Half of Tween Gamers Are Girls, But What Kind of Games Are They Playing?
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Thanks to mobile devices and their wide availability, tweens — that is, young people between the ages of eight and 12 — are gaming a lot. And in an interestingly normal bit of news, half of those gamers are girls! It makes total sense, since roughly half of tweens are also girls! According to a survey by the site GirlsGoGames, a solid 50 percent of tween girls are turning to online gaming, whether it’s on the internet at home or a mobile device. Of course, some of those games are what you might say are “catering to gender stereotypes” — makeover, cooking, and dress-up games — but who’s to say that some of those girls aren’t slaying dragons, too?
In case you’re not familiar with GirlsGoGames, it’s owned by Spil Games, based in Amsterdam, and features a hot pink site with a ton of free online games geared towards the most stereotypical “tween girl” stereotype imaginable. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because girls do like makeovers, designing cupcakes, and dressing up. (But it does shed some light on the kids they may have been reaching with their user survey.) Boys do too, but if they’re afraid that getting caught on a hot pink web site that “is for girls,” they might not try their hand at fashion, tween-online-gaming-style. (Doesn’t mean they aren’t playing in the privacy of their own rooms, though, does it?)
Anyway, that aspect of the story out of the way, 7.6 million U.S. visitors were surveyed about the games they preferred, how they played the games (what devices, etc.), and what their favorite parts of the games were. Among the biggest attractions to online games was the social element, the ability to share the gaming experience with others, as well as creating an avatar for role-playing. The most popular genres among the girls surveyed were games about cooking, dressing up, and quizzes as well as makeover games and games that feature animals. (Who doesn’t love animals?) It was also shown that iOS-based devices were more popular than Android devices: “24% own iPads, 19% have iPod Touches and 11% use iPhones.”
And, much like tweens through the decades, today’s tween girls are heavily influenced by celebrities, especially in the paper-doll-inspired dress-up genre of games. The top five, in order from most to least: Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus, and Jennifer Lawrence. I’ll let your collective gasp subside on that last one, now that we know kids are still reading books and seeing movies in addition to playing all those video games. Because not only are there more girl gamers, but they’re gaming longer than before — a survey last year showed girls gaming an average of 38 minutes at a time, now they play for an hour and 18 minutes.
True, the site in question is not the most, um, progressive “site for gamer girls,” their survey doesn’t say that the girls who are gaming are gaming exclusively on their site. The same girl building the perfect wedding cake might be planning a raid that same night.