“Moms don’t play video games.” Or do they? The idea that video games are only played and enjoyed by men is a common misconception when it comes to gamers, fed in part by the stereotype of gamers as young headset-wearing males playing in their parents' basement.
But moms do play video games. And what’s more, they love playing them and see gaming as an important part of their lives.
Historically, women gamers, and especially mums, have been written out of the narrative around gaming. The discourse around women and gaming has typically focused on mobile phones. This behavior, deemed casual gaming, has given the sense that women were not true "gamers". Images in the media reinforce the idea that mums are a particular kind of player, usually women playing casual games in their downtime. In these stories, their gaming was a novelty, and they certainly were not considered to be part of the broader gaming community.
Gamer moms are most certainly not in the minority. Research from Activision Blizzard Media revealed that over two-thirds of moms play video games. Yet of this group, only 48 percent of mom gamers actually describe themselves as gamers.
The growth of mobile gaming has increased the accessibility of gaming for women, lowering the barrier to entry by removing the need to purchase additional hardware to play and making it easy to discover new titles. Over 90 percent of gamer mums play mobile games at least weekly, and about 74 percent play mobile games daily.
However, focusing exclusively on mobile gaming doesn’t tell the full story, as gamer moms are not only playing on their phones. The majority of gamers are playing on mobile and at least one other platform (console or PC). They’re spending many hours each week playing games, including big Triple-A action2 and MMORPG3 titles, and 61 percent of these multi-platform mums self-identify as gamers.
Just as there is no typical ‘gamer’, there is no typical ‘gamer mom.’ The segment is made up of a rich kaleidoscope of women with different motivations and preferences for games. While some moms, particularly mobile-only moms, see gaming as a mostly solitary activity which they enjoy playing on their phone, others view it as a social activity that helps them stay close to their family and friends. Multi-platform moms are connected to other players inside and outside of their homes.
The purchasing power of moms has long been recognized by brands, but reaching them hasn’t always been clear-cut. Gaming represents a unique opportunity for brands to tap into the key household decision-makers when they are highly engaged, receptive to advertising and in a positive mindset. Increasingly, brands are becoming aware of the value of the gamer mom audience and the accessibility to reach and influence this core consumer.
Research Methodology: Activision Blizzard Media, in partnership with independent research agency Alter Agents, conducted a quantitative research study among 25-54 year-old women who have at least one child at home under the age of 18. The online-based study surveyed 4,002 gamer moms and 3,200 non-gamer moms, split equally across the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The methodology, questionnaire and analysis were conducted by Alter Agents.
To stand out among mobile gamers, advertising needs to successfully replicate the satisfaction and immersion that players have come to expect from their gaming experiences. In response, advertising strategies have evolved beyond traditional methods, leading to significant opportunities for brands who understand the expectations of mobile gaming audiences.
The success of mobile gaming ad campaigns hinges on partnering with a reputable game studio and meeting players' expectations for premium ad formats. But not all games or studios are created equal. Players consider graphic quality, enjoyment, and challenge when choosing a premium mobile game, with thoughts on the accompanying ads also influencing their choice.
Activision Blizzard Media recently presented our newest research, Premium By Design, to our advertising industry colleagues at Advertising Week Europe and Campaign UK’s Media360 event. There, we took to the stage to further educate advertisers and brands on the power of gaming in reaching engaged audiences.