I've just returned from the first annual NY Games Conference in NYC, which was held on September 25 - 26, 2008.
Reality Check! Q&A with our Panel of Gamers from the Millennial Generation
What struck me about the teenage girls' comments was that they mostly found out about games through their brothers... and did not have much of an idea of how their brothers found out about games. As for the purchasing of games, they said they bought games for their brothers.
This mirrors previous research that was presented at a past GDC. College-age women mostly found out about games through their husbands or boyfriends. This is why women are typically the "2nd user" of a game. If the game is in the household, they will play it. College-age women also typically bought games for boyfriends or husbands as gifts.
Games of Tomorrow and the Future of MMOGs
John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, revealed that the EverQuest demographic was 85% male, with an average age of 33. This is why with FreeRealms, SOE wants to appeal to girls and try to get the male-female ratio to 50:50. Smedley explained that since combat appeals to boys more, making combat optional is a way to appeal to girls. Smedley also pointed to the recent success of the movie Dark Knight in asserting that DC Universe Online, as a licensed property, will bring in younger and female players.
Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer of Dungeons & Dragons Online at Turbine Entertainment said that because Turbine's MMOGs, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online and Asheron's Call, were fantasy games, the user base is predominately male, older, with significantly longer play sessions of 2-3 hours at a time.