ESA Survey Finds Nearly Half of All U.S. Gamers Are Female

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ESA Survey Finds Nearly Half of All U.S. Gamers Are Female

Gamer chart 2

The Entertainment Software Association study also found that there are a lot more adult females playing games these days than teenage boys.

It may or may not be true that chicks cannot hold their smoke (dat's what it is), but it is an indisputable fact that they play a lot of video games - virtually as many as the dude half of the gaming audience, according to the Entertainment Software Association's 2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry report. The study found that 59 percent of of Americans play video games, and of that number, 52 percent are male and 48 percent are female. I don't know about statistical significance, but where I come from that's close enough to half-and-half to call it.

Some other interesting facts: The average age of the "most frequent" video game purchaser is 35, and the male/female divide among them is a straight-up 50/50. The number of female gamers aged 50 and older increased by 32 percent between 2012 and 2013, and women aged 18 or older now represent 39 percent of the game-playing population, compared to the relatively piddling 17 percent made up of males aged 18 or younger.

In the "Turning Kids Into Killers" department, 91 percent of parents whose children play games reported that they are present when the games are purchased or rented, and 87 percent said that parental controls on consoles are "useful." Only a little more than half - 56 percent - described video games as a "positive part of their child's life," but a whopping 95 percent said they "pay attention to the content of the games their children play."

"People of all ages play video games," Jason Allaire, associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-director of the Gains Through Gaming Lab, said. "There is no longer a 'stereotype gamer,' but instead a game player could be your grandparent, your boss, or even your professor."

The ESA figures bear that out, but I think declaring that there's no longer a "stereotype gamer" is maybe a bit optimistic. Gaming is universal but gamers themselves can sometimes be a little less flexible in their attitudes, and stereotypes have a way of dying hard, especially when their foundations are viewed with suspicion by a significant portion of the population. The wheels are turning, but we've got a way to go yet.

Source: Entertainment Software Association

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One thing to keep in mind is that these numbers probably have a lot to do with casual/mobile gaming. I think it would be interesting to see what the numbers look like if you filter out all the respondents who just play peggle/angry birds/cut the rope/ ect.

major_chaos:
One thing to keep in mind is that these numbers probably have a lot to do with casual/mobile gaming. I think it would be interesting to see what the numbers look like if you filter out all the respondents who just play peggle/angry birds/cut the rope/ ect.

Or solitaire, or free cell, or minesweeper...

I think this video is relevant

And so, the cycle continues...

Seriously, "gamer" is such a vague term nowadays it refers to too many people- these kind of surveys are useless.

major_chaos:
One thing to keep in mind is that these numbers probably have a lot to do with casual/mobile gaming. I think it would be interesting to see what the numbers look like if you filter out all the respondents who just play peggle/angry birds/cut the rope/ ect.

Damn, you beat me to it.

The information here is really interesting, but I'm afraid it really doesn't say anything without telling us what these people are buying. If we found out that 50% of the FPS market is female, we might actually see genres shaken up, but we'll never know without more information. I'm inclined to believe that a large percentage of those females are playing mobile/browser games.

The report is more interesting. The demographics is boring because all it says is that the Gamer population reflects the general populations demographics. So it's no longer just a "kids" thing, or a "boy" thing, or any other thing for that matter.

Page 12 is what is worrisome. We're at a 4 year gaming recession looking at unit sales. Looking at dollar figures we're only up a little to the point were it's easily a measurement error to say we're finally out of it.

Where is the huge upswing people who saying would happen from the PS4 and XBO? Another year of this, and who knows what'll happen.

Why is this a surprise? I have 3 sisters, all have been gaming for over 20 years, on Atari, Spectrum, C64 and PC. Now the worst issue is, woman pretending they are men so they dont get harassed while gaming. Not saying all women hide, but i think its just easier for them to not say their gender. When i worked in a nightclub, the female staff found it easier to accept and bin mens phone numbers than to argue with them about not taking it.

My Mother is a hardcore gamer, she plays some serious Spider Solitaire on the Windows PC I installed for her. You bet your ass that she gets at least 6 hours playtime down a week!
Now come the fuck on industry and make multimillion AAA++++ games for her...

