Female CEO Kate Gorman Tackling the Male-Dominated Mobile Gaming Industry


  • Author Allison Baron
  • Published July 12, 2019
  • Word count 826

Females are radically shifting the future of gaming, and one San Francisco-based mobile gaming company is on the front lines making it happen.

Consider this: 65% of U.S. women ages 10-65 play mobile games, but the majority of gaming companies don’t target them. Instead, they choose to make competitive games that don’t appeal to the female demographic, which widely values collaboration over competition.

Just 10% of gaming companies have female executives, but women make up half of all mobile game players. Fort Mason Games Founder and CEO Kate Gorman is one of the few female executives flipping the script and tackling the male-dominated mobile gaming industry head on.

Fort Mason designs mobile games to help women relax and de-stress. With females making up 75% of Fort Mason's employee base, its female-centric approach is unlocking an audience that few other companies are tapping, and setting a high bar for reaching this important group.

According to Gorman, gaming studios that aren’t catering to women are leaving billions of dollars on the line.

As a Silicon Valley native, you could say innovation is in the young entrepreneur’s DNA. Gorman has been blazing trails since her early 20s when she led Zynga's casino slots game division from inception to $300 million in revenue.

At just 26 years old, she decided it was time to follow her passion for games and seize the opportunity to approach customers in a fresh, new way by targeting the underrepresented female demographic. As an avid casual mobile game player, Gorman wanted to build virtual atmospheres that were fun, immersive, and positive.

"I was ready for a new growth phase. Building mobile games that appeal to everyone with a focus on women opens up an immense market that other companies have long failed to cater to and capitalize on," says Gorman.

Gorman chose the name Fort Mason Games because she spent a lot of time in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Park when she was thinking about the type of gaming company she wanted to create and build.

The hardest part of building her own business from the ground up? Taking the first leap, according to Gorman. "Once you have your team and the mission established, executing and driving towards the first milestones are much easier. We were able to take our first game to market in a year."

To find out what women wanted in their mobile games, Fort Mason Games surveyed 3,000 women and 93% of respondents said they play slot games on their phones and tablets to relieve stress. The survey findings also revealed that women tend to be highly social when it comes to mobile gaming. These findings were used as key guiding principles in the design of Fort Mason’s premier game, Confetti Casino.

Confetti Casino features an assortment of slot themes and an in-game social network, allowing players to bring the excitement of Vegas with them wherever they go. Boasting dazzling graphics and a festive vibe, it’s the only slot app that allows players to play in portrait or landscape, and includes a variety of fun slot themes for players to escape into.

"The idea for Confetti Casino was to create a virtual party where people can meet up to play slot machines together, make friends, and have fun," says Gorman.

The game was met with overwhelming success and has since completely changed how people play and interact on mobile casino style games.

Fort Mason’s newest release, Lucky Scratch, provides a free-to-play mobile game alternative to lottery scratch-offs that lets players win real cash and prizes without having to spend a dime.

"We realized that slot machines and scratch-off lottery cards are very similar in nature and both give players those anticipation moments they love, so it was a natural adjacent space to explore," says Gorman, a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

Players of the new Lucky Scratch game have tested their luck more than 12 million times in the game’s first weeks since its launch, helping it climb the charts to the #1 New Lifestyle App on the GooglePlay store.

Mobile gaming and entertainment are an integral part of daily life today. According to research, mobile gaming will continue to be the largest segment following 10 years of double-digit growth since the first iPhone was launched in 2007.

Millennials and Gen X-ers grew up playing games on their mobile devices. And with the exponential rise of smartphones, it makes sense that a fun childhood hobby will continue into adulthood. This is all good news for Fort Mason Games and CEO Kate Gorman.

"As more devices automate our tasks and we carry more powerful devices with us, the growth of gaming will be phenomenal," says Gorman. "Children today are using games on mobile devices to learn, and as they age, they will have grown up with gamification throughout their life. Entertainment will become mobile, real time, and interactive."

Fort Mason Games innovative mobile gaming apps can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices.

Allison Baron is a writer, public relations consultant, and avid mobile gamer. She is based in Austin, Texas. www.allisonbaron.com

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