ESA Study Finds Women Make Up Nearly Half of Gamer Population

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

ESA Study Finds Women Make Up Nearly Half of Gamer Population

ESA study cover

The latest research to come out of the Entertainment Software Association has determined that adult women gamers in the U.S. significantly outnumber teenage boys.

The ESA's "Essential Facts About the Computer and Videogame Industry" study for 2013 has found that the gamer audience in the U.S. is almost evenly divided between men and women - 45 percent female, 55 percent male - which in itself won't be very surprising to anyone who actually pays attention to this business. What is somewhat surprising, at least at first glance, is the difference in numbers between adult women and teenage boys: women 18 or older make up 31 percent of the "game-playing population," while boys 17 or younger account for only 19 percent. There's obviously far more room under that age-based tent for females than males, but the number nonetheless proves false the stereotype of the youthful, wasting-his-life "average" gamer to whom we are entrusting our increasingly dismal-looking future.

A few other interesting numbers: 51 percent of all U.S. households own at least one dedicated game console and those that do actually own an average of two; 58 percent of all Americans play videogames; and the average age of gamers in the U.S. is 30. On the parental side of the coin, 52 percent of parents say games "are a positive part of their child's life," 58 percent play videogames with their kids at least once a month and 93 percent say they "pay attention to the content of the games their children play."

"This new data underscores the remarkable upward trajectory for videogames. It is an entertainment form enjoyed by hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide," said ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher. "A diverse and energized consumer base, remarkable new hardware, and outstanding software all combine to foster growth for our industry."

The "2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" is available in full in PDF format at theesa.com.

Permalink

What does it take for someone to be qualified as a gamer though? I mean studies such as these usually consider someone who plays a bit of interactive televison a gamer.

I'm more interested in what percentage of core gamers are female.

This just in: housewives like bejeweled and angry birds

Genocidicles:
What does it take for someone to be qualified as a gamer though? I mean studies such as these usually consider someone who plays a bit of interactive televison a gamer.

I'm more interested in what percentage of core gamers are female.

I'm more interested in how many would admit to being female.

Genocidicles:
What does it take for someone to be qualified as a gamer though? I mean studies such as these usually consider someone who plays a bit of interactive televison a gamer.

I'm more interested in what percentage of core gamers are female.

That was what I'd planned on bringing up. Generally wherever I go, most players are male (if voice chat is anything to go by)

Well, I've seen my mom click away on Solitaire and Bejeweled. I can safely say that she is no gamer.

I say, if you never threw a controller into the wall or smashed your mouse, you are no gamer, just like messing around with fingerpaints in my youth does not make me a painter.

A player, maybe.

Genocidicles:
What does it take for someone to be qualified as a gamer though? I mean studies such as these usually consider someone who plays a bit of interactive televison a gamer.

I'm more interested in what percentage of core gamers are female.

Define core gamers? I think this whole nonsense of your not really a gamer unless you insert X is silly. If you enjoy playing any video game on a regular basis, you are welcome to the gamer party.

The funny thing is, the gamer stereotype of it being for "teenage boys" is far more prevalent outside of the gaming community than inside. I read a survey today about the "ten most immature things that women dislike about men" and playing computer games was one of them.

Despite gaming being a billion dollar industry, including advertisements on the television played during major sporting events and such, it is still seen by the general public as being something for "neck beard virgins who live in their mothers basements" or in more polite terms "toys for boys".

RoBi3.0:

Genocidicles:
What does it take for someone to be qualified as a gamer though? I mean studies such as these usually consider someone who plays a bit of interactive televison a gamer.

I'm more interested in what percentage of core gamers are female.

Define core gamers? I think this whole nonsense of your not really a gamer unless you insert X is silly. If you enjoy playing any video game on a regular basis, you are welcome to the gamer party.

I agree in regards to the social element. The whole "They are not a true gamer because they don't like COD" is pathetic.

But the issue is when you get people claiming that because X percentage of gamers are [insert demographic here], the Triple A industry should be changing the types of games they make to appeal to those people.

Activision and other such large companies do not make the kinds of games that the average Bejewelled and Angry Bird fan would enjoy, so suggesting that because they make up a large percentage of gamers, such companies should try appealing to them, does not make any sense.

