Friday Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: Game preferences
With statistics about the average gamers on video, computer and mobile devices showing that both men and women are players and the percentage gap between men and women coming ever closer, what do the ladies prefer?
Personally I have played games all my life, I started with crosswords, Swedish puzzles, word detection things and then played basketball up to national divisions, participated in triathlons, marathons and shorter distance races as well as sailing races. When it came to computer or video games, Pong did enter our house briefly thanks to my uncles, but my dad was convinced it would break the television and the horrible sound effects of the game were to blame for it. I didn’t pick computer games back up in earnest until I started my degree in marketing and I was desperately hooked to Sim City, which nearly caused me to miss an exam because my city had experienced a major fire and I was trying to fix it. Eventually I deleted the game to get control over life again instead of letting it be controlled by a game. Now I would say I a play a random variation of games: some word games such as hang man on my iPad, which is pleasing to the eye with the graphics, Angry birds, Candy Crush Saga (badly stuck on level 566), some spin offs from Candy crush like candy mania, frozen and Farm Heroes. My boyfriend who is ranked in the Swedish top 10 or 20 for Othello, keeps introducing me to more games such as Carcassone and Ticket to Ride, which also have a board game edition, which is fun to play at social gatherings.
So you could say I have a stronger preference to the social games versus action and role playing games for example. This is reflective of most ladies. Men’s game preferences go to strategy, role playing, action and fighting games; whereas women prefer social games, puzzles, cards, music, dance, entertainment, educational and simulation games. Men’s preferences when it comes to violent or non-violent games is decidedly on the violent game side, whereas for ladies it remains 50/50. When it comes to naming hobbies, for male gamers it will feature at the top, whereas for ladies it is one of more hobbies and usually somewhere down the priority list. I definitely would have always listed sports and reading above gaming.
Ironically girls also feel a little bit guilty about spending time playing games, whereas that feeling doesn’t even enter the mind of the male player. The devices of preference for guys are desktop or laptop followed by consoles, however the ladies prefer to play on mobile devices (phones and tablets) and then consoles such as the Wii, Xbox 360 and Ps2. I wonder whether this has to do with it then being less obvious and giving a little bit of a guilty pleasure without it being obvious? When it comes to physical interaction, ladies choose this as an option a lot more than guys, which is why fitness, dance and other physically interactive games on consoles have become very popular. I remember a Christmas event built around a Wii and the girls were mega-competitive on everything from Karaoke to Downhill snowboarding etc.
Most ladies will classify themselves as novice to moderate gamers, whereas guys will easily admit to have reached expert level, which may boil down to ability judging, which we discussed in an earlier blog post on this theme.
These findings are based on a study carried out by the Software Usability Research Laboratory in Wichita State University.
When it comes to role models, most social games have friendly and colourful interfaces. A lot of the role playing games do not have a cool female super hero type we can model ourselves on. Most girls don’t identify with a sexy maven in tight clothes with big boobs and a cute behind, we would rather see her more appropriately dressed for the occasion and strong, maybe even mind strong.
What does this all mean for gamification?
Well first of all, being aware of preferential differences of devices and types of games can help you in building a better suited solution depending on the demographics of your target audience. If you are appealing mainly to ladies, make the solution accessible on handheld devices, ensure it draws on elements from puzzles, social games and encouraging social interactions. Pay attention to the look and feel and ease of use.
What would you include in your gamification solution based on the above findings?