Equal Play, Equal Pay: Why Brands Can't Afford to Overlook Female Gamers

Kevin Bahler
PR Manager, Blog contributor
In 2024, women are no longer a small minority of gamers. Both the percentage of women who play games (72%) and the percentage of gamers who are women (45%) have been consistently increasing over time. In fact, women represent 65% of mobile game players. Despite the significant amount of women playing video games and spending money, they are still largely ignored as a demographic.

With brands always looking to reach new markets, women in gaming are an ideal audience. According to Newzoo’s Global Gamer Study, half of female gamers spend money on gaming. This represents a massive untapped market in every global region.

Read on to learn more about female gamers’ preferences, and how advertisers can meaningfully share their message to women around the world.
Fact vs Fiction – Stereotypes About Women Gamers
Why are female gamers so invisible to brands? Stereotypes from generations ago are a main factor:
  • Games are violent, which girls don’t like
  • Gaming is fiercely competitive, which is for boys
  • Video games can only be enjoyed hardcore players
  • Women don’t like video games

Let’s break down each of these stereotypes and separate the myths from the truths.
Equal Play Equal Pay Why Brands Can't Afford to Overlook Female Gamers
Myth 1: Video Games are Violent and Repulse Women
This first myth is tricky because there’s truth to it. A lot of games are violent. Guns and weapons have been common since the era of cartridge gaming. We have entire genres of games based on violence like Fighting, Beat’em Up, and First Person Shooter to name a few.

There is also truth that women make up a minority of violent game players. The more explicit the depictions of harm or gore, the more repulsive they tend to be to women. Sure, there will always be some women that love these games with all their heart, but they are neither the majority of gamers nor the majority of women generally.

The important truth here is that violent games are not the only option. The most popular genres for women are Role Playing Games, Adventure, and Logic. These games do not require any violence, let alone graphic depictions.
Myth 2: Gaming is Fiercely Competitive and Hostile
This is another myth that contains a kernel of truth. Competitive gaming is as old as arcade machines challenging people to get their name on the high score board. Even in the modern day, competitive gaming gave birth to esports, in which women make up less than 1% of professional players.

The problem with this stereotype is that it uses a portion of gaming culture to describe gaming as a whole. The majority of women don’t gravitate toward high-stress games requiring fast-twitch reflexes. Fortunately, there are plenty of gaming options that don’t require competition to feel accomplished.
Myth 3: Video Games are for Hardcore Players Only
This myth actually contains several misconceptions all rolled in one. For starters, most video games in 2024 do not cater to hardcore gamers. Modern gamers embrace casual gaming, which do not focus on reaction times, competition, or anxiety-inducing situations. The industry even includes “idle gaming” in which the game plays passively and the gamer sets up the system for how the game should work (much like a manager’s role in a company).

The other myths implied here are that male gamers are all hardcore and that women are not. In fact, Newzoo’s Global Gamer Study finds that between one third and one half of all gamers consider themselves “core gamers”, with the majority if players identifying as casual or somewhere inbetween.
Myth 4: Women Aren’t Interested in Video Games
Video games are no longer an uncommon niche for nerds or losers. Over 3 billion people globally play games. The majority of the female population play games of some form, and the majority of mobile gamers are women. Much like the other myths, it comes from a lack of nuance.

Women are definitely interested in video games. The catch is that women generally prefer different experiences from video games than men. More on that later.
Brands Benefit from Collaboration with Games and Gamers
With gaming still largely untapped (especially in the mobile space), brands have a tremendous opportunity to benefit from successful integration campaigns. Newzoo’s report explains:

“Video games have become an asset for marketing. Games enable brands to connect with their target audiences in more creative and actionable ways than most traditional advertising channels.”

