EB Games Ponders: Why Do The Ladies Over 33 Love Battlefield 3?

Retailers like EB Games routinely perform data mining, an impressive-sounding concept which basically means running analyses on all your sales figures to try and identify patterns that can help you flog more titles. Those patterns are usually kept secret (hey, it's a competitive business!) but EB Games Australia did reveal one fascinating titbit this week: the weird buying patterns found with Battlefield 3.

Speaking at Microsoft's TechEd Australia 2012 conference, which I have been covering like a boss over at Lifehacker all week, EB Games software development manager Kevin Clarke and Russ Blake from analysis specialist Runge outlined how EB Games sorts through all that purchasing data to work out what's going on. I won't tell you about how the complicated mathematics and analysis works, because despite sitting through an hour-long presentation I would almost certainly get all the details wrong. There's a bit more to it than just "show me everything that matches these categories".

What I will tell you is one minor but intriguing fact that was revealed: an analysis of sales for Battlefield 3 identified two clear main groups of purchasers. One, unsurprisingly, was males aged between 11 and 33. The other was females aged over 33, a result which took more or less everyone by surprise.

Blake asked the crowd to suggest a possible reason, and someone immediately responded with the obvious "Mums buying it for their kids!" That could make sense, given that Battlefield 3 is rated MA15+. But Blake said it wasn't clear that was the whole story, as many younger kids do have their own EB World membership and might want the points. (In practice, no-one checks if you're the card holder so Dad could buy on his son's card just as easily too.)

"My theory was these ladies were divorced and liked shooting up guys," said Blake. "We don't know." Any other ideas, Kotaku readers?

EB Games Explains Big Data Strategies [Lifehacker]

Disclosure: Angus Kidman is attending TechEd 2012 as a guest of Microsoft.


    Girlfriends buying it for their partners? Who knows!

    I had assumed that EB world was only open to those over age 15 as well.... could be wrong, as most kids under 15 are gettin money from the parents. So the mum's buying for kids still stands. Also when kids trade in games, they need a drivers license, mum has one, use hers, hence she then is owner of eb world card.

      yeah..seems pretty obvious

      kid wants that "new army game" so mum buys it

        Yeah, this is pretty much the first thing I thought. I know it's sexist, I'm sure there's plenty of ladies over 33 who play Battlefield 3, but in substantial numbers? Unlikely.

          i reckon it is wives buying for their hubby.

        But that would apply roughly equally for every "new army game", right? It's unusual if Battlefield 3 is the only one seeing the increase in this demographic.

          mabye battlefeild 3 is the more obvious one that "black ops" or "modern warefare"

    How about women buying games for their partners? Or even more shockingly, Women who enjoy gaming just as much as men?!?

      This was my thought. If guys up around 33 are buying it, chances are some would have girlfriends or wives of a similar age who would buy it for them as a gift. And yeah, it's not entirely inconceivable that a female might like BF3.

      Impossibru! They had to set the universe back on track by making on a tycially misogynist comment about an otherwise odd statistic.

      " Women who enjoy gaming just as much as men?!?"
      true my wife who is 31 loves zelda and plants vs zombies but never ever plays battlefield. I don't think I have ever heard a woman on battlefield, occasionally on COD but never battlefield.

        My wife (27 years old) has played Battlefield 3, but prefers Call of Duty and Halo.

        I've played battlefeild and I'm a women

        then I traded it in because "why the hell did I just buy that game"

        moral of the story is don;t impulse buy because the hype machine told you too

      Right, so if sales figures showed that a lot of 25-45year old men were buying Women's Weekly or Cosmo, you wouldn't consider it odd?
      When a product is designed with a particular demographic in mind, and a group with next to no overlap with the target represents a substantial portion of sales, it is surprising.

    What if it's men who are posing as females for free stuff!

    oh wait thats MMOs

    and again we see why classification doesnt mean a damn in australia.... isnt BF3 MA15+??

    One, unsurprisingly, was males aged between 11 and 33. The other was females aged over 33, a result which took more or less everyone by surprise

    Wow, just wow, I'm seriously shaking my head in amazement at the response to this research. I'm a 34 year old woman who bought BF3 to play.... yes... for ME to play. I have other female friends in their 30s who also play BF3. Personally I never really got into BF3 and much prefer COD but hey that's a different argument. Still strange that the stat would apply just to BF3 - would be curious to know the stat is for 33+ female buyers on other major titles.

