Gaming has long been thought of as a world with a primarily male demographic. Whether or not that that remains true if we exclude the preteens with microphones is unknown as I, unfortunately, am not a statistician, though I did once take a statistics course because calculus was big and scary. Seriously, it’s like the English alphabet went through a midlife crisis and turned Greek.
Why, mathematics? Just…why?
New evidence suggests that male gamers might not be the majority demographic anymore.
I’ll just let that sink in for a second or two.
Ready to continue? Alright then.
The Numbers Say…
According to a study from the Entertainment Software Association, adult female gamers are now the largest gaming demographic. Gamer girls, congratulations. You’re now the top of the chain, making up 36% of the gaming population, compared to adult men at 35% and teen boys at 17%. This expansion extends across the board, as now 59% of Americans are gamers, and 51% of households have at least one console.
And those aren’t the only interesting facts. Get your game faces on. I’m about to throw even more statistics in here, courtesy of the ESA.
The average gamer is 31 years old.
The amount of female gamers over age 50 has increased by 32% from 2012 to 2013.
Women playing on console and mobile devices is now at 48%, up from 40% in 2010.
Okay, I’m done throwing statistics.
So What Happened?
One possible explanation for this trend is the widespread usage of smartphones and Androids and iPods and whatever else kids have these days. Games like Candy Crush on mobile devices still count as gaming, even if most players wouldn’t consider themselves gamers. Purists, therefore, might dispute the validity of the above information. The study didn’t exactly distinguish between people whose main hobby is playing video games and people who pull up a game of Angry Birds on the bus to insert-destination-here so that they’ll have an excuse for not moving their bags if a stranger tries to sit next to them (don’t pretend you haven’t done it). While the women in this survey may be casual gamers, it is just as likely that they are that badass sniper that keeps picking you off, or that rogue that keeps sapping and blinding you to tears.
But let’s all agree to offer all gamers a controller for a second, from the most casual to the most hardcore.
What Does This Mean?
What this means is that the gaming world is growing more and more inclusive of all genders and ages. And that, surely, can’t be a bad thing. For ages we’ve all heard about the exclusivity of gaming. Let’s not continue that trend by dividing hardcore gamers and casual gamers. (Don’t we already do that with console versus PC gamers anyway?) Can’t we just all hold hands and sing Bohemian Rhapsody (you thought I was going to name a different song, didn’t you?) while Doritos and Mountain Dew dance around in the background?
Well, girl or guy, we all need our hands free to play video games. So maybe not.
But it was a nice thought while it lasted.