October 5, 2006 1:48 PM PDT

Women outnumber men in online games, survey finds

While male video gamers still outnumber women 2 to 1, women have the edge in online games, a survey has found.

Of the 117 million active gamers in the U.S., 56 percent play games online. Sixty-four percent of those online gamers are female, according to results of the survey, released by Nielsen Entertainment on Thursday.

The survey defined active gamers as those who are 13 years or older, own at least one game device, and play at least one hour of video games a week. Game devices include game consoles, personal computers and handhelds. Nielsen surveyed 2,200 active gamers online in July.

"The expansion of next-generation hardware and technology in the marketplace is simultaneously delivering new ecosystems of social exchange, interactive entertainment, media experiences and advertising models," Emily Della Maggiora, a senior vice president of Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement.

The survey found that while the casual game segment is growing, casual gamers tend to jump from one free demo to another with little sense of brand loyalty. While banner advertising provides a good revenue stream for the online game providers, gaining brand loyalty and getting people to spend money for subscriptions or downloads will be the key to growing the market, Nielsen researchers found.

Currently, casual gamers spend $9 a month on games. Those playing multiplayer online role-playing games spend an average of $26 a month, while Microsoft Xbox 360 gamers spend $35 a month, the survey found.

Among game console owners, the majority own more than one device or platform--including PCs--for playing video games. Fifty-nine percent own a Sony PlayStation 2. Microsoft was next, with 33 percent owning an Xbox. (Fifteen percent of all active gamers own an Xbox 360, while about 8 percent of active gamers own both an Xbox and an Xbox 360.) Nintendo's GameCube came in third at 30 percent.

Active gamers played an average of 14 hours a week on game consoles and 17 hours on handheld devices like the PlayStation Portable, according to the survey.

Twenty-four percent of active gamers also played on cell phones. Personal computers, however, dominated as the platform of choice.

Sixty-four percent of those who regularly played video games, played on PC-based systems. Just two years ago, according to the Nielsen report, many game industry analysts wondered whether computers would be able to compete with game consoles and handhelds.

Playing video games is also becoming more of a contact sport--sort of. The average gamer spends five hours a week playing games with other people online, while teen gamers spend up to seven hours a week.

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11 comments

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nope
This number is WAY off. It becomes especially obvious when you're talking about games like FFXI and WoW, where the ratio of men to women is something closer to 25:1. Maybe even higher.

"Just two years ago, according to the Nielsen report, many game industry analysts wondered whether computers would be able to compete with game consoles and handhelds."

That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Gaming started on computers. There has -always- been more PCs than console gaming systems in homes. A majority of the top games at any given point are first person shooters for the PC. The two most popular games ever are FFXI and WoW, which are both PC games (yes, I know FFXI is on PS2 and 360, but the vast majority of players are PC).

It looks to me like Nielsen either need to: survey a larger group of people, or just stop wasting everybody's time altogether.
Posted by darkane (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They didn't say MMO's
Look at sims online, look at online card games, online puzzle games. Professional women who play mainstream casual online cardgames on their pc on their lunch break could easily outnumber the population a non-mainstream niche gaming genre like an MMORPG.
Posted by cryforlife (17 comments )
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interesting dev
the trend will probably <a href="http://cognitivelabs.com">accelerate</a>.
Posted by untethered (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
connectivity
The plethora of devices and anywhere connections, coupled with quick access without downloads fuels this growth...


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://cognitivelabs.com" target="_newWindow">http://cognitivelabs.com</a>
Posted by untethered (8 comments )
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Um...
Online games are online games, it's not misleading, rather hardcore gamers are biased toward their particular favorite genre at the expense of casual gaming.
Posted by cryforlife (17 comments )
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surveys
Smaller survey sizes are actually more acurate. Strangely enough the more random the survey is given out the more accurate too. Don't flame me to much if your a Statistics magor and you think I am off base. Anyway I would love to see the methodology for this survey since it was targeted at gamers according to the article.
<br>
But hey, I am a long time single male, online gamer so if there are more women playing, my phone number is xxx-xxxx. Call me. LOL.
Posted by jion (4 comments )
Link Flag
** NEWSFLASH **
Nobody cares.
Posted by supertard (1 comment )
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How did these researchers conduct their survey? Did they ask people in person, face to face... or did they ask them from behind the anonymity of the internet?

Something people from Neilsen have to learn is that lots of MALES play FEMALES in online games. They do it for a variety of reasons. I do it because I don't LIKE looking at a MALE AVATAR. I prefer to look at something I find ATTRACTIVE rather than staring at a male posterior all day (and thanks to the way these games work, for the most part you will be looking at a butt all the time you are playing. I'd rather it be a non-male butt).

Other males have discovered that playing as a woman opens some doors to them. Humans are still very visual beings, and the appearance of the AVATAR does MUCH to influence the behaviour of the participants. All the player need to do is inflect a little bit of role-play and Presto! You have a successful female avatar which fools other players (it doesn't take much to fool other players because of the visual basis. They are SEEING a female avatar. All it takes is a little additional clever dialogue and behaviour and your illusion is complete).

The other nonsense in the survey is the "surprise" that the COMPUTER is the most popular platform. I mean, comon, guys. Read up on the history of games before you do a survey like this and stop behaving like games only came into existence in 1998 or something, OK?

So, essentially, I call ******** on this survey. Sorry, I'm sure some people worked hard on it, but... you people FAILED MISERABLY. Your data is worthless because you failed to account for people LYING on the survey... and it seems your past data on "gaming platform popularity" is based around a complete disregard for knowing your subject.
Posted by beverins1 (1 comment )
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OFFLINE GAME PUT ONLINE IS NOT AN ONLINE GAME. There is no multiplayer cooperative nature in many of the games in this survey. Its the same false as cooking a turkey and stuffing at home then taking it to macdonalds and saying you ordered turkey and stuffing from macdonalds. Those offline games are merely STORED online, they do not require at all any constant data sending. For the sake of reasoning its probably even better if you exclude all browser games from the mix since those statistics would be extremely flawed since the internet is unending where as games aren't.
Posted by h4mx0r (1 comment )
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