Gaming has always historically been seen as a male dominated hobby, but that is starting to change drastically now and a report published in 2017 states that in the US 41% of gamers are actually female and this figure looks set to rise. It has also been predicted that women will spend a massive £1.1 billion on gaming within 2018.
The gaming world has evolved enormously over the past years and has now become a multibillion dollar industry, especially with regards to mobile. Gaming culture has always had the image of men wearing headsets whilst playing on their PC or console, but this image is no longer relevant and women are now downloading and playing games, especially via their smartphones more than ever. Throughout time women have never been particularly good at staying sedentary, meaning their habits weren’t well suited to sitting around for hours on consoles, however the availability of games on mobile devices has definitely contributed to the rise in female gamers.
Even though women are now gaming in massive numbers it is true to say that in the most part they feel under-represented and unwelcome to some extent in the gaming world. Women make up almost half of gamers worldwide but game developers, gaming culture and the actual games themselves; are still in the most part male. At the root of this lies the problem that women only make up around a quarter of the gaming industry and only 23% of females feel that there are equal opportunities for women within the industry. This is then limiting the opportunity for women to influence and build games to resonate with a wider audience.
Games with male characters and ‘male themes’ dominate the various titles available to gamers and women surveyed believe that only 30% of games are designed for them to enjoy. This stops women exploring certain gaming genres and prevents them discussing the games with friends.
Google have introduced an initiative called “Change the Game”, which is designed to increase the diversity within gaming and highlight women who play games. They are also promoting female gaming with more female protagonists in the Indie Corner of Google Play. They are trying to push the gaming industry to become more inclusive towards females.
There are of course many online service and websites which primarily focus on a female audience and these span from price comparison websites, money saving experts, quick loans online and other areas where generally the woman in the household is the primary decision maker. In this the gaming industry has lagged behind a little with the rest of society and is potentially even slower to adapt than Hollywood, which is not exactly a compliment.
However, it must be noted that there are some genres in which women are very much the main target audience and games are predominantly created with them in mind. The perfect example of this the mobile bingo space, where one can enjoy bingo at well recognised brands, mFortune being one of these that immediately come to mind.
Whilst the number of female gamers is increasing every year, it is still true to say that stereotypes still exist within the gaming world and to an extent opportunities are still limited within the gaming industry for women. This has to change moving forwards and we are actually seeing more female developers emerging and this is vital to ensure we see, in the future a wide range of diverse games that cater to all tastes, ages and genders. Many other fast growing industries now have a very prominent female presence and it is important that the gaming industry also does, as this will help it to grow and evolve by representing the now extremely diverse video game market.