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Women and gaming

Women and gaming

I recently had a conversation with top executives from AirMedia, a developer and publisher of mobile entertainment software, and SkillJam, an online gaming site, and was at first surprised to learn that the majority of casual gamers are women--65 percent of them, in fact--and that the median age is 37. Of course, my shock quickly dissipated when I considered what exactly constitutes a casual game...we're not talking console games here, for which the audience is still 18- to 24-year-old males. Casual games refer to such classics as Bejeweled, Solitaire, and FreeCell. Essentially, they're the puzzle, card, and (less frequently) word games played on the PC, usually online. These are the distractions that can be played in 10 minutes or half an hour--indeed, data indicates a prime time for playing is during lunch--rather than the more intensive role-playing and shoot-'em-up games that appeal to the young male crowd. The significance of this data to me is, for the time being, minimal. I'm a few levels beyond casual in my gaming (my favorites: THUG and GTA Vice City for PS2, and Mercury and Hot Shots for PSP), and my premonition of groovy games geared for grrls won't be realized as a result of such data. Instead, you can expect that many more casual games will soon be available for your cell phones, so these gaming companies can keep you playing away from the desk. But, hey, I do take public transportation every day, so I'm all for mobile distraction.