Women are rarely seen as serious contenders in the gaming industry, let alone a target audience. They’re more likely to make headlines over the reaction to their visibility in the gaming world, as demonstrated Sophia White who recently told the Sunday Telegraph how her status as a successful female gamer has drawn rape and death threats from male followers. This is the dark and unacceptable side of the simple truth that the gaming world isn’t considered to be ‘for women’.
But figures from a recent We Know Gamers research report carried out with Twitch show adult women now make up 48 per cent of the gaming population. It’s time to examine some of the widespread misconceptions about female gamers, and provide the true picture.
Women Don’t Play Video Games
Our study reveals that a third of women interviewed spent upwards of 30 or more hours playing games a week.
Therefore marketers can count on women to invest their time – and more importantly, money – in games, with 35% spending a reported $200 a year on video games. The growth of the mobile gaming sector is likely to be driven by women, who could account for as much as 45% of the industry’s revenue in the next year alone.
What Games Appeal to Women
The number one reason women cited for playing video games was the challenge, compared to male gamers who play for competition, passion and community.
Candy Crush was the most popular game among women, played by a massive 64%, yet mobile gaming doesn’t hold the same credentials as playing on a PC or console. Although Candy Crush is a mobile game, 63% of female gamers interviewed said they played it on the console and 33% had a dedicated gaming PC set up.
Female Gamers Are Way More Social
Despite perceptions that women are lone wolves in a largely male community, female gamers are actually a pretty sociable lot.
Thanks to online communities and social media, women can easily connect with like-minded women; great news considering 47% of female gamers prefer playing with friends in person rather than alone.
Gaming has also allowed women to better connect with the men in their lives, and many say fathers, boyfriends, sons and grandsons got them into video games in the first place.
Women Enjoy Live Gaming Experiences
Industry events are still largely a male domain, but women are beginning to infiltrate. More than a quarter of female gamers have gone to a live event, and 60% said they would prefer to attend an event in person rather than catch it through a live-streamed channel. Through events women can connect with and find new friends within the gaming community.
The lesson for brands is clear, beware of the stereotypes within the gaming industry. Female gamers are a category in their own right and brands need to extend their appeal to reach them.