Adult women make up 31% of the gaming population according to this study, and teenage males make up 19%. What would those percentages be for Halo, COD or Assassins Creed for example? I'd imagine it'd be closer to 90%+ of teenage males, to adult women (assuming you only looked at those two demographics). Using the percentages of gamers overall when discussing what direction developers take their specific genre of games, is nonsensical.

Side-Note: I will point out here that I am not in any shape or form suggesting people are wrong for wanting a particular demographic to be better represented. I am merely pointing out that using statistics such as these as a reason, is a poor line of argument. They are far too vague, and ignore the fact that liking one kind of game, does not mean you will automatically like another. So the statistics mean nothing when applied to specific things such as the Triple A gaming industry.

Look at the PDF, under "Types of online games played most often":

Puzzle, Board game, game show, trivia, card games = 34%

The technical definition of gamer includes people who play solitaire and Family Feud with those running Halo and Dark Souls. While it's fascinating to look at big picture stuff, this is a massively broad label to consider.

RoBi3.0:
Define core gamers?

Well the NPD currently classes it as someone who plays action/sports/shooter/racing game on an Xbox/PlayStation/PC/Mac for more than five hours a week.

And yes, we are all gamers. However we need to be categorized for marketing purposes. You can't make a game and just aimlessly target it at 'gamers'. You need to definite it's target audience more than that.

Why should this surprise me? Gaming has never actually been considered a man's world alone.

I keep hearing that, but where the hell are they? Correct me if I'm wrong, but most communities are composed primarily of guys. Same thing with the industry itself. I keep getting told every user has just under 50% chance of being a chick but it doesn't really seem to apply when you look at the users, does it

Sigh.

Really? This is turning into a "well, girls aren't hardcore gamers so they don't count" argument? Seriously? If it's not the women part, it's the credibility of gamerd based on what they play. Why s elitist? It just makes you sound like a jerk. Even if someone plays Bejewled or Peggle or Farmville, they're gamers, because they're spending money in the industry. Is their money less important than COD or Halo or RPG players?

I'm sure big (and small) companies don't care if it's a 50-something housewife plopping down $10 for a new puzzle game every few months, or a 20-year old guy buying the latest AAA title - they're still spending the same amount of money, so they deserve the same kind of attention.

... This coming from a 30-year-old "hardcore" female gamer, who has been the "core" demographic since the NES was released. Because apparently that matters to some people who aren't part of the industry it matters to.

Also... really? There are people on the Escapist who don't pay enough attention to realise that there are a lot of female gamers out there? We exist, people. In droves. We're not special.

Genocidicles:

RoBi3.0:
Define core gamers?

Well the NPD currently classes it as someone who plays action/sports/shooter/racing game on an Xbox/PlayStation/PC/Mac for more than five hours a week.

And yes, we are all gamers. However we need to be categorized for marketing purposes. You can't make a game and just aimlessly target it at 'gamers'. You need to definite it's target audience more than that.

This makes sense.

I know this is just my experience but I know an astronomical amount of women gamers. So much so that that 45% sounds very reasonable to me.

Isn't the core definition of gamer someone who spends disposable income on games they like and then plays those games? I don't think our little club has an entrance exam? And believe it or not Words with Friends is just as valid a type of gaming experience as Call of Duty.

The reactions to this in the vein of "well yeah my mom plays Bejewled but that doesn't count" probably speak louder than the results themselves.

It shows that 1) We've still to break this barrier where you either play casual facebook games or are teh hardcorez and there is little to no gradient and 2) Just how bad of a job the AAA industry is doing at reaching out to anything besides 15-25 year old males.

Ok, they play games. Surely the massive female-friendly E3 showings will get them to play more AAA games and perhaps give the industry another market it so desperately needs! Maybe finally get some damn diversity!

Oh no wait gamers will just say they're not "true" gamers and then say the lack of women is just the way the market is and male-games are what it wants and they should just deal with it.

Because the fact that it's what the market wants totally excuses it. I mean, that's why everyone should shut up about the Xbone and Micro-transactions. It's what the market seems to be wanting, so therefore everyone should shut up about it and just "deal with it".

Do I sound a bit upset? Well maybe I am. You'd be upset too when you realize that Hollywood is better at racial and gender diversity than video games. Fucking Hollywood.

Stevepinto3:
The reactions to this in the vein of "well yeah my mom plays Bejewled but that doesn't count" probably speak louder than the results themselves.