Relevant statistics from the report:
  • 50% of gamers have discovered new brands while gaming
  • 47% are more likely to buy from a brand featured in a favorite game
  • 42% bought a product or service recommended or used by a favorite streamer

Gamers in general are valuable because their customer acquisition cost (CAC) is much lower than regular consumers, and their lifetime value (LTV) is higher due in part to their increased loyalty toward brands they enjoy.
How Can Brands Reach Female Gamers?
For brands that are ready to cross the bridge into the gaming world, it’s crucial to understand the territory. As mentioned above, plenty of women are gamers, but they have different motivational drivers than men on average, which leads them to different games and experiences.
Understand Why Women Play Games
Google commissioned a study called The World of Women and Mobile Gaming, which included data from over 3,330 respondents aged 10-65 in the US. The top three answers for why they play games were:
  1. Entertainment
  2. Stress reliever
  3. Restful moment
Additionally, 60% of women said that playing games makes them feel “good.”

A report from Game Haus also explained the social aspect of gaming, which is far more cooperative than competitive:
“Female gamers tend to prefer games that have friendly, supportive and respectful communities, where they can interact with other players, share their creations and experiences, and learn from each other.”

TapTap Builder integration with Ozon Express Pepsi Lays Libresse
Find the Games that Women Play
The Game Haus article mentions that “Female gamers tend to prefer games that are more casual, social, creative and narrative-driven, such as simulation, adventure, puzzle, role-playing and strategy games.”

Minecraft, The Sims 4, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons are among the games highlighted by the author. They all provide safe and fun environments to create, customize, and collaborate with other players.
Offer Something They Want
One of the most important aspects of modern advertising is creating positive associations with your brand. Modern advertising can be incredibly intrusive and disruptive, which gamers don’t want to deal with when they are having fun. Instead, by partnering with the game, you are enhancing players’ experience while raising awareness and driving sales.

For example, a snack food manufacturer could put a QR code in their packaging that would unlock premium items (which normally must be purchased). Additionally, they could include unique branded rewards in the game during the promotional period. These would work together to drive gamers to that product for the reward, and bring the two worlds into one.
Collaboration Mushroom Wars 2 Mobile Game With Burger King PepsiCo
Case Study: Romance Club and X5 Group
Developed by Your Story Interactive, Romance Club is a visual storytelling and interactive fiction game where players make choices that shape the story and lead to multiple endings. The app features two in-game currencies. Diamonds unlock new clothes and hairstyles for your character, as well as additional choices, paths, and scenes. Cups of tea unlock new chapters in each story.

X5 Group, the largest food retailer in the CIS region, collaborated with Romance Club by adding diamonds and cups of tea to their loyalty program rewards. Shoppers can trade their points for these in-game currencies to enhance their gaming experience.

As soon as the collaboration was announced on social media, people responded with comments including:
  • “No wonder I’ve been saving up points all my life!” - Lina
  • “I’ll become a regular customer now” - Daria
  • “Looks like my store budget will soon increase” - Tatyana

The collaboration has led to increases in sales and loyalty program sign-ups.
Romance Club Digital Values as a Part of Loyalty Program of X5 Retail Group
PlayMGT: Helping Brands
Find Gaming Partners
The greatest challenge to brands in reaching female gamers is finding the right game. An ideal partner will align with brand image, and will have a core player base that matches the brand’s target audience.

Specialized firms like Play Management Company (PlayMGT) represent a diverse portfolio of popular games with various demographics and genres. Using their industry expertise and connections, brands are able to establish customized campaigns with global or regional reach with minimal preparation time and a single point of contact from start to finish.

Read More: How to Choose an Ideal Mobile Game for Collaboration

Collaboration campaigns offer several benefits, both immediately and long-term:
  • Target activations with low eCPC
  • Purchases with reduced CAC
  • Valuable customer data for remarketing campaigns
  • Increased app downloads
  • Higher customer lifetime value (CLV)

Discover how your brand can gain the benefits of mobile game collaborations. Reach out to the team at PlayMGT for a free consultation.
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