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Women and Gaming: Are Trends Changing?

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April 9, 2013

The old stereotype of men playing video games while their wives and girlfriends stand and complain may be becoming a thing of the past.  In fact, the roles may even be reversing a little.  Data shows that more and more women are picking up the controller and playing both computer and video games more frequently.

Gender Roles

Incredibly, a 2012 study by the Entertainment Software Association showed that a whopping 47% of all game players are women.  What’s even more astounding is that female players who are over 18 actually significantly outnumber male players 17 and under.  Of course, it hasn’t always been this way but tides are clearly changing – the average male has been playing for 16 years but females aren’t that far behind with an average of 12 years of gaming experience.

What They Play

While a variety of online games are popular, the most played are puzzle, board game, game show, cards and trivia games.  The invention of technology such as Smart Phones and social media likely contributed to these games’ success.

The top-selling video games fall within the strategy, role-playing and casual categories with titles such as Call of Duty and Just Dance being among the most purchased.  That serves to demonstrate how the demographics are changing and developers have had to adjust their releases accordingly.

How They Play

It’s hard to believe but 49% of U.S. households own at least one dedicated game console which can range from the family-friendly Nintendo to the more mature Playstation.  Some consoles allow players to connect online, promoting multiplayer gaming while other games require solo gameplay.

Smartphones, mobile devices and computers are also widely used for gaming.  In a report, USA Today explained that 60% of female gamers played on mobile devices.  Just think of how many people played Angry Birds and you will realize the mass appeal of gaming today.

The Future

Women have repeatedly been offended over the years by campaigns geared towards “girl gamers.”  Clearly, if they represent such a large percentage of the gaming population, they have been enjoying what has been offered over the years.  One thing that is interesting, however, is that parents are using video games as an opportunity to spend time with their children.  In fact, 40% of parents play with their children at least weekly while 59% engage in gaming with their kids at least monthly.

Will this be replacing board games as the new family pastime?  It’s very possible.

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