Women Gamers Outnumber Men?

One of the common statistics often cited by video game industry trade groups is that the average age of a gamer nowadays is around 30 years old. What you might not know, however, is that among game players between the ages of 25 and 34, women far outnumber men, according to a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (as reported in The New York Times).

The CEA study found that 65 percent of women in the 25-34 age bracket play video games, while only 35 percent of men in that group said that they play video games. Apparently, the key factor involved with these findings is the increasing popularity of casual games, especially among women.

Women were found to be slightly less likely than men in the 25-34 bracket to play traditional console games on systems like the PlayStation 2 or Xbox, while they gravitated more heavily towards simple types of games like Tetris or other puzzle games and card games like solitaire. These casual titles are typically found on web portals like Yahoo!, AOL Games, PopCap Games, EA's Pogo.com and elsewhere.

Steve Koenig, a senior analyst at the Consumer Electronics Association, said that the CEA study did not specifically ask women why they preferred casual games, but he explained that unlike traditional console video games, casual titles are generally "nonviolent, and are not necessarily supercompetitive against other players."

Although most casual games are played online on the PC, the console hardware makers realize that there's much opportunity in catering to the casual market. Xbox Live Arcade already offers a number of simpler titles that may appeal to the casual crowd and Arcade's library is expected to grow throughout the year. When Sony launches its PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network Platform service, there's a good chance that they will offer casual titles for download as well.

And not only will Nintendo offer classic titles for download through the Revolution's virtual console, but they will also have original games and it wouldn't be surprising to see a number of casual offerings, especially from Nintendo. Of the three hardware makers Nintendo is the only company that has gone out of its way to create unique titles for "non-gamers" and gamers outside of the typical core market — e.g. Nintendogs and Brain Age. With games like these and the simple, intuitive Revolution control scheme, it's clear that Nintendo is looking to leverage the casual market.

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