In a recent report, M2 Research studied female demographics in gaming. The takeaway? Facebook game developers and casual browser game publishers have done what the big three gaming companies and their consoles could never do–bring women to gaming. M2 estimates that 140 million men play PC games, and 130 million women. This nearly 50-50 split is not even approached by the gaming consoles or their networks:
Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime is featured in the report, with Nintendo research that “estimates there are 45 million people playing video games as the primary players in the U.S. Of those, Nintendo is estimating 26% are female, or roughly 11.7 million. Of those, 80% are on the Wii, 11% are on the Xbox 360 and 9% are on the PS3.” The report also quotes Microsoft’s David Dennis on female PC dominance, “Studies have found that in general, most social networks have more female users than male, including Twitter (about 59% female) and Facebook (about 57% female).” Another chart from the report clearly illustrates that women surpass men when it comes to social gaming:
What may be the most surprising figure comes from Will O’Brien, VP of Social Gaming at Big Fish, “Typically, women account for about 60% of all virtual goods transactions.” All of the gaming consoles feature virtual transactions through their networks, but need a larger female audience. With Microsoft and Sony set to release motion control devices later this year, the companies may to attract a broader demographic similar to Nintendo’s base. Whether that will change the gender gap between PCs and game consoles remains to be seen.