52% of gamers are women – but the industry doesn’t know it
When it comes to gaming, whether in the form of online games or casino entertainment, the common idea is that men dominate the industry. There’s this prevailing perception that the world of gaming like casino poker and table games are only played mostly by men. And in the academic context, the relationship between women and video games have been , challenging the concept that women are a minority, and they are depicted unfairly. But thanks to recent industry surveys and studies, it’s now time to cast the usual stereotype, and welcome women players to the fold.
Recent studies and surveys suggest that the gaming environment is actually dominated by women. According to a focusing on the gaming habits of players from the United Kingdom, it has been found out that women dominates the industry, representing 52% of those surveyed. A similar survey was conducted years ago, and it was found out that the gaming population is made up of 49% women. This means one thing- the number of women players keep on rising, and they now dominate the gaming landscape. With this new information, perhaps it’s now time to throw out the usual and tired stereotype of a ‘teenage boy playing games in his home’.
What women want in gaming?
So what could be the reasons that gave rise to the popularity of gaming among women? To explain this massive (and defining) growth, it’s best to take a look at the kinds of games that were available a few years ago. When one think of gaming, the popular types of games are the action-packed ones and simulations that test the wit and skills of players. The action-packed games definitely appeal to men who are are attracted to high-octane action. And when it comes to casino entertainment, card games like baccarat, poker and Omaha High were the favorites of men. Fast-forward today, and one can see a change in the gaming landscape, in the types of games available and the platforms where these games can be played. Instead of the usual gaming consoles and trips to a brick-and-mortar casinos, players can now enjoy the
games on the smart phones. Instead of hard-core ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Warcraft’, we now get ‘Words with Friends’ or better yet, ‘Candy Crush’. There is a sense of changed dynamics in gaming, and this favored the women players out there.
The introduction of smartphone is one of the biggest drivers of growth, as this helped propel comfort and convenience among women players. With the introduction of smartphones and faster internet connectivity, the gaming environment has expanded to benefit women. With smartphone, it became easier for women to participate and take part in games from video games to casino games like online poker. Online and social games may not be considered ‘proper games’ then but today, these games dominate, and these are played by more women than men. And even if these women are at home attending to their families, mobile phones allow them to play the games and socialize in a virtual environment for like-minded people. In short, the introduction of high-speed internet and mobile phones allowed women to dominate the gaming industry.
Also, the quality and types of games available helped shaped the industry now. Gone are the days when video games are dominated by ‘Call of Duty’ or similar shooting games. Today, games have become social and casino games are now visually entertaining. High-end video slots, and Texas Hold’em are now rendered in high definition, giving players a different gaming experience. Players no longer play just for the money or bragging rights; they now explore the games to be entertained and to socialize.
How the industry is responding
Surveys after surveys, it has been verified that women constitutes the bulk of players. However, this demographic is not properly given its credit, and the gaming industry has failed to grasp the implication of this. A good number of gaming insiders, marketers and game developers are still clueless on this trend, that women are now dominating the gaming industry. And this is something that should not happen since this trend can work both ways. It will be a marketing mistake for the game designers and marketers to ignore the fact that women constitute the bulk of players today.
For an industry that wants to remain competitive, it’s important that women players should be given their credit and what’s due to them. For example, majority of the games like online poker that are available today still does not represent women and their needs. The games are still focused on too much machismo, and in need a sprinkling of femininity. Perhaps game vendors and developers can come up with ways to design characters that are feminine or friendly to women.
On the marketing side, it’s best that the industry should not neglect women because they are now the biggest spenders. If the game designers and the industry design games that tap into the needs and wants of female players, then it’s easier to remain afloat and rake in the profits. More than half of the players today are women, and it’s only best not to ignore this growing trend if one wants to remain competitive and relevant.
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