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Mobile study reveals F2P gender preferences

FPS titles 90% male, hidden object 90% female, says DeltaDNA

A study of nine million mobile free-to-play gamers has shown the vast gender disparity between players of various genres of game, with some splits trending as much as 90 per cent in favour of a particular gender.

The report, from DeltaDNA, sampled the playing habits of nine million mobile gamers, revealing that many of the established stereotypes about playing behaviour seem to hold true in terms of gender bias, something which holds even as genres are broken down more specifically.

Game genre Male players Female players
Action 75% 25%
Strategy 68% 32%
Puzzle 18% 82%
Social Casino 39% 61%
Game genre Male players Female players
First person shooter 90% 10%
Infinite runner 52% 48%
Role playing game 78% 22%
Builder style games 61% 39%
Match Three 22% 78%
Hidden Object 11% 89%
Poker 68% 32%
Fantasy Sports 92% 8%
Social Slots 38% 62%

Of course, there could well be an element of chicken and egg to the market division. Established genres which have traditionally been largely designed for and marketed to a particular genre, and those which are least divided are often advertised relatively neutrally, but that could also be a consequence of the content itself. In the expensive and cut throat world of mobile user acquisition, it might not pay to stray too far from received wisdom, says DeltaDNA CEO Mark Robinson.

"This may have a strong bearing on why games like Flappy Bird and Crossy Road become successful overnight. Creating a game that appeals to everyone is hard, especially in the brutal free-to-play marketplace, which is why developers often choose a targeted approach. "In an age where each install can cost several dollars in acquisition spend, experimenting with the use of gender signals might seem like a risky strategy. However, broadening the appeal of your game to both genders could pay dividends for publishers and developers in the long run."