What I want to know is are male teenagers just a smaller demographic than we've been led to believe or are they leaving gaming for something else (weed)?

vid87:
What I want to know is are male teenagers just a smaller demographic than we've been led to believe or are they leaving gaming for something else (weed)?

Because weed wasn't around for the last 30 years at all, nor has anyone ever smoked weed and played video games at *gasp* the same time.

No kids aren't leaving video games for something else.

Only semi usefull.. what we can take from it is that "gaming" has finaly reached a broader audience and acceptance through the board then ever before.

What it doesnt tell us is what kinds of games the different demographics play.

Thats like comming up with a statistic that says 50 % of people listening to music are female! Nawwww.. are you sure captain obvious?

And people are already on the "they don't play the games I do so they don't count as gamers" bandwagon, also disparaging mobile games as "not real games", even though just on page 2 of the PDF it says that the majority of households have at least one dedicated gaming device, and that 68% of households that have a dedicated gaming device have a console.

Kindof depressing to see that the sales of the RPG, strategy, and adventure genres on consoles combined don't equal the sales of shooters on consoles, but all three of those eclipse shooters on computers. Interesting.

I think most interesting is the last fact, which now shows that the majority of all game sales are now digital. I'm really surprised that I haven't seen anybody post about that yet.

vid87:
What I want to know is are male teenagers just a smaller demographic than we've been led to believe or are they leaving gaming for something else (weed)?

The numbers are shown in a way that are incredibly misleading. This study looks into people who play games. All games. From the Triple A blockbusters on consoles to solitaire on a PC, from Handheld consoles to smartphone aps.

Teens, especially teenaged males, are not leaving gaming, in fact if you look at the data, given the definition of what a gamer is, 39-45% of gamers have been women since at least 2002.

This is simply intentionally bad data gathering being used to make a false image of gaming, and is harmful in the long run since it gives smaller indie devs who don't know any better an image of a market which isn't there.

MarsAtlas:
And people are already on the "they don't play the games I do so they don't count as gamers" bandwagon, also disparaging mobile games as "not real games", even though just on page 2 of the PDF it says that the majority of households have at least one dedicated gaming device, and that 68% of households that have a dedicated gaming device have a console.

Kindof depressing to see that the sales of the RPG, strategy, and adventure genres on consoles combined don't equal the sales of shooters on consoles, but all three of those eclipse shooters on computers. Interesting.

I think most interesting is the last fact, which now shows that the majority of all game sales are now digital. I'm really surprised that I haven't seen anybody post about that yet.

I think the main reason is that it isn't that much of a surprise. For myself, almost all the games I have purchased in the past year have been digital, as have those of the people I know.

The real issue of this article is that it treats all game forms as a single market, when there are vastly different markets within the scope of gaming (such as indie horror, Triple A, casual apps, etc.) which should be separated due to the markets being different ones. You don't see movies or books lumped up into a single, format-wide statistic for just this reason.

It feels a little condescending that the entire report is presented as what is basically several pages of infographics.

I suppose the information is interesting, if unsurprising, although I found the way some of the stats presented to be ambiguous. I know that they probably didn't include smartphones as dedicated gaming devices, but the way the framed some of the numbers made it seem like they had.

This is completely meaningless if we don't know what their definition of a "gamer" is.
I consider mobile gaming a completely different universe compared to the call of duties on consoles and I don't believe that it's a 50/50 spread in whatever folks call "hardcore games" these days since those and their communities have that slight tendency of making people of the female persuasion uncomfortable.

So unless you further elaborate, the data you chose to present to us is unclear at best and misleading at worst.

It would've been interesting to see how different kinds of game genres and platforms divide between different age groups and sexes. I've never even liked the term "gamer", so I have no interest in excluding mobile or casual players from using that definition. However, as it is now, this survey doesn't have much value to me. The difference between someone like me (pc/ps3 owner who follows gaming media daily and likes to analyze games as an artform) and someone who, for example, plays primary mobile games on the go, is just too big. Both could be considered gamers, but they each have completely different culture and values when it comes to gaming.

Nevertheless, the results seem to be overall positive, that's always nice to hear.

