Picture the typical online gaming fan and what do you see? Most will say an adolescent or young adult male. However, a new study from comScore has taken that stereotype and turned it on its head. According to that market researcher's report, women overall are more likely to be online gamers than men. And in what might be the real shocker, woman over 55 spend more time playing online games per month than any other demographic group -- and way more time than males aged 15 to 24.
The games people play
Of course, as the study reports, that's not the whole story. There are some significant differences in the types of games men and women play. Men, as might be expected, live up to their stereotype by preferring more high-octane fare, such as shoot'em ups and sports games. Women, on the other hand, take things at a more leisurely pace, opting for board games, card games and puzzles more often than action games, though those, too, are enjoyed by many.
Women get social, get shopping
The comScore report has lots of additional insights into how women are using -- and in many ways transforming -- the Internet. Social media, for example, is being driven to a large extent, by the fairer sex. As reported in this article in The New York Times, women spend about a third of their time on social networking sites, IM'ing or sending emails, compared to about a quarter of their time for men. While social activities are growing across all demographic groups, the biggest growth over the last year is among women over 45.
When women aren't socializing, many are likely shopping. While men and women are equally likely to visit retail sites, once there, women tend to linger longer, spending 20 percent more time at such sites. And women aren't just window shopping at retail sites as they are also more likely to make an online purchase then men.
Walking on the wild side
When it comes to the seamier side of the Internet, the comScore report has some additional stereotype-bending findings. To be sure, men continue to be more likely than women to view adult sites, but that doesn't mean that women don't visit at all. In fact, comScore reports that just over a third of women online view adult content, and that's more than visit sites that many would consider more woman-oriented, such as parenting sites, clothing sites and health sites.
Finally, women, it seems, like to try their luck online just about as often as men. According to comScore, women are slightly more likely than men to visit lotto or sweepstakes sites, and trail men at online gambling sites by just one percent.