In Analytics insights, Free to play, Game monetization

The rapid rise of smartphones has changed the face of the games industry with more players from non-traditional demographics. In 2015 we looked at the role of gender in games and surprisingly found that women represented more than 60% of players.

While this clearly means that games developers need to take into account the preferences of female gamers, looking at more recent data from deltaDNA suggests the opportunity may be much bigger than anyone realized.

It has been known for a while now that women are more likely to own ‘premium’ handsets than men. Looking at just players in the deltaDNA ecosystem 21% of women are using iPhones compared to 15% of men. Similarly, within Android devices, women are more likely to use ‘premium’ handsets (i.e. those that cost more than $300 USD); 34% of women use premium devices vs. 27% of men.

This suggests that women are more invested in mobile platforms than men. The net effect of this is seen when looking at their propensity to spend in-game; across all games tracked by deltaDNA, 4.5% of women spend in games, compared to only 3.3% of men. This results in a total value of $1.57 for each female player vs. $1.09 for every man, and so we can see, women are effectively worth 44% more than men.

These statistics become particularly powerful when the genre preference by gender is considered. The table below shows the gender split across the 4 broad genres we track in deltaDNA.



It is clear that women have a strong preference for puzzle games, while men prefer strategy and action games. Casino games are near gender neutral.

This has powerful implications for mobile game publishers – a female-focused game simply has a much greater chance of being profitable than a male-focused one. Given that women tend to like puzzle and casino games that are also much less expensive to produce and maintain the economics of making male-focused action and strategy games are hard to justify.

While this is the current state on mobile it paints an interesting future for console and PC games. Almost all big ‘tentpole’ game series from major publishers are focused on traditional male genres; FPS (first person shooter) and RPGs (role-play games).

This is in contrast to the ownership rates for console which are approaching gender parity. In the last year we have seen the big titles either skewing back towards puzzle elements (e.g. Mario Odyssey) or making FPS games with female leads (Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted the lost legacy, Overwatch).

Ultimately it is clear that games are for everyone, but publishers who ignore women are actively avoiding the most valuable segment of the games market.

If you have any questions, about the contents of this piece or anything else, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll connect you to the relevant person.
Recent Posts
Showing 7 comments
  • jjthejj

    omg. seriously? most valuable? more bs gender bias op-ed masquerading as a news piece.

    where are your metrics about which gender is more likely to spend actual $$$ in games or game content. If you started there this article would never have been written.

    • Adrian Werner

      Umm..that data is the article. Women are 44% more likely to spend in F2P game on mobile than male gamers.

      • jjthejj

        with absolutely no verifiable or official data to back up that statement.

        “men are 44% more likely to be all outta fucks to give”: look i can say stuff, too.

        • Adrian Werner

          I think you need to pay them for more detailed data breakdown as well as methodology.

          It’s what all analytical companies do. Do you also question NPD sales data?

          • jjthejj

            how could you NOT question data with no source? holy fuck on a stick.

            here’s a great article for you then: female hurricanes more deadly than male hurricanes (another CNN special op ed promoting gender division by title and content with no pesky verifiable ‘facts’ to get in the way).


          • Adrian Werner

            Because that data doesn’t contain anything surprising. Questioning it would be like questining article about how in tech industry more men are employed than women.
            Women have always dominated on casual market, from early PC days, through browser games era and now with mobile. So such article isn’t really surprising. It’s jut putting concrete numbers of stuff everybody knows

          • jjthejj

            i get what you are laying down, but the numbers, aside from being unverified in this article, don’t savvy. They are skewed to fit the narrative, and the percentages cite no origin.

            I actually work in the industry- and here are some facts i CAN agree with: more women play certain KINDS of mobile games, and more men play others. no one is refuting this. And who would, it’s so vague?!?

            but i think you are proving my original point- this article is an op-ed, not journalistic reporting. And likely by a shill promoting analytics.

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search