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Getting their game on

Gaming has long been an area of interest to us. From portable to online and console gaming, we're constantly keeping an eye on emerging trends and trying to understand the habits of dedicated gamers. One trend to acknowledge is the emergence of the girl gamer, and we decided to dedicate part one of our last Kaleidoscope of 2010 to female gamers, ages 13 to 64. We'll get to know the casual female gamer and understand what her interests are in online gaming.
October 22, 2010

Gaming has long been an area of interest to us. From portable to online and console gaming, we’re constantly keeping an eye on emerging trends and trying to understand the habits of dedicated gamers. One trend to acknowledge is the emergence of the girl gamer, and we decided to dedicate part one of our last Kaleidoscope of 2010 to female gamers, ages 13 to 64. We’ll get to know the casual female gamer and understand what her interests are in online gaming.

Female casual gamers have various motivations for maintaining a constant presence in the online gaming world, including achievement, stress relief and escapism. More than half of the online gamers we spoke with played for the challenge and to relieve stress. Achievement is the second-biggest motivator for these gamers, with 48% reporting that they often play ‘to better my score’ and 41% saying they ‘try to get trophies’ or other prizes. Similarly, 41% said playing online games ‘lets me forget some of the real-life problems I have.’ Competitive play, however, is of little interest to this group, with only 24% saying they play to ‘try to beat other players.’

In terms of what makes a good gaming site, ‘high quality of games,’ ‘ease of using the site,’ and ‘quick game load time’ are most important to respondents. ‘Ease of finding games,’ ‘site organization,’ and ‘site load time’ are also of high importance. The ‘social’ aspects incorporated into sites solely dedicated to online gaming are generally not important. Few visitors say they have personal interactions with others when playing online games in general, and are only moderately interested in online communication features. It can be assumed that this is not the place for social interaction, as sites like Facebook are dedicated to communication.

Of these female casual gamers, two in five reported subscribing to an online game service, including Shockwave, Facebook, Addicting Games and BigFish Games. Shockwave is the most-visited site by this group. Respondents said that strategy (65%), puzzle (62%), hidden object (58%), token (58%) and brain (54%) games are the most frequently played on Shockwave. Half of women who said they play games on Facebook prefer farming games such as Farmville or Farm Town.

In exploring the motivations for playing Shockwave games, the majority of respondents (95%) said they play games for ‘fun and entertainment.’ Boredom, stress relief and escapism followed with 60% each.

There are some significant behavioral differences between younger and older casual gamers. Older respondents, over 45, are more likely to frequently sign into a gaming site, save high scores, and read game reviews. However, teen visitors, ages 13 to 17, more frequently look for game recommendation features such as popular games either created by other gamers or generated by website activity. They’re also more likely to use social features. However, social networking apps still generate relatively low activity when it comes to all casual women gamers.

Older visitors are also much more likely to want to see more puzzle, hidden object, word, card & board, matching and jigsaw games on sites. Younger visitors ages 13 to 24, meanwhile, tend to want to see more action, family/kid, multiplayer, racing, music/photos and shooter games, as well as games they can play/compete with friends/family. Furthermore, respondents ages 45 to 54 are more likely than younger age groups to want to save their favorite games on their ‘ideal’ game site as this age group tends to browse games less than the younger set.

Having gained a better understanding of how female casual gamers behave online, our next Kaleidoscope will focus more on kids and their overall gaming attitudes and preferences.

(Source: Nickelodeon Kids & Family Research in partnership with Goodmind. June 2010, quant sample size: N = 1,042.)

In an effort to keep you in touch with our audience and give a voice to our consumers, the Brand and Consumer Insights Department at Nickelodeon Kids & Family has created Nickelodeon Kaleidoscope. Every month, Kaleidoscope will capture key areas of interest across the kid and family cultural landscape, provide an understanding of attitudes and behaviors, and report on trends and buzz.

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