The big difference is that women choose to play so-called "casual games" that are commonly found on portals such as Pogo.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com (and Xbox Live Arcade, too) while men favor games that are sold at places like GameStop. There's no hard data on why the sexes have such different gaming preferences, but many believe it's because women favor less competitive games that lack the violence and complicated control schemes so prevalent in "hardcore" games enjoyed by men.
While there are plenty of companies serving either the "hardcore" segment
or the "casual" segment, only a few companies are serving both well. EA's one such company. Through
their Pogo.com subsidiary, EA snagged one million gamers willing to pay a monthly rate of $2.49 to $4.99 per month.
Three fourths of these customers are female. Microsoft also chases both hardcore and casual gamers via software that
runs on the Xbox, PC, MSN and mobile phone platforms.
Nintendo's recent strategic shifts towards simpler
control schemes and mass-appeal subject matter (Nintendogs, for instance) indicate that there's more than one
company in Redmond chasing after the casual gamer.