Gaming is not just for boys

The fact that females are gaming for fun shouldn’t come as any great surprise. The introduction of family friendly gaming consoles such as Nintendo Wii has made gaming more of a sociable pastime these days. There’s much more variety of genres these days too – games are no longer just variations on a ‘shoot-em-up’ theme.

However, the latest research revealed by TNS, in conjunction with Gameindustry.com, shows that gaming for girls is not just acceptable, but growing exponentially. Almost all young girls play games at some point (96%) and so do most teenage women.

But many will be surprised at the large amount of older women, especially mums, playing console games or logging onto their favourite portals. Rumbi Pfende, UK country manager of RealGames, says gaming has become a popular way for females to “relax, sometimes relieve boredom and for escapism”.

Interestingly, the research could open up the gates for advertisers who might have been cautious about promoting goods and services targeted towards women around and in games. Surely on this evidence, more brands will consider gaming a worthy advertising medium to flaunt their goods?

Stephen Yap, group director at TNS Technology, says it should send positive signals to businesses thinking about this type of advertising but believes it’s still “early days for this advertising medium”.

While the figures in this report show that gaming truly has gone mainstream amongst females, it could take a while for brands to fully understand and embrace this world. For a start, it’s not a simple as producing an advert for women that is seen around or in a game.

Brands will have to consider the different types of games that women play – and there’s a great variety – as well as the types of platforms that the female audience tend to be attracted to. Consoles are the most popular, with 73% of women saying this is their preferred way to play games, but older women prefer online portals to consoles.

As with all forms of advertising, a lot of thought will need to go into creating a promotion that works within the context of gaming. Many brands have already learnt that simply taking a television ad, sticking it online and calling it “digital advertising” doesn’t really work. The same goes for gaming. New marketing rules will apply; only the brave will experiment and only the great brands will get female gaming advertising right.

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