It shows that 1) We've still to break this barrier where you either play casual facebook games or are teh hardcorez and there is little to no gradient and 2) Just how bad of a job the AAA industry is doing at reaching out to anything besides 15-25 year old males.

Also what he said.

Stevepinto3:
The reactions to this in the vein of "well yeah my mom plays Bejewled but that doesn't count" probably speak louder than the results themselves.

It shows that 1) We've still to break this barrier where you either play casual facebook games or are teh hardcorez and there is little to no gradient and 2) Just how bad of a job the AAA industry is doing at reaching out to anything besides 15-25 year old males.

The problem is that people are constantly equating these magical "ESA numbers" to spout nonsense about some new Action games or how it's totally unfair that Call of Duty doesn't have a female main character and stuff like that.

Someone who plays Solitaire because that is what came pre-installed on your PC or was very cheap on iOS or someone who plays Farmville on Facebook because it's "Free to Play" and might be inclined to even pay once or twice and even someone who plays solely Wii Fit and/or Wii Sports on the console their grandchild gifted them because that's what came with it is wholly irrelevant to the $60 game model where publishers are counting on players buying 5-10+ games a year. They simply aren't their target market and they couldn't reach them no matter what they did short of turning their games into casual iOS Apps for $1 or Facebook games.
The same way including space marines, aliens and guns into a Facebook/Farmville-type game will likely not make the console audience suddenly take notice of it.

Thus the numbers are misleading and meaningless at best, outright lies to enact pressure on the market at worst. It's also noteworthy to realize that the "ESA" is mainly an industry lobby organization which has as main interest presenting said industry in the best light possible with members like Microsoft, Sony, Namco Bandai, Warner Bros., UbiSoft, EA, Capcom, Deep Silver, Nintendo, SEGA, Square Enix, Take Two and a bunch of "Social Gaming" layouts: http://www.theesa.com/about/members.asp
http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/06/03/96-percent-of-eve-online-players-are-male/

http://www.casualnews.com/the-demographics-of-social-games-surprise-or-not/
image

image

Who doesn't play a video game of some sort? This study is basically saying 50% of the population is women.

I would classify a "gamer" as someone who devotes more than just his or her time to playing video games.

sid:
I keep hearing that, but where the hell are they?

Right here. :P And my roommates, too. We do exist, I promise.

Yeah, it's been this way for a while now, though, so I don't know why it's big news. And I'm sure a lot of it includes casual games, but we DO play other things. I think part of the reason a lot of women gamers haven't broken into any communities, speaking from my own point of view, is that men still either 1.) don't believe we know how to hold the controller/mouse properly, let alone how to play a 'real' game, and 2.) treat us mainly like sex objects.

Now obviously I realize this isn't true. Hell, I have a LOT of guy friends and none of them are like that. But as a stereotyped whole, that's still how it feels. Also, I know that I don't use things like Xbox Live Chat partly because I don't like people and partly because everyone will call you out and taunt you, if not be outright rude, if you give any indication you're female.

Personally, I think it would be interesting to see how many women play casual games versus others, but I doubt it's as lopsided as everyone still seems to think. I'm slightly insulted that that's the automatic assumption.

abominableangel:

sid:
I keep hearing that, but where the hell are they?

I think part of the reason a lot of women gamers haven't broken into any communities, speaking from my own point of view, is that men still either 1.) don't believe we know how to hold the controller/mouse properly, let alone how to play a 'real' game, and 2.) treat us mainly like sex objects.

I hope you realize just how bad that is. Women can be sexist too, which is what that quoted part actually is. You are judging the whole because of the actions of a few.

image
this is a ruse.

everyone knows that in order to play a game you must have a stable online connection to the internet at all times!
and we know that there are no girls on the internet.

therefore

there are no gurlz that play wideogumes! :P

valium:

abominableangel:

sid:
I keep hearing that, but where the hell are they?

I think part of the reason a lot of women gamers haven't broken into any communities, speaking from my own point of view, is that men still either 1.) don't believe we know how to hold the controller/mouse properly, let alone how to play a 'real' game, and 2.) treat us mainly like sex objects.

I hope you realize just how bad that is. Women can be sexist too, which is what that quoted part actually is. You are judging the whole because of the actions of a few.