Zontar:
You don't see movies or books lumped up into a single, format-wide statistic for just this reason.

True, they split them by Company so they can do their measurement contest. The MPAA releases your nonexistent format-wide statistic every year for movies. Who knew they had more to their job then suing people. Books would be the same, but most people are interested in book revenue until there is a break away hit like Potter.

MarsAtlas:
And people are already on the "they don't play the games I do so they don't count as gamers" bandwagon, also disparaging mobile games as "not real games", even though just on page 2 of the PDF it says that the majority of households have at least one dedicated gaming device, and that 68% of households that have a dedicated gaming device have a console.

People aren't saying they're not 'real gamers', they're just saying that these kind of statistics don't mean what everyone thinks they do.

These statistics will be probably trotted out by some SJW, complaining about how triple A games should be made for women too because they make up almost half of the market, ignoring that the study doesn't go into which demographics play what games.

medv4380:

Zontar:
You don't see movies or books lumped up into a single, format-wide statistic for just this reason.

True, they split them by Company so they can do their measurement contest. The MPAA releases your nonexistent format-wide statistic every year for movies. Who knew they had more to their job then suing people. Books would be the same, but most people are interested in book revenue until there is a break away hit like Potter.

That MPAA report is much more detailed then the ESA report though, and brakes down the numbers in a meaningful way that is relevant to the industry. The ESA report, on the other hand, is useless in terms of functionality for the industry as it gives too little information on the details.

I wish they would have a higher age category distinction. It's pretty much a given that the 50+ age gaming bracket will be tiny but to be able to point at it and say 'these people don't get games, why do we keep listening to them about it (in congress)' would be nice.

Okay, lots of what I'd expect in terms of "including mobile gaming shouldn't count" and "what casual gamers?" and such.

Here's from the Source of the Article - what the article we have here was written about.

Source Article:
Adult gamers have been playing for an average of 16 years, with adult men averaging 18 years and adult women averaging 13 years (p. 3)

I'm trying to think to what degree our pure Gaming with a capital G community was "polluted" by "casual" and "mobile" games 10 + years ago. I'm pretty sure it wasn't all that pervasive just yet, and 13 year history playing on average means a good deal of those women answering were above 15 years to bring the average UP to 13 years if a bunch of those answering were saying things like 4 years and 5 years as casual and mobile games have boomed. Think about it.

Source Article:
47% of gamers play social games

I would have liked it if they had defined what "social games" are - they could be "social media games" shortened, or they could be multiple player games or games you play with friends or online interaction with others games - I have no idea. No gender separation on that either, so that makes it somewhat useless.

Then again - it's not a gender study at all. Gender demographics are included in the first few pages, but the overall report is a general statistics survey - how many parent's play with kids, how many know about ESRB, how many agree with ESRB, top grossing games for the period, console vs. PC popularity by genre, etc.

Pulling statistics off these things and then either parading them around trying to convince people they are some end-all assessment of their pet situation is asinine. For the same reason doing that same thing in any other field for the same reason is asinine: that's just not how statistics from generalized and purposefully non-specificly parsed surveys are meant to be useful.

Now, I know there is a sizable group of women who play main stream, previously established definition of the word "gamer" endorsed video games all the time and it's as much a thing for them as it is for the perceived hordes of men who self-identify as "gamer" in the same spirit. I know there's another - much larger, in my estimation from personal observation - group of women who play casual and social media games or even "old" games online in digital format (Solitaire, Poker, Monopoly, Risk, etc.) who don't have any experience with the more "traditional" experiences and habits of being a "gamer," but claim the title anyway for expediency of description or it's just a handy category to borrow.

What I don't like about this is that while I should be overjoyed that more people are having more fun and playing a little in their lives instead of working and staring at the television dominating their daily activity pattern... I have to dislike them existing, because apparently there mere existence is enough to discredit the idea that women are/can be/have always been "gamers" in the "traditional" (or, if you prefer "exclusionary") sense. Somehow there's this idea that I am thrilled to have these casual/socials around. Somehow it's assumed that they bolster my cause of getting recognized simply as someone who plays games and wants to enjoy them. They don't - as you can read here they do quite the opposite. Sure, I like that my fiancÚ's mom can get into picture-find fun after work and be happy about a game, but I know she's watering down my reputation as a gamer while she's doing it - something I've had to fight for from every guy who plays video games I've ever met in life. So, yeah - it's a mixed bag for some of us, y'know. We're not a hive-mind on any topic.