    Maybe because Battlefield is a team working game that doesn't have teabaggers or loud fratboys trying to justify their existance by insulting other people who can't smack them in person?

      ...have you even palyed Battlefield 3, man? I get what you're trying to say, but pretending those issues don't exist at all in a game because the cover says Battlefield instead of Present-Day Gunshooter 3 is kinda spurious.

        In the time I've played Battlefield I can't recall a single moment. Doesn't mean they don't exist, but it means that it happens so irregularly that it's not memorable.

        The only worse thing about Battlefield are the people who try to play it like CoD, avoid the objective and try to get a high K/D.

          Which ruins the game for more serious players (like you), and people who suck and are trying to learn (like me).

          Too bad there's no way to ruin the game for them to make them bugger off..

          You musnt play much. The only difference between COD and BF Ive ever noticed is that COD players arent telling baddies to go play the other game. Other than that, the community is almost identical.

        At least on PC there isn't, because there's no global mic. To talk to people you need to be in a party with them.

    As a former employee of EB Games (one that worked the launches of both Black Ops and MW3) and I can tell you most definitely without a doubt that it was mums purchasing for their kids.

    "titbit".. really.. REALLY?

      Your point? It's a perfectly valid word, and has been for centuries. Americans tend to use "tidbit" for some reason, perhaps prudishness, but it's been standard British English for quite a while.

        I'd only ever heard of tidbit. I guess that underscores how much American english influences other english speaking regions.

    males aged between 11 and 33

    Battlefield 3 is rated MA15+

    Something is wrong with this picture...

    "EB Games software development manager"?
    EB Games does software dev?

      Someone's gotta program their internal tools and software.

        I thought youd buy them off the shelf :S

    Wow that proves that EBGames are as completely out of touch with their customers as everyone thinks they are.

    Of course the vast majority of women 33+ are buying BF3 for their kids or partners. Morons.

    "Mums buying it for their kids"

    Much more believable.. just not a news worthy.

    Mums (and women in general) are the ultimate shoppers.. they're the holder of the keys and the cards.. they are the ones that find the bargains and save every penny and rewards. Makes sense that they found out about the rewards cards/memberships and that would save them money in the long run, so they are members to buy their kids games.

    As much as I'd love to get on my high horse and cry "mysoginist" at the suggestion that women aren't likely to be playing the game....

    The point isn't that women don't play it, rather that it's unlikely that 30+ women are going to make up a significant portion of the players. It -is- more likely that many of them (not all) are buying it for others.

    I'm sorry, but this is retarded.

    Of course it's mums buying it for their teenage sons.

    It's totally obvious. Mum's buying it for their kids. Duh!

    Like Elmy, I'm a 3o something woman that bought and plays battlefield 3. Yes, it's probably mums buying for their kids a lot of the time, but I have a full Xbox friends list consisting of similar women who play online shooters. Don't be so amazed that women but shooters. Closed minded responses are typical dudebro attitude.

    Women of 33 buy battlefield3 more.... This means they like it.
    This is so stupid! There are way to many variables involved to draw a conclusion like that.

    The only people I ever actually see buying stuff at EB are clueless mothers who think paying $110 games for their 12 year old son is normal.

    The point about EB World cards disappoints me that anyone can even consider that to be part of the issue. Kid needs a new game, what games does he like, shooters? Hes already got COD. So you sell the mother Battlefield 3. Do you have an ebworld card? No? Cool. Next! A lot of mothers wouldn't know if anyone in the family had an ebworld card if they had a gun to their heads and had to give an answer.

    What, age matters?

    At this point, I'm wishing the staff of EB Games Australia, who took my online order, then gave me a phoney 'order number' that can't be tracked, and THEN don't respond to repeated online 'contact forms' about it, were the target of a battlefield game I was playing right now.

    And of course they won't respond. It's Friday, the beginning of a long weekend. They're the laziest, most useless pack of bastards it's even been my displeasure to purchase from. I won't make that mistake again.

    Note: I'm over 30 and yes, I'm a gamer. I know many women who are.

    What's so odd about that?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now