The future is female, and mobile gaming is no exception | Anzu | Open Mic

If asked what the UK’s most popular gaming platform might be, what would you say? pc? Console? Here’s a clue – it’s something everyone has, can carry in their pockets, and is used every day.

The mobile gaming gender divide

With over 44 million gamers in the UK and over £4.4bn spent on video games last year alone, it’s fair to say that Brits love their gaming.

According to new research from Anzu, 79% of female gamers in the UK play mobile games, compared to 59% on console and 43% on PC. This pattern looks very different for the UK’s male gamers, with 72% playing PC games, closely followed by 71% playing console games, and just 66% playing mobile games, a stark contrast to their female counterparts.

The survey, sent out to gamers all over the UK, was set up to help advertisers understand the UK’s gaming behaviors, spot varying trends in popularity across gaming platforms, and uncover interesting previously-untapped segments of British gaming audiences.

The impact of cross-platform play

Historically, AAA titles were reserved mostly for PC and console, based on the limitations of mobile technology. With the rise of more advanced technology, gamers can play the same popular games while on the move or away from home on mobile.

With cross-platform gaming continuing to grow in popularity, and with Genshin Impact, Fortnite, and Roblox occupying mobile, PC, and console spaces, we’re continuing to see a boom in popularity for mobile gaming. Facebook Gaming recently found that 8.6 million new UK gamers entered the mobile gaming scene in just one year – a 50% increase compared to March 2020.

Massively popular mobile Genshin Impact. Credit: miHoYo

When lockdowns first began, and the pandemic confined everyone to their homes (and with only so many “Have you seen Tiger King yet?” stories to share on social media), women in particular sought new spaces to hang out online. Even after the lockdowns lifted, 20% of British female gamers who stated that they spent a lot more time playing games during the pandemic said they expect that level to continue as we emerge from it.

The rise of strong female protagonists in gaming – from Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft to Aloy in the newly released sequel Horizon Forbidden West – have helped pave the way for women to feel more at home with gaming as a whole. The popularity of female streamers like Pokimane and Amouranth, who have millions of Twitch fans, is also helping to change the stereotypes around what it looks like to be a gamer, and as a more socially acceptable role model, there is less stigma to identifying as a ‘girl gamer’.

Mobile technology has also come a long way in recent years, and now with advanced mobile gaming capabilities, gamers don’t need to go to great lengths to get involved in gaming. With smartphones so widely available, and many free-to-play AAA titles like League of Legends and Fortnite entering the mobile gaming arena, it’s easier than ever for women to pick up gaming as a casual, fun hobby around their full-time jobs or while juggling childcare and family responsibilities, without having to invest time and money in expensive hardware.

A massive opportunity for advertisers

This research highlights a new potential gateway for advertisers to reach female mobile gamers in the UK through in-game advertising.

With last year’s worldwide mobile advertising spend reaching a record $288bn worldwide – a 27% increase compared to 2020 – and projected mobile advertising spend to reach nearly £413bn by 2024, there is enormous potential for the UK market to follow suit.

Anzu’s survey found that over a third of the UK’s female gamers said it was important for them to see their favorite brands in games, indicating that mobile advertising has a golden opportunity to reach an engaged (and brand savvy) audience.

To find out more about the state of UK gamers, their attitudes towards in-game advertising, and what your brand needs to do to stand out, register for Anzu’s upcoming webinar, where a panel of industry-leading experts will be diving deeper into the results of the UK In-Game Advertising Report 2022.

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