Tween Girls: The Changing Face of Gaming

Tween Girls: The Changing Face of Gaming

More tween girls are turning to the Web to take quizzes and play social role-playing games, illustrating how a key demographic is paving the way for future gameplay.

A new report by tween gaming platform GirlsgoGames.com’s 7.6 million U.S. site visitors found nearly 50 percent of girls between the ages of 8 and 12 are turning to the Internet for entertainment and social gaming. They are also spending more time once they get there, with monthly playing times doubling from 38 minutes to one hour and 18 minutes.

The news reflects something people have known for some time: girls typically focus on being creative, cultivating friendships and engaging with a community of fans, a trend that is carrying over into adulthood and influencing digital gaming.

Tablets, laptops and mobile devices are replacing yesterday’s cardboard cut-outs and tween celebrity magazines. Girls are using the devices to take quizzes, formerly the domain of the teen beat magazines, and virtually dress up their favorite electronic “paper doll” celebrities in new clothes and makeup.

Not surprisingly, the tween girls and their $260 billion in U.S spending are especially attracted to the social aspects of online gaming and to interactive games where they can share content. Games that involve cooking, dressing up and quizzes topped the list, followed by make-up/makeover and animal games.

The report dovetails with news earlier this year from MocoSpace that more women than men play mobile games and underscores this gaming industry shift may be more substantial and enduring.

The mobile social network’s survey reports more than a quarter of women age 30 and over play mobile games for more than three hours a day, compared to just under 19 percent of men in the same age group, challenging the notion of a “gamer” as a teenage boy hunched over a console controller in a dim basement.

And women, like the girls they once were, are playing social games, fueled in part by the rise in social gaming on smartphones.

Many popular mobile games like “Words With Friends” encourage people to play against others via social networking sites. The social aspect of these games may continue to draw in more women and girls, especially as developers take advantage of the trend and start creating more titles with female players in mind.

The video game industry is taking note of the growth of social gaming reflected in Zynga’s popular Facebook games like “FarmVille” and “CityVille.” These gaming companies will likely continue developing increasingly social mobile games, especially to feed the growing appetites of the “pink” gamer who, as she ages, continues to demand creative and social titles.

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