Girls in Thailand lead emergence of female mobile gamers

Research from Buzz City follows nicely on from yesterday’s post – women are more addicted to social networks – with a range of data on mobile gaming including statistics which show Thailand has one of the highest proportion of female mobile gamers anywhere in the world.

First, a little background….

Online gaming is huge in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand were youngsters will spend days and nights camped out in high-street internet cafes playing online multiplayers games with friends and others online.

Online gaming is a big reason behind the growth of Facebook in Southeast Asia. The multiplayer options – which allows gamers to compete and collaborate with fellow Facebook users – was instrumental in spreading word of members across young gamers in the region, who signed up in order to game with their pals. Once most members of peer groups were on Facebook, they began exploring other features, such as photo sharing and communication, and Facebook usurped and overtook previously dominantant social networks, which was Hi5 in Thailand.

What is interesting about Facebook is that it opens gaming up to new audiences and beyond the stereotypical male teenager, now girls, women and even old ladies (as blogged here) can get social gaming fever on Facebook.

Mobile, however, is a platform that is growing in Asia (ties into another post from yesterday) with mobile gaming an equally nascent market, which huge potential to grow in terms of usage and revenue for operators, content providers and third parties.

From the Buzzcity announcement:

Growing number of female and mature mobile gamers

Although the typical gamer is male in his mid twenties, at least 29 per cent of mobile gamers are female. In many markets, female mobile gamers are on the increase – in the US and Thailand, 49 per cent of gamers are female and in South Africa women make up 47 per cent of the gaming population.

The reports also revealed an increasing number of mature mobile gamers. In the US 12 per cent of gamers are above 40. In South Africa and Malaysia, gamers above 40 make up 19 per cent 8 per cent respectively.  This clearly shows that popular association of cellphones and mobile gaming with younger age groups can be misleading.

While KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity provides some thoughts:

“Mobile gaming has gone mainstream and there’s a clear need to address specific demographics.”

So according to Buzz City, girls in Thailand are amongst the most hardened female mobile gamers on the planet while the older generation in Malaysia is leading the way on mobile game playing across the world.

To paraphrase KF Lai somewhat, the shift in non-stereotypical gamers on mobile is down to more diverse and widely appealing game content. Though shoot ’em ups and fighting games exist, the Zynga-isation of gaming, through the popularity of universally appealing Zynga titles like Restaurant City and Farmville, is the primary trigger for this change.