The average social gamer? Your mom

The typical online player isn't a teen boy, but rather a 43-year-old woman

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published February 18, 2010 4:30PM (EST)

Put aside your clichéd image of pasty-faced teenage boys, warping their fingers in front of the computer screen. In a new study on social gaming from Bejeweled creator PopCap, only six percent of respondents were age 21 or younger. Thanks to the popularity of more female friendly fare like Bejeweled and Facebook apps like Farmville, the face of the average gamer is instead now that of a 43-year-old woman. She's just as likely to be married with children as not, and a whopping eleven percent of gamers are full-time homemakers.

Sure, Farmville is no Grand Theft Auto (hell, Mafia Wars is no Grand Theft Auto), and the study leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the ways and whys of men's and women's gaming styles, but it does dispel some of the myth that chicks don't like to geek out. It also proves that, one app at a time, women are becoming a powerful consumer audience in the game world. And the next time you're getting your butt handed to you in Texas Hold'em, consider that the person bringing the pain might be your mom.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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