Mobile is unique among gaming platforms for many reasons, with just one being the prevalence of female gamers: More than 50% of mobile gamers are women, and these gamers contribute nearly 30% of total mobile gaming revenue.
Several genres - including otome (dating sims), idol and decoration - have historically been favoured by women gamers, and occupy an important position in both the bestselling and download charts, according to Sensor Tower data.
Revenue from in-app purchases in games favoured by women reached an all-time high of $17.6 billion in 2021, during the heat of the pandemic. From January to August 2023 these games generated revenue in excess of $11.2 billion, with full-year revenue predicted to close back in on pandemic highs and exceed $16 billion.
Female gamers in the USA have proven to be particularly high-value customers, with revenue for mobile games favoured by women accounting for $5.5 billion between January and August 2023 - 46% of the total. Japanese games in the category accounted for 17% at $1.5 billion.
Puzzle games proved particularly popular among female gamers, with the genre accounting for 48% of revenue among games preferred by women in the USA, and 39% in Japan.
Games with money and treasure themes emerged as the most popular with women in America. In Japan, Otome and idol games emerged as the top themes, accounting for 19% and 11% of the total revenue among games preferred by women.
The power of female gamers
In the USA, eight out of the top 10 mobile games by revenue from January to August 2023 were favoured by women. Candy Crush emerged as the most popular with $470 million in revenue. Notably, the iOS market in the USA has a female user ratio of around 68%.
In Japan, meanwhile, six of the top 10 games preferred by female gamers were puzzle titles, with a further three being music games. World Project continued to hold its position at the top of the charts. Only one midcore title, shooter Knives Out, made the top 10 in Japan, with the rich gameplay and social aspects driving it to third place.
IDOLiSH7-Idol Star Wish- has also proven to be particularly successful among female gamers in Japan, with 70% of its players in the country being women. As of August 2023, the game has exceeded global lifetime revenues of $270 million.
And notably, World Project generated $150 million between January and August, putting it in pole position in the global mobile music game charts by revenue. With a 61% increase in revenue, it emerged as publisher Sega’s highest-grossing mobile title for the period.
In March, a GameHose study found that 74% of women play mobile games daily.