The Gender Gap In Gaming and Why It’s Important
So, you think you know the demographics for gamers? Are you sure? From a young age, I was made to think that women didn’t only not like video games much, but that those who did were outliers. It’s a shame that was the case back then and now that times have changed and the gaming market has shifted away from a male-focused approach, we can accurately take a look at the actual gap and why the data is important.
While different sources conduct research in different ways, they tend to agree that women now make up 46% of gamers in the USA. That’s a staggering number considering that a lot of gaming spaces make it seem like an overwhelming majority is male. Now, that’s overall gaming and not just specific genres. For that, there are differences in what each gender plays generally speaking.
But, for me to continue with this point, it’s important to note that all forms of gaming are valid here, especially since the mobile market has boomed in recent years. Each genre is also equally important given the context. Not being a competitive gamer also doesn’t mean anything in this context, so if you’re thinking of that being a factor, you’d be wrong here.
That being said, let’s touch on that briefly. Esports has been growing over the years and women have been joining in more leagues with each year, so that’s also growing. However, that is also a very male-focused environment that’s going to take time to change.
Now that I’ve digressed, let’s continue. Women tend to have a stronger preference for Strategy, Adventure, Arcade, and Sim games as opposed to their male counterparts. Don’t get me wrong, either, there are still plenty of men who play those genres, but those are the ones preferred by women in this 2019 study.
Men tend to prefer the Shooter, Sports, and Strategy genres according to the same study. So, there was already overlap in at least one genre here. There are a lot less women who play shooters, but that’s also been changing slowly over time, especially with titles like Overwatch, where women make up 16% of the player base according to an article from 2017. While that’s an older study, I see that number only increasing with time.
Why is any of this important? Well, the answer is simple: men are still treated like a strong majority despite the very close gap of 8%. Women aren’t taken as seriously in gaming spaces and that’s a real shame. Obviously not every community is like this, but the community for a lot of shooters are particularly bad. These communities need to grow their player base and also make it accessible to everyone wanting to join, rather than try to shut out women because “COD is for guys!”. I’m a part of the minority of women who do play games like COD, Gears of War, and Halo and I can only speak for myself, but please stop acting like it’s only for men. I’m just as capable as my male counterparts and that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
Not only that, but women aren’t generally seen as collectors or hardcore gamers in general. I’m a collector of classic gaming consoles and the games on each of them. I love the medium and all it has to offer me and it’s a shame that men seem to think women don’t have that interest.
In conclusion, keep in mind that gamers aren’t a mass majority of men, but rather a more equal field in the grander scope, and that there are plenty of women out there who are just as nerdy and in love with gaming as any man could be.
Stay safe everyone. I’m going to go play Apex and then maybe later I’ll continue my completion of Yoshi’s Island.