Gaming in Australia? where, downthere!

Today I bumped into a nice article. Long away from home, but..! read here.

More than 40 per cent of game players in Australia are female, yet most games on the store shelves are of little interest to them.

Wander into any video-game store and you could be forgiven for thinking that women do not play games. But the statistics paint a different picture.

Despite this, the profile of the typical gamer has changed drastically over the past decade, with middle-aged housewives now as likely to play games as teenage boys. The average gamer in Australia is now 28 years old, up from 24 just two years ago. And despite being largely ignored by the game industry, 41% are female.

Women and older Australians are the fastest-growing audience for computer and video games, and if trends continue, by 2014 the average age of Australian gamers will be the same as non-players – 42 – with an equal number of male and female players.

Trends are similar in the United States, where 38% of gamers are female, spending an average 7.4 hours a week playing, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

Much of the recent growth in the game market and the dramatic shift in gamer demographics is due to the success of a small number of non-traditional games such as the SingStar karaoke range, the Buzz trivia titles, Wii Sports and the hugely popularly hand-held games such as Nintendogs and Brain Training.

The Sims, the world’s most popular computer game, has also been hugely popular among women, as has the multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. Both are largely about building relationships.

Even a cursory glance at some of the many internet forums and websites highlights the fact that many women enjoy games from all genres, some even forming female clans such as Girlz, Frag Dolls, War Sisters and PMS playing testosterone-fuelled shoot-’em-up titles such as Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament.

Women have no interest in the majority of commercial games that are released, particularly when they are being marketed almost exclusively to males. Studies show most women gravitate to “casual” titles such as online puzzle and card games, trivia, word challenges and action arcade games. The Casual Games Association reports that 74% of paying customers for these games are female.

It’s not surprising that women tend to shy away from most of the games on store shelves when publishers routinely use semi-clad female characters to ply their wares, appealing squarely to adolescent male fantasies.

And invariably the type of game that gets most media attention is violent and aimed at young men, such as Grand Theft Auto IV (see stories on pages 10 and 11).

The industry’s response to luring women gamers has often been cynical and heavy-handed. Many of the games aimed at females are unimaginative, such as Ubisoft’s new (paradoxically titled) Imagine range of hand-held games that feature stereotypical “pink” subjects such as dressing up, cooking and nurturing babies and pets.

Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast;

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