Oh yay these useless stats again.

Wish they would weight them so they'd give you some idea of the reality of the market. Time played and money spent people! Not some catchall meaning.

So basically, nearly half of all people (give or take a few babies and oldies) in the US are female? Because when your definition of gamer is that broad, you're not going to find many people that don't game in some form (aside from the ones too old/young to understand the device).

Ishigami:
My Mother is a hardcore gamer, she plays some serious Spider Solitaire on the Windows PC I installed for her. You bet your ass that she gets at least 6 hours playtime down a week!

Oh mylanta, yours too? All mine ever does on her iPad is play that damn game.

I tried to get her into something a bit more hardcore like Plants vs Zombies and Angry Birds but she quickly went back to that bloody Solitaire.

I have serious doubts about this in particular: 'a whopping 95 percent (of parents) said they "pay attention to the content of the games their children play."'

I mean, I'm sure 95% SAY they do. but saying is not doing

Zontar:

vid87:
What I want to know is are male teenagers just a smaller demographic than we've been led to believe or are they leaving gaming for something else (weed)?

The numbers are shown in a way that are incredibly misleading. This study looks into people who play games. All games. From the Triple A blockbusters on consoles to solitaire on a PC, from Handheld consoles to smartphone aps.

Teens, especially teenaged males, are not leaving gaming, in fact if you look at the data, given the definition of what a gamer is, 39-45% of gamers have been women since at least 2002.

This is simply intentionally bad data gathering being used to make a false image of gaming, and is harmful in the long run since it gives smaller indie devs who don't know any better an image of a market which isn't there.

So much this. People who occasionally play Angry Birds are not gamers. They wouldn't even label themselves as such. Misleading data is misleading.

It seems rather a pointless survey if you include essentially everyone that owns a smartphone.

major_chaos:
One thing to keep in mind is that these numbers probably have a lot to do with casual/mobile gaming. I think it would be interesting to see what the numbers look like if you filter out all the respondents who just play peggle/angry birds/cut the rope/ ect.

Yeah this is my thoughts. You play 5 levels of Candy Crush now and you're a gamer apparently. I can vaguely remember reading some similar survey and when they broke it down by genre over 50% of 'gamers' were playing just mobile games or things like solitaire. Without the casual/mobile gamers having input I think you'd see males are still pretty dominate, maybe not as much as they once were but still dominate. As for the average age though that's probably not too high because I know of a lot of adults who are still pretty hardcore gamers.

loa:
This is completely meaningless if we don't know what their definition of a "gamer" is.
I consider mobile gaming a completely different universe compared to the call of duties on consoles and I don't believe that it's a 50/50 spread in whatever folks call "hardcore games" these days since those and their communities have that slight tendency of making people of the female persuasion uncomfortable.

So unless you further elaborate, the data you chose to present to us is unclear at best and misleading at worst.

A gamer is someone who purchases and plays video games as a hobby. It doesn't matter what genre of games you like or prefer, if you have enough money to buy a system and a couple of games, then you are a gamer. The definition is that simple and easy to understand. Some People just make the definition of the word gamer difficult to understand because they have a habit of segregating themselves and taking pride in only liking one genre over the other.

Shocking new statistics reveal that roughly half of all smartphone owners are female

For pointless and misleading statistics full of cherry-picking and bias, look no further than ESA gaming statistics.

Really, wasn't the first time enough? Or did they only release another one to catch the attention of news sites like Escapist?

On a positive note, it's good to see the number of people in this thread who had already wised-up about ESA. Thank heavens most of us are smart enough to know these statistics are or no value to anybody and utterly meaningless.

VVThoughtBox:

A gamer is someone who purchases and plays video games as a hobby. It doesn't matter what genre of games you like or prefer, if you have enough money to buy a system and a couple of games, then you are a gamer. The definition is that simple and easy to understand. Some People just make the definition of the word gamer difficult to understand because they have a habit of segregating themselves and taking pride in only liking one genre over the other.

