FairWin - What do female gamers want?
What attracts them in games and how it affects video game development trends
It has long been known that women form the majority of mobile game players. Studies show that their favorite genres are puzzles, strategies, quizzes, “find hidden objects”, social slots and gambling. In addition, role-playing games, mostly of the fantasy genre, are popular among the beautiful half of players.
The reason why some games are preferred by men and others by women lies in psychology. Women rarely play shooters not because they lack reaction or speed, but because they do not see the point in missions such as rescuing hostages, capturing an enemy bunker or killing a boss. It is more interesting for them to carry out tasks if they know that in the end they will be able to get something for it (useful items, artifacts, resources) or in order to protect what is already there — a castle, a fortress, a city, etc. In games, women try to express themselves through creation and development. This is the secret of the popularity of MMOs and strategies, where most of the mechanics are focused on resource extraction, plant cultivation, city construction and protection, empire building, etc.
Another moment that affects the success of games among girls is social interaction. Since girls are focused on relationships with people, their empathy and intuition are better developed, they are more perceptive, so they are attracted to social elements in games: the ability to interact with other players or characters, be it to get information, manage something or build relationships.
One more aspect — time. It is believed that women spend less time on games. In fact, it is not true. Women, like men, tend to relieve stress with games, but prefer to do this with casual games that do not require much immersion and help to divert between everyday activities.
Another interesting fact is that there are quite a lot of slots on the top “female” games list. For a long time it was believed that gambling is the lot of men. But online slots are loved by a predominantly female audience. Thanks to their simple, almost primitive mechanics, slots help you relax, secondly, you can play slots wherever and whenever you want, and if you are forced to distract from the game, you can easily do it, returning later to where you left off. Thirdly, slots and gambling give a sense of satisfaction, like all casual games in general. Performing small tasks and getting rewards for this gives you a feeling of comfort and helps to cope with stress.
When choosing a game, girls are more inclined to focus on beautiful pictures. The graphics, atmosphere and plot are often more important for them than game mechanics, although only gameplay can keep a player in the game.
Statistics show that mobile games with a female audience are more profitable than men-oriented games. In the past few years, it has become obvious that not only mobile game developers, but AAA developers, too, try to meet the expectations of both men and women.
For example, players note that the latest video game blockbuster Red Dead Redemption 2 was surprisingly very narrative, if not meditative. The main thing in this game is not its gameplay, but the graphics and the interaction of the player with the amazingly open world. This is what the team worked on most carefully and what the developers deliberately draw the player’s attention to, to the point that in certain places they deliberately do not allow him to run quickly or drive so that the player could notice the surroundings, enjoy the views or talk to characters. Simply put, appreciate those game elements whose creation took a fantastic amount of money and the efforts of hundreds of people.
Witcher 3, too, in many ways turned out to be “gender-neutral.” It feels that the developers tried to please both the male and female audiences. In contrast to the previous parts, the third Witcher features a detailed open world and many side quests that can be obtained by interacting with other non-playable characters, viewing bulletin boards, searching corpses, etc. The developers also added some quest elements here — the player needs to carefully examine the environment, collect evidence and communicate with characters in search of information. In terms of gameplay and game mechanics, the game resembles Dark Souls and Bloodborne: the player is required to evade enemy attacks, parry blows and attack on time.
The enthusiasm of major developers for the environment and graphics development is caused, among other things, by the desire to reach a wider audience. If earlier, video game developers designed their products mainly for male players, because they made up a significant part of gamers, now they have to focus on the needs of the female audience so that their games sell well. I think that the future of mainstream development is in the creation of “universal” games that combine elements that are attractive to players of different ages, genders, etc. This trend is already noticeable in the latest AAA games and will get stronger over time.