For the Video Game Industry, the Hottest Growth Demographic is Women Ages 50-64
The growth strategy template for video games is set for radical shifts. Although it may be unsurprising that the Covid-19 Pandemic helped the video game industry achieve extraordinary levels of growth, the people that most spurred that growth may surprise you. Contrary to certain stereotypes about video games as “toys for boys,” the category of consumers that increased their spending the most were, in fact, women from ages 50-64.
What makes this a fascinating statistic is that it is not the traceable result of direct marketing to this consumer segment. Indeed, video games have historically been sold as “toys” for “boys.” Adult women have only recently seen video games marketed towards them, and mass marketing to women and girls isn’t nearly as prevalent as to men and boys.
Therefore, it arguably seems to be the case that the growth in the spending on video games among women from ages 50-64 has occurred in spite of most prior existing marketing trends.
Imagine the even greater potential growth if this untapped demographic was marketed to directly, rather than avoided in favor of young men, who are likely already heavy users. And there’s one very interesting growth strategy template example in the marketplace right now. (For a deeper understanding of this complex market, check out our article “Growth Strategy Framework in the Video Game Industry“).
Growth Strategy Template for Gamer Women
Game developer Wooga released June’s Journey in 2017 on mobile platforms iOS and Android. This hidden object game has proven popular with adult women and grown into a huge success for the company. On iOS alone, the game saw 10 million downloads and earned more than $125M in revenue from October 2017 – January 2022.
Wooga’s growth strategy template includes different paths for monetization (earning revenue):
- In-game purchases of resources to advance in the game
- In-game purchases of decorations to enhance the game’s looks
- In-game ads that advance gameplay if watched
Advertising Execution as Part of the Growth Strategy Template
Wooga’s growth strategy template also relies on attracting the right kind of players to the game: those who enjoy exploration, storytelling and casual challenges.
These ads are targeted to segments already identified as casual gamers and placed on social platforms, and in other games that serve ads. A TV ad was created in 2020, dramatizing the game play with live actors.
There is opportunity for Wooga to enhance its growth strategy template through better customer segmentation that would allow it to reach consumers who aren’t gamers yet but are open to trying out June’s Journey.
Player Engagement in the Growth Strategy Template
Attracting new players is a key part of the growth strategy template, but so is engaging and retaining existing players. Wooga offers these attractive gameplay options to players:
- Themed decorations for each month
- Releasing new levels regularly
- Enabling social gameplay with teams and Facebook integration
- Prizes for daily log-in
The June’s Journey Facebook group enjoys over 750,000 followers and receives high engagement, with posts on sneak-peeks, special events and game news. On YouTube, June’s Journey has over 100,000 subscribers and offers a podcast, how-to videos and videos that further character development through short stories.
How Will Post-Pandemic Affect the Growth Strategy Template?
As one member of the Facebook group June’s Journey Spoilers Allowed puts it:
“This evening I had my first normal outing experience since covid started. I went to a local fair with my daughter and grandson. We ate cotton candy went on rides etc., but smack dab in the middle of the fun I had to stop to serve and drink coffee. [part of being on a June’s Journey Team] I’ve only played 3 days this week for 30-60 minutes, same last week. As we thaw out into a post covid spring, anyone else feeling like JJ is a lot? Will anyone be cutting back a bit?”
This user received 68 comments to her post, most of them agreeing with her assessment that gaming might start taking a back seat to “real life” now.
It’s an open question as to how dedicated the new “pandemic gamers” will be to gaming when they feel like they have more options for how to spend their time.
It seems like there is a huge and largely untapped opportunity for growth in the video game industry should they directly market to older women. If that sounds surprising, that’s only because it flies in the face of mass marketing campaigns shaping preconceptions.