Well, how are you going to define playing as a hobby as opposed to not as a hobby? Is playing a game while waiting for transport and only then sufficient? Is playing only free games sufficient? Is playing only on someone else's console sufficient?

I don't care who wants to call themselves a gamer because it means nothing. We're already going the spectrum from MMO subscribers and professional RTS players to people who play with the family on a Wii at family dinners or play Farmville in office breaks, two very different markets and gaming habits, and it doesn't do anyone any favours, least of all publishers trying to get an accurate picture of who they're targeting, that we're lumping all of those in together. Which is why there needs to be a further distinction. It's not about elitism or excluding people or any of that crap, it's about making meaningful distinctions between markets so publishers don't think Fallout fans would be delighted to see more microtransactions or other similarly erroneous conclusions (and as far as I know, that's how stupid publishers can be and have been). But since no-one can say 'casual' or 'hardcore' without a ridiculous train of connotations we don't have terms for the two broad groups and no real way for a study to distiguish them.

I'm starting to wonder if gaming journalists are being sexist and are just blaming all their problems on the industry to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

MarsAtlas:
And people are already on the "they don't play the games I do so they don't count as gamers" bandwagon, also disparaging mobile games as "not real games", even though just on page 2 of the PDF it says that the majority of households have at least one dedicated gaming device, and that 68% of households that have a dedicated gaming device have a console.

Kindof depressing to see that the sales of the RPG, strategy, and adventure genres on consoles combined don't equal the sales of shooters on consoles, but all three of those eclipse shooters on computers. Interesting.

I think most interesting is the last fact, which now shows that the majority of all game sales are now digital. I'm really surprised that I haven't seen anybody post about that yet.

I don't really think people are saying that mobile game and social games count, just that the net is cast very wide when you include those, and then post it on a more classic gaming site, such as the Escapist.

I had a fairly long winded post, going into more details about this as I read through the survey, but found one critical statistic in it that I really think helps draw the line between what this survey considers a gamer, and what more dedicated gaming communities consider a gamer. On Page 4, it states that "44% of game players state that computer and video games give them the most value for their money, compared with DVDs, music, or going out to the movies". That right there I believe is the largest distinction between what this survey considers as a gamer, and what communities such as the Escapist and other sites and the like might consider a gamer. In my mind, this survey just sets the net too large for what it considers gamers. I mean, almost everyone in the States reads, whether it be a restaurant menu, cooking instructions, and other such things of that nature, but I wouldn't consider those people readers when compared to those who read a novel a week or something like that.

And as for the point of most game sales being digital, I honestly don't find it all that shocking. The survey states that "Digital format sales include subscriptions, digital full games, digital add-on content, mobile apps and social network gaming", which when related back to an earlier statement "Casual/social game play on mobile devices and online has increased significantly over the past year. Among most frequent gamers, social games are now the most popular genre, increasing in popularity by 55% from 2012 to 2013", which makes sense for the increase in digital growth. Frankly, I'm somewhat surprised that the data doesn't go the other way when including smartphones and the like.

What am I most surprised by though? The fact that Skyrim is the 13th most sold computer game of 2013, even though it was released in late 2011. I guess that had to do with the Legendary Edition release of it though, but it still surprised me.

This just in, gamer Dads have had the necessary allotment of time to produce adult gamer daughters. Demographic of female gaming has widened considerably in that time.

This whole 'mans club' mindset is a really old relic of the past at this point in time. Clung to by people rapidly approaching their middle age and beyond. I'm hopeful for the future since I've noticed young teens in my area being far more inclusive of their female peers when discussing gaming related topics and upcoming releases (observed outside school waiting to pick up my brother)

The casual gaming market has some part in this but I don't think it's as large as you think it is.

I know way too many female friends who at least have a DS, who have dabbled in more serious MMO's. And it sure isn't all bejeweled clones or cutesy farmville games.

Alot of them...Have a steam account. If only because the Sims and a handful of other games like South Park or Marvel Heroes have caught their eye.

Even elderly women who've in their retirement have taken it upon themselves to play their grandkids video games while bored and have taken to them quite amazingly.

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