One Industry, Two Genders and All Kinds of Games

Gaming has traditionally been dominated by men but the gap has decreased year after year with 2014 being another landmark year of growth for the entire industry and for women. There are a lot of pervasive stereotypes in the gaming industry and community but a big one that I have always had is one of age and sex. It is easy to think when playing most first-person shooters or browsing some dark corner of 4chan that the majority of gamers are teenage boys who have not fully matured yet. In fact, that seems to be completely wrong and more people should realize how diverse the gaming demographic actually is. In fact, there are almost as much women playing games than men.

The Entertainment Software Association publishes their sales, demographic and usage data every year.[1] Let’s back up a bit though: what is the ESA? The ESA is a trade association which basically means that companies in the industry (video games in this case) join the group to get things done. Specifically, they lobby in government, espouse certain rules and ideas and generally being a sort of power in the professional gaming industry. It probably does not need to be said but I will anyways: The ESA is pretty biased though, like all of my sources (and all sources in general), everything is biased. They probably won’t be writing anything negative about video games like gender issues but their statistics are really helpful in trying to get a picture or rethink our pictures of who and how people play games. I mentioned a fact earlier but the biggest one is that 48% of gamers are women.

The other two sources that I found is Jade Raymond, a developer from Ubisoft, and a report from Flurry.[2] Jade Raymond noted that she was a part of the 3% in 1989 – that’s right, 3% of the game developer world were women. I am a bit skeptical where her number came from though I think that even if it was not exactly 3%, it must have been incredibly low. The title of Flurry’s finding is pretty self-explanatory, “Mobile Gaming: Females Beat Males on Money, Time and Loyalty.”[3] I hadn’t heard of Flurry before but the company was recently acquired by Yahoo! and is focused on mobile analytics – gathering and making sense of data from people who use mobile devices. They’re job is not to particularly push a certain agenda but instead to push accurate findings for their clients to use so I would assume they’d have the most accurate data.

With all the sites and findings I read, it really does seem like there’s been a steady trend of female growth in the video game industry (gaming, at least – not so much in the development portion). There are slightly less women but difference is almost negligible. Women are playing just as much video games and just as varied – mobile, puzzle, rpgs, etc. Just like a lot of women read books, watch shows and listen to music, men and women should realize that video games is not for teenage boys. The average gamer is 31 years old and about half is women.

Realizing how diverse gaming has become is important – for me and, I think, for everyone remotely interested in the field. Knowing that there are old, young, white, black, men and women playing games is comforting and really drives home the fact that gaming is for everyone however different they are or their taste in games. Feeling like something you belong to is being changed and transformed may not always be the easiest pill to swallow but ultimately this will all be better for the gaming industry and gaming community.

Citation:

[1] Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry – 2014. (2014, April 7). Retrieved September 15, 2014.

[2] Videogame Biz: Women Still Very Much in the Minority. (2013, October 1). Retrieved September 16, 2014.

[3] Mobile Gaming: Females Beat Males on Money, Time and Loyalty. (2014, August 7). Retrieved September 17, 2014.

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