Online Media Daily says that in a Denizens of Digitivity survey, 44% of women said that they owned a gaming console, compared to 39% of men. The stereotype of the American gamer — 18-34, male, single and white — is not necessarily on target, claims the report. Between the Wii, Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo DS, there's a a rise in the female gamer. "The Wii has really caused a democratization of gaming, because that has opened it up to all generations and both genders," said Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT.
But for some women, gaming isn't new. This writer had a childhood shaped in part by Ms. Pacman and Intellivision's Burgertime. Later, Yoshi's Island, then Tomb Raider and Resident Evil were major obsessions. These days, according to Mack, "You're seeing women playing games like 'Dance Dance Revolution' and 'Guitar Hero'—women under 35 who want to do something fun and social."
Except gaming is not always social. There are women who like to hole up and escape inside of a game just like the guys do. (One of them happens to be my mom, who's addicted to the game Bubbles inside her Motorola Q.)
But this is about marketing dollars. And the budget doesn't go toward advertising to women, says Mack. "The money is where the hardcore gamers are. They're the ones who are really passionate about it and the ones who are going to go out and buy the beta version in order to be part of the next 'Halo' game," she explains. "But more and more, as these consumers groups open up, [marketers] will focus on these growing segments." Fine with us — as long as they don't feel they have to make the console pink.