Gaming and Gender

first person shooter fps game screen capture shotResearch firm DeltaDNA has released some interesting data about gender and gaming, split across the four categories of action, strategy, puzzle and social/casino games, and the results might just surprise you. Now by “games” the company is talking about online and computer games, with a healthy sprinkling of casual games targeting smartphones and tablets too.

What most jumped out at me is that while 75% of “action” gamers are male, 82% of puzzle gamers are female and 61% of social/casino gamers are female too. They break action games down further, which is even more interesting:

For first person shooters, it’s predominantly male — 90% — which is no surprise to me having watched my son get quite caught up in Call of Duty and similar FPS titles: with live chat and voice communication between everyone on an ad-hoc online team, I can completely understand a young woman seeking to avoid the crassness and immature repartee.

Even more predominantly male, however, are fantasy sports. There’s a reason that you don’t see testimonials from women on those FanDuel and DraftKings: the DeltaDNA research shows that a staggering 92% of users are male. Apparently women aren’t much interested in swimming through thousands of stats to assemble ideal football teams. Go figure.

By contrast, women seem to be more drawn to social and search sort of games, representing 62% of “social slots” gamers and 89% of hidden object games. My theory on the latter: that data’s skewed by moms letting their children use their phones for diversion too.

hidden object screen shot example screen viewWhat’s interesting is that DeltaDNA is really aimed at game developers, not the larger community, so I applaud their closing comment:

“Creating a game that appeals to everyone is hard.. so it’s unsurprising that developers choose a targeted approach. And in an age where each install can cost several dollars in acquisition spend, it’s unlikely that many female-targeted FPSs are waiting to be developed. So if venturing away from the ‘traditional’ may feel too high risk, perhaps broadening the appeal of your game to both genders is a smaller step worth taking.”

Now look at your own gaming practices and that of your children: how do you see gender affecting the games they choose and get caught up in?

And what would you change to make things more gender neutral (if at all)?


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