deltaDNA Research Reveals Diverse Gender Preferences Within Free-to-Play Mobile Games

Nov 18, 2015, 04:00 ET from deltaDNA

SAN FRANCISCO and EDINBURGH, Scotland, November 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

New data from nine million mobile game players affirms some traditional assumptions while revealing wild disparities  

New data released today from game analytics and marketing platform deltaDNA, reveals that while some traditional assumptions of gender preference within games hold true, wild disparity and contradiction exists within different genres and game types.

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The data from the deltaDNA platform, which has been collected from over nine million free-to-play mobile game players, reveals gender preferences across four key game genres - action, strategy, puzzle, and social casino, and ten game types including first person shooter, role playing games, infinite runner, and match three games.

    Game genre                  Male           Female
    Action                      75%            25%
    Strategy                    68%            32%
    Puzzle                      18%            82%
    Social casino               39%            61%

The split within each genre may by as expected for some; for example, the traditionally masculine Action genre features a sizable male bias of 75%. However, the gender split can widely differ when we start to look at different game types within each genre.

First person shooters (FPS) have less than 10% female players, while infinite runner games have a near even split (48% female). Similarly, role playing games (RPGs), within the strategy category, have only 22% female players, while builder style games have 39% female players.

    Game type                   Male           Female
    First person shooter        90%            10%
    Infinite runner             52%            48%
    Role playing game           78%            22%
    Builder style games         61%            39%
    Match three games           22%            78%
    Hidden object               11%            89%
    Poker                       68%            32%
    Fantasy sports              92%            8%
    Social slots                38%            62%

While some may argue this reflects an innate preference, it is quite clear that many games have been deliberately tailored to appeal to one gender. This has led to criticism being aimed at FPS and RPG games with predominantly male avatars for not considering a female audience. Similarly, many puzzle games utilize signals that are seen as not being masculine.

Interestingly, the data shows the infinite runner game type as one of the only categories to feature an even gender split. As one of the only 'gender neutral' genres of game, the gender of characters within these games tends to be ambiguous, thus appealing to male and female players equally. DeltaDNA CEO Mark Robinson stated, "This may have a strong bearing on why games like Flappy Bird and Crossy Road become successful overnight.

"Creating a game that appeals to everyone is hard, especially in the brutal free-to-play marketplace, which is why developers often choose a targeted approach.

"In an age where each install can cost several dollars in acquisition spend, experimenting with the use of gender signals might seem like a risky strategy. However, broadening the appeal of your game to both genders could pay dividends for publishers and developers in the long run."

About deltaDNA 

DeltaDNA improves player engagement and lifetime value in free-to-play games. Its platform uses advanced data mining and predictive modelling to identify and segment different player behaviors. Through this insight, players can be individually targeted in real-time. Personalized experiences are created that increase retention and revenues.

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Stephen Green