Michael Fedor is head of analytics at US developer and publisher, Pocket Gems
Mobile games have broad appeal, low barrier-to-entry, and a wider availability than ever before.
Given these facts, it's no surprise that data shows [ESA PDF] it's about a 50/50 split between male and female mobile gamers.
However, mobile gaming can have a lot of nuances. Although mobile gamers inherently have a lot in common, any two people can be vastly different kinds of players.
There have been some studies carried out about the differences between male and female gamers. Harris Interactive found that habits in competition, sharing, and payment are different between men and women.
At Pocket Gems, we looked into our own player data and found some other noticeable differences as well. To do this, we analyzed international playing habits from some of our more popular games, like Tap Paradise Cove.
Primarily, we found that men are more likely to game on the go than women. This conclusion comes from two different data points.
Women play more on tablets than men
One data set we examined was the type of devices our players use and how they're broken up among sexes.
For the purpose of this study, we focused on players who use Apple products.
The most significant thing to notice from these stats is that women tend to play more frequently on iPads. Specifically, 53 percent of all our female players primarily play on some kind of iPad. Only about 39 percent of men use an iPad to game on.
Crunch the numbers and we find that men are 26 percent less likely to be playing on an iPad than women.
Also worth noting is that high-end iPads (iPad Retina or better) are the most gamed-on tablets we see among our players.
Women outplay men on high-end iPads by 20 percent, low-end iPads (iPad 1 or 2) by 29 percent, and iPad Minis by 38 percent.
Our male players prefer to play on iPhones. Not accounting for iPods, 60 percent of our male players use some kind of iPhone. Only 46 percent of our female players play on an iPhone.
For those of you keeping score, men are about 24 percent more likely to be playing on some kind of iPhone.
While tablets are certainly mobile, past studies have shown they're more likely to be used at home instead of a bus or coffee shop line. It would be reasonable to assume from this data that women are less likely than men to play games on the move.
This is further supported by our following data point.
Women are more likely to play on a WiFi connection than men
Looking at all of our female players, 84 percent of them primarily play on a WiFi connection. This is almost 11 percent more than men, of which 75 percent play games using a WiFi
Both sexes, however, prefer to play on WiFi over a mobile network.
25 percent of men play on a mobile connection where 16 percent of women use a mobile connection (36 percent less than men.)
To look even deeper into this, we tried pulling the hours of the day when men and women are most actively gaming.
While the results were interesting, they don't significantly support the rest of the findings.
If we break the average day up into morning and evening, we see that men are seven percent more likely to play in the morning. We also see that women are five percent more likely to play in the afternoon/evening.
The time of the day when men and women play most actively is 6:00 pm. Women play games more frequently than men at this time but only by about 0.44 percent.
The second biggest spike in gaming activity comes at 6:00 am. Men are more active than women by about 0.13 percent at this time.
At all other hours of the day, playing habits of men and women pretty much sync up.
An oversimplified way to interpret this data would be that men tend to play more actively before starting their day and women play more while unwinding after their day is over.
While this data is more topical than actionable, there are some takeaways to keep in mind.
If developers find that their game demographics tend to skew more male or female, it should inform how they create and evolve their games.
For example, if a developer sees that their player base is largely male, they may want to time content updates to be earlier in the day when more players will see them.
If they see their players skew female, they may want to consider optimizing their game graphics for tablets over smartphones.
One great thing about mobile games is there's no right or wrong way to play them. If you want to bang out a power-hour play session at home on a tablet, that's great. If you want to knock out a few minutes while waiting for a bus home, that's fine too.
While it does appear the different sexes have different play habits, mobile-gaming has a play-style for everyone.