The face of hardcore gaming is changing and according to Zynga, it's starting to bear an uncanny resemblance to your mom.
The times, they are a-changing'. I remember when my mom would yell at me for spending 14 hours at a stretch behind my keyboard shooting up the bad guys while gorgeous summer days, meaningful relationships with girls and life in general passed me by. But now it seems like I'm the one doing all the yelling while mom is up all hours of the night, clicking furiously in a never-ending quest for "just one more level."
Gentlemen, step aside, for this is the new reality, according to Zynga executive Manny Anekal. One in five Americans play Zynga games, he told an audience at SXSW, many of whom are not gamers in the traditional sense but are nonetheless ferociously dedicated to what they play. Zynga gamers played for an average of 68 minutes per day last year based on browser time, an "enormous amount" of time even compared to television. "More women are playing FarmVille than watching soap operas," he said.
Anekal pointed out that 55 percent of all social gamers in the U.S. are women and 53 percent of Zynga gamers are women between the ages of 25 and 44. And not only does that 40-year-old mother of two spend the most time playing social games, she also spends the most money on them. "She is the new hardcore gamer," he said.
"Hardcore" isn't exactly the most precise term in the world but it makes sense that as social gaming redefines what it means to be a gamer, the definition of "core gamer" would shift as well, or at the very least broaden to include more than just high-strung button-mashers with time on their hands. The future is now, folks, and mainstream acceptance of videogames is upon us. Did you think it would look like this?