School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14230
How women play mobile games: Studying the consumer culture of mobile games among young adult females
Author: Liimatainen, Harri
Title: How women play mobile games: Studying the consumer culture of mobile games among young adult females
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; naiset; women; pelit; games; viihde; entertainment; mobiilitekniikka; mobile technology
Pages: 88
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14230.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1208879)
Key terms: mobile games; gender and video games; consumption as play; consumer culture; consumer culture theory
Female players have interested researchers and industry professionals ever since the video games market started notably growing again after the mid-80s. Numerous studies motivated by the desire to grow the female demographic of games have studied female preferences and obstacles of adoption i.a. Since then, the video games market has developed significantly and continues growing with an increasing speed. A significant part of this growth is due to the advancements in mobile games that have expanded the potential player base of games. Interestingly, the majority of the player base of mobile games is female. Yet, research on gender and video games has more or less stagnated.

The study on hand focuses on this major demographic of mobile games and the prevailing consumer culture behind it. Current business oriented academic research on mobile games is still fairly scarce and not much is yet known about the characteristics of mobile game consumers. By introducing the platform of mobile games to the discussion, the study on hand attempts to remove established presumptions of female players and contribute towards moving into more multifaceted research approach. Better understanding the player demographic, which has clearly benefited from the mobile platform, benefits both marketers and industry professionals in developing their actions.

The topic is studied through the research question of how do young adult females play mobile games and what factors are linked to the consumption culture. A constructivist approach and interpretivist perspective are taken towards the topic. Narrative data was collected through seven semi-structured interviews and analyzed by utilizing consumer culture theory.

The study identifies three significant groups of actions in consumption of mobile games: positive patterns of play, negative patterns of play, and control mechanisms. These thematic groups hold a specific behavior patterns that are used to negotiate mobile games consumption both with oneself and surrounding people. The observed behavior patterns illustrate the statements in previous literature that female players are a diverse consumer group and should not be reviewed with limited and positivist views. The study finds out that mobile games have removed many previous obstacles of female play. However, negative associations of gaming as antisocial and masculine activity still remain in mobile games that affects perceptions and how gaming is negotiated. It is finally proposed that many female players construct a consumption enclave for themselves in order to control the undesired associations from their surroundings.

The main contribution of the study is identifying how varied female patters of play are thus underlining the need to abandon narrow conceptions of female players as a homogeneous group. Further diversifying the understanding of video game demographics helps marketers and industry professionals in better addressing market needs and expanding the player base.
Electronic publications are subject to copyright. The publications can be read freely and printed for personal use. Use for commercial purposes is forbidden.