Study: Examining the Gender Preferences of Free-to-Play Mobile Games

A new report from deltaDNA examines gender preferences for four game genres: action, strategy, puzzle and social casino.

Analytics and marketing platform deltaDNA has revealed new data measuring gender preferences relating to free-to-play mobile games. The data examined four overall game genres (action, strategy, puzzle and social casino) and ten specific game types, including first person shooter (FPS), role-playing game (RPG), infinite runner and match-three games.

The data was collected from over nine million free-to-play mobile gamers, and found males prefer action and strategy games, while women prefer puzzle and social casino games. Specifically, the report found the user base for action games is 75 percent male, while the user base for strategy games is 68 percent male. For puzzle and social casino games, the user base is 82 percent and 61 percent female, respectively.

In terms of specific game types, the report found less than 10 percent of first person shooter players are female, while only 22 percent of match-three gamers are male.

When breaking down the social casino genre, different types of games were found to be preferred by different users. To be specific, the report found 62 percent of social slots players are female, while 68 percent of poker players are male. The user base for fantasy sports games is also dominated by male players, with just eight percent of users being female.

In a statement, deltaDNA CEO Mark Robinson commented:

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.

The report found one of the only ‘gender neutral’ game types is the infinite runner, with 52 percent of players of infinite runner games being male and 48 percent being female. DeltaDNA attributes this to the use of gender-neutral main characters in infinite runner games, like the animal characters in Crossy Road (pictured) or Flappy Bird, as examples, which appeal to male and female players equally.

DeltaDNA’s full data is available here.