Is There a Gender Divide In Gaming?
The majority of gamers are women, according to recent research in the Guardian. Don’t look so surprised! Whilst the mainstream media likes to portray typical gamers as teen boys locked inside their bedrooms all day, the facts are confirming what a lot of us women have known all along – the truth couldn’t be further from the stereotypes. Sure, the gaming industry is overrun by men, but that’s not the same thing. Somehow, their voices are just being heard the loudest, as the sad discrimination faced by women during Gamergate confirmed. Let it be clear: we have a place in the gaming space, it might just look different to the way the boys are doing things.
Why No One Knows
As the Guardian article points out, women aren’t seen to be the ones gaming because they aren’t (only) playing your big video games like Call Of Duty. Although some women undoubtedly are – and more power to them – women are much more likely to be playing something on their smartphone, which has a brought rise in gaming as a whole, thank you very much. Some ladies prefer to go with brain games and puzzles on their iPhones or Android devices. Others spend their time playing on joycasino from the comfort of their sofa in the hopes of making a big win. Then there’s your hardcore MMORPG crowd, your FPS supergirl who will take on any man any time of the day and so on. You could even be honing your trivia knowledge with fun, educational and interactive games like Words With Friends, but you’re still very much gaming! Unfortunately, though, a lot of games with a focus on pleasing the interests of women get automatically dismissed – just look at the way the hugely successful Kim Kardashian game was relegated to the “women’s interest” section, rather than tech when it was reviewed – we can’t imagine Call Of Duty being treated with the same level of disregard! Regardless of your opinion on the quality of this title, you have to acknowledge that it belonged to the Gaming or Tech section of magazines and websites.
Sure, a lot of the blockbuster titles are largely followed by men. That’s probably because a lot of these involve violence, or strategic planning, two aspects of video gaming that more men are believed to prefer to women on average. Women are said to favor social games, or those involving puzzles, entertainment or education. However, according to research conducted, there is a constant shift in demographics, and women’s interests are not actually narrow or sexist confined to just pink things; women actually enjoy a broad range of games, and the issue in the differences may well lie in representation. After all, the stats clearly show that women can, do, and want to game. However, in a lot of the big action games, they’re simply not represented. Where they are able to play female characters to have as role models, they’re often limited or cartoony – perhaps there’s only one choice for their character, perhaps their race is ignored, or perhaps the character is sexualized. It’s proven that when people feel an affinity with a character, they’re able to feel more affinity with the game.
Whilst there are some marked differences in the games men and women play as a whole, there’s a whole avenue for the video gaming companies to explore which has largely been ignored except by those in certain niches. If more of them were switched on to us women as gamers, it wouldn’t just help the stereotypes against us – it would help their profits, too.