According to Industrygamers.com, the following quote was attributed to theÂ CFO of Gameloft,Â Â Alexandre de Rochefort:
“Zynga has made it very clear that their typical client is a female, 40 years old, staying at home in the mid-West,” RochefortÂ added. “Gameloft has not sold a single game to this kind of client in the last 11 years.”
This quote may be taken out of context, but let’s pretend for a minute that not only did Rochefort say it, but he meant it. This is very short sighted (considering I am pretty close to 40, female, staying at home with my kids and until last year, lived in the midwest.) I’m part of the core gaming market but I’m a different part of that market – the one that went from hardcore to casual gaming. I’ll probably go back to hardcore gaming once my kids are older, but anyone with small kids knows how hard it is to get into any kind of game they can’t walk away from easily – and this is part of the reason why casual gaming, and Facebook games in particular, appeals to the market Rochefort is so quick to discount. This group of players isn’t going to go away – as long as there are mothers staying home with their kids, there will be mothers who are bored and looking for something to pass the time.
Another interesting note about this market – they have money to spend. For the first time in the history of gaming, social gaming has opened the door to the previously untapped market of women with money who couldn’t get beyond the concept of games being something for boys – a concept largely created and perpetuated by the games industry. There’s no reason why women can’t play and love games – and the Sims franchise and MMOs have proven this in the past. Social gaming could be a gateway as well, once thoseÂ women find themselves with more time on their hands as their children grow older, they might branch out and try some of the other games they’ve heard about – largely because they were playing social games in the first place.
I do agree partially with the concept that social gaming is a bubble that is going to burst. This isn’t because social gaming will go away, though. It’s because, like with any popular idea, especially in gaming, everyone wants a piece and eventually – there will simply be too much out there and not enough consumers. The really good products will survive and the rest will go by the wayside. Rochefort’s point is valid – but not for the apparent reason he states and, honestly, in so devaluing that part of the market, I doubt I will be looking at any of Gameloft’s products with anything but a skeptical eye in the future. Insulting a demographic, even if it’s one you don’t think will buy your products, doesn’t make sense – yet the game industry continuously does this – and I’m at a loss why.