When we think of ‘gamers,’ we see images of teen boys (mainly white and heterosexual) firing off animated weapons on a big screen. We hear them over their headsets shouting sexist and homophobic insults. Yet, we don’t tend to think of those who play games on their smartphones.
A Google report found that 93% of smartphone users use apps. Statistics also found that 56% of the United States population were playing mobile games in 2016. 52% of those who use gaming apps are women.
Adam Cohen-Aslatei, a gay New York-based ad tech executive, is working to bring this large demographic of gamers to the forefront—perhaps by using a different name.
Why ‘gamers’ doesn’t fit
‘I don’t think the industry is intentionally trying to not be inclusive. However the term “gamer” to describe someone who casually plays mobile games can be a turn-off. The connotation of “gamer” evokes images of male teens playing console games in their parent’s basements,’ Cohen-Aslatei, who has worked in tech for 11 years, tells GSN.
‘Additionally, many advertisers don’t view their customers as “gamers”, despite the fact that the majority of Americans play. Perception is reality when it comes to advertising, and that’s why we need a more inclusive term that everyone can support.’
Mobile Casual aka MOCA
Cohen-Aslatei has coined the term ‘MOCA,’ a shortened combination of ‘Mobile Casual,’ to describe this specific demographic of gamers.
‘MOCA represents anyone who casually plays mobile games, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation,’ he says.
And this new term is needed, considering a large demographic of LGBTI gamers specifically do not feel properly represented in the mainstream gaming community.
According to Cohen-Aslatei, there are far more people who play mobile games than console or computer games.
‘The number of people who play mobile games is much larger,’ he says. ‘Almost every American owns a smartphone and 203 million of them will play mobile games monthly. And with over 800,000 mobile games to choose from, there is literally something for everyone. The mobile gaming economy is also significantly larger, representing $50 billion [€40.5 billion; £35.5 billion] globally, eclipsing the Hollywood box office.’
‘The term “gamer” to describe someone who casually plays mobile games is outdated,’ Cohen-Aslatei believes. ‘60-65% of all mobile game players are women, yet 72% of them do not identify as “gamers” even though 59% of them play 10 times a week or more. Rebranding mobile games will unlock million of dollars in advertiser revenue. Brands will come to understand that their customers are in-game; and that there are immersive and non-interruptive ways to engage with them. MOCA also gives players a term that they can identify with and not be ashamed of.’
Cohen-Aslatei hopes the advertising industry will adopt the term ‘MOCA’ and use it more frequently.
‘I’m hoping advertisers will start asking their agencies to buy MOCAs and I’m hoping people in casual conversations will refer to themselves as MOCAs. Ultimately, my goal is for the industry to be more inclusive on every level, and that starts with changing our approach and the terms we use to describe and understand people, their differences, and preferences.’