interesting stats, but not much narrative to go with them. I would say that there are two big over-arching themes that are driving changes behind "who plays games".

    1) The first generation to grow up playing games is now moving into its 30s and even early 40s. Moreover, while this reflects my personal prejudices only (hey, at least I'm upfront about it), I suspect that with many of the first generation of gamers being academic and nerdy types, they are disproportionately well-paid now compared to their wider generation. So the people who grew up with games in the 1980s and early 1990s now have a lot of spending power. For some years now, the 30-40 year old age group has been the most lucrative in gaming.

    This is partly why Japan's importance as a market for (as opposed to a producer of) games has plummeted. Aside from "quick blast on the train" mobile games, gaming in Japan is in a very unhealthy state. Domestic production in Japan, when it targets domestic audiences, increasingly plays for children (eg. Nintendo), teenagers (Capcom) or the unemployed/under-employed "otaku" demographic living off its parents' income (Gust, Nippon Ichi, Cave etc).

    This is largely because Japan doesn't have the market of relatively well-paid adult gamers that the West has. Some of that is down to social stigma (games being a "kids' thing"), but much more of it is down to working cultures. Maintaining a middle-class lifestyle in Japan requires the kind of office-hours that would make even a Western games-development house in crunch-time blush.

    So yeah... in the Western gaming market, oldies increasingly hold the purse-strings, while Japan is increasingly falling out of the mainstream.

    2) There is no longer one single "games industry" any more. If... indeed... there ever was. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the games industry split neatly into two halves marked "console" and "computer", with very little cross-over. These days, that distinction has almost vanished (most console games bar first-party exclusives come to PC, Valve increasingly act as the platform-curator for the PC). But at the same time, there is a growing divide between "core" and "casual" gaming, with the latter not looking much like traditional gaming at all.

    Facebook games and mobile titles like Candy Crush Saga draw nothing but contempt from "core" gamers (including many of those affluent 30-40 year-olds mentioned above). But they have drawn in a vast market which would never touch a "core" game - and that market is heavily female. So the demographic of the gaming population in general is skewing to reflect that.

    There's also what almost constitutes a third tier somewhere in the middle - the "dudebro" gamer (which is overwhelmingly, though not entirely, male). These are the guys who spend a lot of time gaming, but almost all of it goes into Madden/FIFA (delete as appropriate depending on whether in the US or not) and Call of Duty/Battlefield (delete as appropriate depending on favoured brand of spunkgargleweewee). This is a big demographic, but as MS learned when it pitched the Xbox One at them heavily, it isn't a big-spending demographic or one that's particularly sensitive to technological advances.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @06:38PM (#47744015)

    The first generation to grow up playing games is now moving into its 30s and even early 40s.

    I think you're a bit out there. Pong was out in 1972. I played it lunchtimes when at school. Space Invaders was out in 1978. I played it too. So I can claim to have "grown up" playing games in the '70s - 40 years ago. I also played Adventure and Empire on a PDP11 at work late into the evening. The first generation to grow up playing games is now moving into its 50s and even early 60s. (And yes, I'm still a Gamer by most sensible definitions).

BLISS is ignorance.