Back in 2010, Forbes published an article which essentially blew the all-male gamer stereotype out of the window. Citing stats from IBM’s Serious Games Group such as “38% of console gamers” and “43% of PC gamers” are women, the piece not only went against what many thought was the grain, but proved that gaming was fashionable.
￼ “esports” (CC BY 2.0) by sam_churchill
Indeed, with companies like Nintendo preparing to invest millions in games, products and industry positions for women, it certainly looked as though a trend was brewing.
However, now we’re seven years on. Was there really a boom or was it just a shot in the dark? Well, pleasingly, a trend – if not a phenomenon – was born. Although men still dominate large sections of the gaming community, women have earned their place in it too. In fact, in some areas they’re actually ahead of the game. In 2010, American Halo player Katherine “Mystik” Gunn won the WCG Ultimate Gamer Season 2 tournament for $100,000. Competing in a variety of games, Gunn was able to outlast all comers to win the top prize.
Women Haven’t Stopped Gaming
Dat trophy doe <3 GG @TeamEnVyUs #CODChamps #CODXP2016 pic.twitter.com/Xx3ItnZjCX
— EnVy Kat Gunn (@MystikGunn) September 4, 2016
But what’s happened since then? Another area of the gaming industry that’s seen women come to the fore is online bingo. Despite suffering a decline in the eighties and nineties, bingo has come back with a bang post-2010. With iGaming (online casino gaming and betting) starting to reach bingo, bingo operators slowly began to offer online games. Thanks to the anonymity of the internet and the easy access to action, online bingo quickly became a playground for women of all ages.
Indeed, even if you look around at the leading sites today, both the offers and the dynamics tap into the female psyche with regards to gambling. Why? According to a 2009 study by researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, women are more likely to gamble away from crowds. After taking a group of 484 male and female gamblers and placing them in a simulated casino setting, researchers found that women reported a greater urge to play when it was less crowded. From that, the study assumed that women can feel inhibited by the crowds (which are often male-dominated) inside a casino.
With this in mind, it’s little wonder the online betting arena is more suited to women. The lack of crowds means women are more likely to ante up and, importantly, try new games.
Operators have tapped into this desire to want new betting experiences and created bonuses designed to appeal to this type of player. For example, at mobile bingo site mFortune, new players will see the sign “free bingo, no deposit“. When a player creates an account, this offer will give them a small amount of cash to play with.
Naturally, the benefit of this is that the user doesn’t have to be a betting expert or even known how to play bingo because they don’t have to risk their own money to play. Deals like these, in conjunction with an ideal setting, has meant that women now account for roughly 60% of the online bingo population, according to stats from Which?.
An Industry In Tune with What Women Want
￼ ”World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Launch Nigh” (CC BY 2.0) by Omarukai
Beyond the worlds of competitive gaming and bingo, Quantic Foundry discovered that “family/farm” simulation games are more popular with female players. Using the Gamer Motivation Profile which asked participates to score games based on 12 factors, Quantic Foundry found that almost 70% of the audience for family/farm simulations were women.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. With women now more into gaming than ever, the gender is now massively represented in typically “masculine” games like World of WarCraft (WoW) too.
According to a Nielsen report, there were 428,621 female WoW players in December 2008 compared to 675,713 men.
In more recent times, Newzoo found that 35% of WoW’s 7.1 million players are women.
So, while some trends have faded in the last decade, Forbes seemed to have stumbled on something significant in 2010 when it lauded the presence of women in gaming. In fact, with the number of women playing games so strong, it seems as though this trend will be around for a long time.