Dueling studies differ on which gender spends more on social games


Anyone who works with polling and survey data knows that there's an inherent margin of error involved when try to extrapolate data about a large group from a small subset. That said, we were still a bit surprised by the diametrically opposite conclusions of two recent studies on the gendered spending habits of social gamers.

The first study, a Digital Good Spending Report from analysis firms VG Market and Playfirst, claims that while men play more games, women are the ones spending more on virtual goods. "Although males are playing significantly more games ... the average female spent $55 dollars, compared to only $30 for males," according to the press release, The second, Newzoo's Social Gaming Monitor 2010, claims just the opposite -- that women are more likely to play but women are more likely to pay. "Social games are most popular with women - 56% of all social gamers - but men are more likely to spend money, making up 65% of paying social gamers," according to the press release.

So which report is right? Well, theoretically they could both be accurate. If a few female Super Whales are driving up the mean for their gender, then women could indeed lead in average spending (as the VG Market report states) while still lagging behind in total spenders (as the Newzoo report says). The differences could also do with the types games studied -- the VG Market report included MMOs, casual games, and even console games with digital goods, while the Newzoo report focused only on games on social networks.

Without science unable to provide a clear answer, we've been inspired to do a little informal survey of our own. In your experience, do men or women spend more money on social games? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.