Though the mobile industry has successfully marketed specific phone features towards women, for example, the Samsung Egeo, the mobile app industry continues to lag behind the rapidly growing market of female mobile gamers. Studies show that there are currently more female mobile gamers than male mobile gamers – a point the mobile app industry began adapting to later this year. However, despite some changes, mobile app markets, like the App Store, have not adequately scaled themselves to meet the changing demographic profile of mobile gamers.
In March 2009, one third of the games available in the App Store were action themed and catered mainly towards male consumers. By July 2009, the number of games on offer had doubled. Puzzle games had become the largest genre, accounting for 16.4 per cent of the App Store’s games, with action and arcade titles trailing behind with 11.2 per cent and 11.1 percent respectively.
As the number of apps in the App Store soared past the 100,000 mark, mobile app developers slightly shifted their target markets creating more gender-neutral hit games such as Wheel of Fortune and Trism. However, the shift has been slow, and the App Store continues to overlook the market potential of female mobile gamers.
Canadian and US women rank Apple as their favorite technology brand and ranked the iPhone and iPod Touch as their second favorite portable gaming device, after the Nintendo DS. Apple has a stronghold on the mindshare of the female consumer, particularly in the mobile marketspace, but it has yet to completely take advantage of this mobile game market opportunity. Not all female groups are quick to pick up the iPhone though. A survey of US mobile gamers indicates that there are more female mobile gamers than male mobile gamers between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four.
If the App Store targeted these particular female mobile gamer demographics, they could solidify their place as the leading mobile games market. The App Store’s success relies on their ability to play to growing market demands and how they counter the flack they’ve received from mobile app developers recently. Female mobile gamers are already playing, maybe to the surprise of the developers. The more the mobile app market comes to realize this, the sooner the mobile app industry is in for another growth spurt.