Women: Valuable Social…. Gamers?

Once again, a study shows that women are more valuable than men in the social networking space. Visa-owned PlaySpan has found that women are more likely than men to buy virtual items in social games than men, especially Facebook games:

Women outspend males in virtual goods purchases in MMOs with an average spend of $111 vs. $74 (when purchasing directly from the game maker) and $86 vs. $77 (when purchasing from a third party source)

I was surprised when I first read the TechCrunch and the Business Journal that discussed these findings, but after doing some of my own research I realized these numbers aren’t shocking at all, in fact they make perfect sense. The TechCrunch article fails to mention that the average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman! PopCap’s 2010 Social Gaming Research gives a detailed overview of the social gaming space; they found that 38% of the women who play social games play multiple times a day (vs. 29% of males) and that women are more likely than men to play social games with real-world friends and family:

  Women are also more likely to play social games with their real-world friends than men are (68 percent vs. 56 percent) and are nearly twice as likely as men to play social games with relatives (46 percent vs. 29 percent). The vast majority (95 percent) of social gamers play multiple times per week, and nearly two-thirds play at least once a day

Other interesting facts (via PopCap & Gigaom):

  • Facebook is by far the most popular destination for social gamers, with 83 percent of those surveyed saying they play games there, compared with 24 percent who play on MySpace, 7 percent on Bebo and 5 percent on Friendster.
  • Social gamers spend 39 percent of their time on social networking sites/services playing games, compared with chatting with/messaging friends (17 percent) and playing solo games (15 percent). Nearly half (49 percent) said that when they connect to social networks, they do so specifically to play social games.
  • The most popular games are Farmville (69 percent of those who play it say they play once a week or more), Bejeweled (65 percent say once a week or more), Texas Hold’em Poker (63 percent) and Cafe World (61 percent).
  • A little over half (53 percent) of social gamers say they’ve earned and/or spent virtual currency in a game, but only 28 percent have purchased virtual currency with real-world money and only 32 percent have purchased a virtual gift.

So, it makes sense that companies like LimeLife and cable channel Oxygen are entering the interactive-gaming space.. And that companies like Zynga are, in fact, extremely profitable! Knowing all of this to be true… Why doesn’t the tech-savvy female world translate into having more successful female entrepreneurs in the tech space?!

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