Recently, I was watching the news, and a recent study found that more and more women are starting to play videogames. It may, however, not be in the way you expect. Women tend to play more iPhone app games than men. Though not considered true videogames, this shows that women are starting to take part in this once male-dominated hobby.
After I saw this news segment, I reflected a little bit on this study. Some surveys show that games are the most commonly used feature on cell phones. So, it’s no surprise that an app like “Angry Birds” sold so many downloads. Studies show that more women buy Angry Birds merchandise than men, which shows the tremendous female fan base that Angry Birds has.
Apparently, this has been the most diverse change in women gamers since 2007. This, ironically, is the year after the Wii came out.
I believe mobile apps are more popular because of their convenience. Whenever someone is bored, he or she can just whip out his or her Smartphone and immediately start up a game of Temple Run. Systems such as the Xbox are accessible at home, but phones are always in your pocket.
Another deciding factor in playing a phone game is money. Video games these days are expensive. A brand new game could run from $50 depending on anticipation for the game and the publisher’s popularity. For example, Words with Friends is a free app, which a great deal considering the amount of money that one can pay for a smartphone.
Phone gaming has also been the new method of killing time. If one is at an airport waiting for their flight, he or she could open up an app and start playing a game. People have started shifting away from book reading at airports to playing a game on their Smartphones.
Women may also be playing more on their Smart Phones because it could be a form of communication. In a game like Draw Something, people can play with friends who also have SmartPhones. Even though one is only drawing a picture, it still can be a form of fun communication with a friend. One is still connecting to a friend through a videogame, which is similar to how some men bond with their friends.
Along with the social aspect, it could be considered as a form of entertainment among guests. If a bunch of friends are just hanging out, people might challenge one another to see who gets a higher score. Fruit Ninja could be an example of this. Friends could compete to see who gets the higher score.
Some may argue that all of this is not even considered gaming. In my opinion, they are games. Although they are not traditional gaming systems that Sony or Nintendo would make, it still is a form of entertainment.
Some games like Plants vs. Zombies have been formed into Nintendo DS and PC games in order to appeal to the gaming world. Chances are that true fans of the game will switch over to the other consoles. This proves that mobile apps can be a gateway to other gaming platforms.
This study is a major improvement and may eventually break away the “Girl Gamer” stereotype. Women will finally be considered actual gamers and no longer need the feminine title as a support. Females have always been gamers, and maybe finally they can earn the respect they deserve.
Rachel Arlin can be reached at [email protected]