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The Rise Of Female Gamers And What It Means For Online Casinos

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


The Rise Of Female Gamers And What It Means For Online Casinos
The Rise Of Female Gamers And What It Means For Online Casinos

KATYA MACHUGANOVA


Forbes Women4Technologies 2023 | iGaming & Digital Media Professional | Games Producer Graduate | ISTQB Certified Quality Assurance Specialist | Master in Digital Media and Video Games | Studying Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer | Product Owner at Silverback gaming | Mother of two girls The rise of female gamers and what it means for online casinos


The rise of female gamers has been meteoric, and this group now makes up a significant chunk of the global player audience. They are also taking esports and Twitch by storm as gaming becomes more culturally acceptable and video game studios create content they actually want to play and stream to others.

This change in landscape is having an impact on the gambling sector, too, with operators wanting to engage female players and deliver the experiences they are seeking. Slot studios are now having to adjust their development roadmaps to take this shift into account and provide their partners with the slots they need to draw female players to their brands.

This is an exciting moment for the wider industry, opening it up to a new player audience and

presenting both studios and casinos with opportunities.

To learn more, we sat down with Katya Machuganova, Product Owner at Silverback Gaming. What has driven the rise of female gamers? Has this always been a large and significant player group?

In recent years, the gaming industry has been through something of a shift due to the increasing influence of female gamers. Studios and operators want to engage this audience but to do so, they must provide the games and experiences they are seeking.

Understanding this surge in influence means delving into the historical context of female gaming, where societal changes, enhanced accessibility to gaming platforms, and the evolving gaming culture have played pivotal roles in fostering a more inclusive gaming community. According to a report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 48% of individuals who play games today identify as female. This marks a substantial cultural transformation that extends into the realm of online slots.

The driving force behind this is primarily rooted in the growing socio-cultural acceptance of gambling.


Has this resulted in more females playing online slot games, too?


The rise of female gamers has indeed translated into a more extensive player base for online slot games. Official survey data on gambling participation in the land-based world shows a consistent female player base of 41%-43%, mirroring the numbers for males within the range of 41% and 50%.

While participation is consistent across genders in traditional gambling, online activities see a slight difference, with the highest group of players being younger (aged 35-44). Nevertheless, an increasing trend of older players transitioning to online platforms is also happening and given the near 50/50 gender split, this ultimately means more females are playing online slot games.


How do female player preferences differ from male preferences? What themes/mechanics appeal to this audience?

The motivations for female players are different, and this is often driven by social and cultural

pressures. Seeking an escape, they explore easily accessible forms of entertainment that bring fun and excitement intelligently, with the opportunity to potentially win big acting as the final spark.

Women often engage in solitary gambling activities, finding relaxation in gaming. Their preference for mobile gaming is notable, with one in two female players favoring mobile devices over a desktop or laptop. The desire for customization, storytelling, and in-game comfort is strong, contrasting with men who may be more financially motivated when it comes to deciding which games to play.

Women favour consistent themes and characters, and shy away from aggressive or provocative content.


Do video games influence slot design in this regard? If so, how?


Video games, with their dualistic nature, play a significant role in shaping contemporary

sociocultural dynamics and this in turn impacts slot design. The increasing presence of women creating gaming content is also influencing slot development. Leading technology companies are introducing exclusive female gaming product lines, indicating a shift in search demand trends.

However, the emphasis is on thoughtful design rather than stereotypical approaches, avoiding "pink-washing" and inappropriate characterizations.


As a studio, how do you ensure you have the expertise required to develop games that appeal to female players?


Our studio remains at the forefront of online content by staying informed about market trends, industry insights, and global creative preferences. We prioritise experimentation, diversity within our team, and customer feedback. Apart from gender, identifying the type of player we are targeting and understanding the demographic and cultural aspects of the market are crucial. With the rise of social gaming and technology, player preferences have been constantly changing. Female leaders within the industry are also leaving their mark on game design and the design of female-oriented products that better serve a diverse audience.


How are these games helping operators reach new audiences and drive growth?


Both females and males appreciate good-quality games. Diversifying game portfolios to align with female preferences allows operators to stay ahead of competitors, appealing to both female and male players. This attention to the female audience becomes a strategic advantage, especially in online casinos aiming to provide fresh and innovative content.


In an era where the average player is around 33 years old, capturing the trends in gaming, especially in the younger demographic (35-44 years of age), is crucial for sustained growth, particularly in social casinos and simulated gaming where gamification is integral to the design on both game and platform levels, but with a tendency to spread across traditional real money gaming.

Any final thoughts?


Women are seldom considered a priority group for gambling harm prevention activities or research.

A gendered approach to gambling harm prevention, considering women's unique experiences and needs, is essential in gambling research, policy, and prevention activities. There is a need for wider availability of support for women by women, addressing the lack of awareness and support in public health initiatives. I hope that the required research and support will be forthcoming in the near future.

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