The rise of mobile phones over the past decade has changed the outlook on video games and those who plays them considerably. Where previously, games such as Final Fantasy, Street Fighter and Call of Duty dominated the market and were considered to be very male centric, the rise of mobile phone games, and free-to-play business models has lead to a huge upswing in female gamers.
Research and Markets has conducted a study into mobile devices which demonstrates that the social gaming sector is set to reach $17.4billion by the year 2019, an enormous growth upon its valuation of $5.4billion in 2012. This is, in part, down to some games integration on social media, with games like Candy Crush Saga being heavily integrated into Facebook. It is also down to the accessibility of games, with them being freely available on many different platforms.
As well as this, it is important to note that the amount of women who play social casino games has risen 22% in 2013. A survey by International Game Technology also showed that over a third of players on social casino games are women. IGT’s vice president said:
“Poker is traditionally thought of as a male-dominated game, but our data proves that female poker players are on the rise in social casino.”
The IGT survey also revealed that women spend an equal amount of time per week playing online, free-to-play poker games as men.
David Williams, Head of Consumer PR at Ladbrokes Casino highlighted that, “The rate at which social gaming is growing is undoubtedly one of the most exciting developments on our landscape. The history books are littered with concepts that have withered quickly on the vine but there's no doubt in our minds that this is an area set to explode. Being in the right place at the right time to influence consumer behaviour and offer discerning customers precisely what they want - and more - will be key to leveraging the cash benefits of social gaming for big firms."
In the United States, the 10 top grossing mobile games account for 25% of revenue for iPhones, 36% of revenue for iPads and on Google Play, 27%. Four of the top ten games on the iPad are social casino and bingo games published by organisations such as DoubleDown, GSN and Big Fish.
A study from Harris Interactive and Amazon discovered that women are the driving force behind free-to-play games, with 84% of women preferring them, and 27% being willing to actually pay for a game. It means that as games designers come to release a game, they are more likely to market a free-to-play game towards women, and are more likely to make a game aimed at women, free-to-play.
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