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Gaming, it’s all about the mums. But are brands listening?

By Olivia Atkins, Writer

July 13, 2020 | 6 min read

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Gamer stereotypes often include images of teenagers in a basement. Bin that image right now. Here come the mums who are taking gaming to the next level.

mum report

Brands continue to undervalue mums who play video games; they are often overlooked as consumers, according to the new report

Gamer mums are content consumption machines, according to the study from Activision Blizzard Media, conducted by research agency Alter Agents. By measuring women aged between 25-54 years old who have at least one child at home under the age of 18, they found that mums view entertainment, including gaming, as an important and positive part of their lives and are primed for brand engagement on social media – despite brands largely not factoring this into their marketing strategies. Over two-thirds (71%) of this consumer group play video games, and the report also provides insight into their behavioral characteristics by questioning how much entertainment they consume; how influential mums are on social; and whether brands are sufficiently interacting with mums in this space, so that brands can understand how to improve engagement with mothers across these markets.

However, brands continue to undervalue mums who play video games; they are often overlooked as consumers, according to a new report surveying mothers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. A significant proportion of the two billion strong global gaming audience is gamer mums. And if women continue to hold up to 80% of family purchasing decisions, are brands understanding the nuances of this critical gaming segment?

Demystifying the gamer stereotype: what mums really want from gaming

Gamer mums are a highly marketable consumer group. Activision Blizzard Media revealed that mums who game are much more likely to consume other online entertainment and be more active on social media than non-gamer mums, as they’re a lot more engaged on the web and more digitally savvy. As the report reveals, “they are desirable shoppers who love to discover new things and are receptive to relevant advertising, making them a key opportunity for brands.”

Gamer mums are much more likely to invest in a streaming subscription service (57%), binge-watch content (33%) and use social media daily (76%), than non-gamer mums (whose figures stood much lower at 39%; 25%; and 59% respectively). They are also more likely to regularly stream videos online (61%) and use entertainment content as a form of social stimulation (39%).

Gaming also acts as more than just a hobby for gamer mums

Some mums view gaming as an important and positive part of their lives, admitting that it relieves stress, satisfies their need for entertainment and fulfils their desire to be competitive, excited, creative and smart.

Others play as a way to enjoy some solitary time; to relax; to improve their mood; or to connect with others. Gamer mums even think more optimistically than non-gamer mums, believing that entertainment technology has the scope to bring people together.

As to where and how they play, mums play across a number of devices and platforms with almost three quarters of gamer mums playing mobile games daily; while 38% play on PCs or laptops on a daily basis; and a third play on games consoles daily – making them undoubtedly, some of the biggest content consumers.

So why do advertisers favour male gamers over female gamers? Despite staggeringly high numbers of mums who game, less than half of mums categorise themselves as such. Perhaps that's the reason why the industry is inaccurately skewed towards advertising that targets primarily male players.

Mum gamers are content consumption machines

Beyond their gaming passions, this content-hungry audience consumes more entertainment and engages more with social media than non-gamer mums. This love of entertainment means they invest more in entertainment technology, and their social media content consumption is 30% higher than non-gamer mums. They’re not just using major social media platforms more often, but also posting more content. Video is the biggest driver of engagement within their two most used social platforms: YouTube and Facebook.

Gamer mums are also more understanding and receptive of the advertising process; they’re likely to be online more, and more exposed to new products throughout their online shopping experience. Some 26% of gamer mums revealed that they’ve even appreciated some advertising, especially if they believe it has exposed them to something new, compared with just 20% of non-gamer mums.

They also said that they like seeing ads from their favorite brands while 27% of gamer mums admitted that they’re often asked by friends for recommendations.

Mums got game!

The stereotype that only men play video games is inaccurate and misleading. Mums plays more games, more often, and sometimes for longer times than anyone else.

Some mums have been playing for over ten years; American mothers were the earliest adopters of video gaming with 52% first playing games over a decade ago. Many of these mums grew up with gaming and it has become a part of their family structure. Comparatively Germany has a much younger gaming culture among mums, with 69% only starting gaming within the last ten years.

And with mums spending many hours each week playing games - from casual mobile games to Triple-A action and MMORPG titles - gaming represents a unique opportunity for brands to tap into the key household decision-makers when they are highly engaged, receptive to advertising and in a positive mindset.

With over two thirds of mums now highly engaged gamers, brands have got all to play for by including them in their target audience.

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