That's why I tried to qualify it; it came across as harsher than I actually mean. I said later that that's still what it FEELS like, not how it is. I'm fully aware that it isn't true for every male ever. But hey, obnoxious teenage boys are going to be the ones most likely to be super vocal, and, well. They're obnoxious teenage boys.

Little Gray:

mechalynx:
Well, I've seen my mom click away on Solitaire and Bejeweled. I can safely say that she is no gamer.

I say, if you never threw a controller into the wall or smashed your mouse, you are no gamer, just like messing around with fingerpaints in my youth does not make me a painter.

A player, maybe.

So you have to be an idiot with anger issues in order to be a gamer?

First of all, thanks for calling me an idiot with anger issues, I guess? I applaud you for being a pillar of tranquility in the face of, say, losing a lengthy boss battle due to a sudden QTE.

Second, my mom would be the first to say that she is no gamer. She is a player of some puzzle games, sure, but not a gamer. She is not or will ever be any kind of target audience when it comes to games. A gamer to me is someone who devotes him/herself to the medium, someone I can have a lenghty conversation about games as a participant instead of observer. I really don't know how I can explain my view on the term "gamer" better than this.

Third, I don't know why Escapist keeps changing my avatar since I started subscribing, but I can assure you that I am quite female recently celebrated my 30th birthday.

Oh, and let's not act like being a gamer some kind of merit badge. It is simply a title that defines you by your favourite hobby.

"Ah, but they don't play REAL games like we do." - Thread comments

Classy, guys. Extremely classy.

To claim that these numbers are irrelevant is to say that no person can develop a taste for different genres and different kinds of games and/or experiences.
It's also fairly narrow minded to think that the genres which are currently overrepresented by one gender will always remain that way going forward, especially since society at large is becoming more accepting of games as a hobby.

Genocidicles:
What does it take for someone to be qualified as a gamer though? I mean studies such as these usually consider someone who plays a bit of interactive televison a gamer.

I'm more interested in what percentage of core gamers are female.

I read some academic articles on the matter and it seems that about 10% of core gamers are female. I think that the most recent one was from 2011, so it might be higher than that now, but definitely not anywhere near 50%.

Little Gray:

Well excuse me for thinking somebody who throws a temper tantrum and smashes stuff over a video game is acting like an idiot and has anger issues.

No harm done. I'll just throw in a couple of smiley faces for ya next time, since you seem to be struggling with light sarcasm.

Not for nothin' but...didn't we already know this? And haven't we known this for a good long while now? Thus all the rage that often boils up on this site regarding the fact that despite these numbers, publishers STILL cater mostly to the desires of frat boys?

I mentally facepalm when I go down the best sellers list.

I love people who try to claim that even people who play Farmville for 15 minutes a day are gamers. That's like saying because I cook my own food I'm a chef and I'm a photographer for taking cell phone shots. I'm also a maid because I clean my house.

mechalynx:

Little Gray:

Well excuse me for thinking somebody who throws a temper tantrum and smashes stuff over a video game is acting like an idiot and has anger issues.

No harm done. I'll just throw in a couple of smiley faces for ya next time, since you seem to be struggling with light sarcasm.

Ah sorry about that then. Its just that I have known too many people who have smashed controllers, windows, tvs, consoles, etc because they died one to many times and had a hissy fit.

Well, the response here is extremely embarrassing to read to say the least. Today I've learnt that we have an entrance exam for people to gain the oh-so exclusive title of 'Gamer' with strict guidelines and rules, such as having played at least one well-known AAA title and having broken at least one controller - hours or money spent are irrelevant. I've also learnt that as a female that has not played 'casual games', I'm a statistical anomaly, and therefore don't count at all when it comes to marketing decisions. Because that 45% also includes hard-core female gamers, not just casual ones, but that's irrelevant. I mean, it's not like constant sexualization and targeting towards teenage boys (in an offensive way, I believe) might alienate these people from going into these games, right?

By the by, if a male owns an Xbox but has only one copy of COD for it and only plays it once every few weeks, is he a gamer? I mean, he's playing COD, a real game for real gamers, so he must be! But a woman playing Bejeweled every day and putting money into the game does not count, because it isn't an actual game.

Women gamers are definitely out there. Me, for one, including many people in this thread alone. Then there's the whole fake-gamer-girl test, but that's a whole other issue.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here