Home / Editorials / The changing face of the gaming scene: are women dominating the industry?

 

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There’s no denying that females have increasingly made an impact in the worldwide video gaming industry. Back in June 2013, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released a very informative report which revealed that “women comprise 31 percent of the video game-playing population, while boys, 17 and under, represent only 19 percent of game players. Women are 45 percent of the entire game playing population and 46 percent of the time are the most frequent game purchasers.” The 2014 edition of this same ESA report confirmed that a whopping 48 percent of video gamers are female. It also stated that “women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (36%) than boys age 18 or younger (17%)”. The potent combination of next-gen hardware and outstanding software will definitely keep the broader video gaming fan base engaged for years to come.

With so many titles and platforms for video gaming these days, it’s not too surprising to find out that certain preferences have emerged among male and female video gamers. Experts from Wichita State University’s Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL) claimed in an August 2012 research study that male video gamers were more likely to be enticed to games in the action/adventure, fighting, real-time strategy (RTS), first-person shooter (FPS), and role-playing game (RPG) genres. On the other hand, female video gamers were more likely to be drawn to games in the simulation, puzzle/card, music/dance, and social genres. Some studies also cite that it is the female demographic that dominate the casino gaming genre, making up more than 50% of the poker, blackjack, and slot-gaming customers. It’s certainly worth noting that some facets of social gaming have been assimilated into the online gaming experience, especially in casino-related games. A study from RMM London, which has worked closely with InterCasino – the world’s first online pay-to-play gaming site that offers web-based slot machines –, has acknowledged that online gaming can certainly be considered a social medium. The study cited Bryan Eisenberg and his definition of social media as “platforms for interaction and relationships”.

While the growing popularity of social gaming will surely entice more females to play video games, an earlier research study from the University of Toronto back in 2007 has claimed that action-oriented video games can help women improve their spatial awareness abilities. Apparently, playing fast-paced action-oriented video games can help females catch up to the male brain’s proven advantages in spatial skills like like geometry, interpreting technical drawings, and reading maps. Specifically, females have shown noticeable improvement in spatial skills after only 10 hours of playing action-oriented video games. Moreover, these newfound improvements have been maintained for as long as five months after the initial 10 hours of video game playing.

 

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