Pwned By A Girl! Women Gamers Now Outnumber Teenage Boys

The Entertainment Software Association has just released its 2014 report on the state of the video game industry, and as the title of this post suggests, there have been some significant shifts since the last report. Let's tackle the most interesting one first: Women over the age of 18 currently represent 36% of the game-playing population, whereas boys aged 18 and under claim a mere 17%. Further, females are quickly inching towards becoming the dominant gamer, claiming 48% of the pie.

For many, myself included, statistics like these challenge the definition of "gamer". As someone who grew up with a multitude of consoles and spent a wee bit too much time gaming on the PC, I have a truly hard time calling someone who only plays mobile games a "gamer". Mental hurdle aside, the reality is that anyone who plays games, regardless of the platform, is a gamer. The fact that the ESA doesn't go out of its way to separate mobile or casual games from its overall statistics is proof of that.

Nonetheless, it stands to reason that there's quite a big difference between over-18 women that put most of their focus on mobile games and under-18 males who play on consoles or a computer.

On the topic of mobile, the ESA has found that 44% of gamers play on their smartphone, and 33% play on a "wireless device". Casual and social games dominate the type played on mobile, at 46%, while 31% belongs to puzzle and board games. A mere 15% of mobile gamers play action, sports, RPGs, and MMO games.

Credit: PMS Clan

ESA's report is littered with other interesting statistics, so let's rattle some of them off: The average gamer is 31-years-old, with 39% of the total being over 36-years-old. The number of female gamers aged 50 and over grew 32% from 2012 to 2013, and overall, the average gamer has been playing games for 14 years.

Interested in even more statistics? You can check out ESA's PDF here (right-click, save as; 1MB). 

Tags:  Gaming
sevags 3 months ago

Candy Crush, Bejewled, and farmville don't count.

Dave_HH 3 months ago


erazmusnz 3 months ago

Bah! ESA in the pocket of the big publishers who want to turn gaming into cashcow movie/music entertainment.

Of course they need to make gaming appear mainstream.

There's some pretty lame stuff in that report. The more interesting stat would have been the types of games played (page 5) by gender, that would have painted a different picture entirely.

I suspect most of the game types represented (58%) would probably challenge the term 'game' and hence the term 'gamer'.

I play solitaire therefore I am a gamer.

KristaRoscovius 3 months ago

Thankfully, no one particularly cares what you think counts.

myplane150 3 months ago

Not true, Krista. I care. I also care about what you think too.

MADSKILLZ412 3 months ago

I know 48% of gamers are girls, but I have not seen one yet. Wonder where they got the statistics.

KristaRoscovius 3 months ago

What you mean to say is that you haven't heard them over the mic, or seen any with obviously 'girly' gamertags. Most women I do don't bother with the mic, because they have too much experience with being flamed the second they say hi. Others keep gender-neutral tags, to avoid the same hate. I both have a gender-neutral tag, and only use the mic in a private party.

altshep123 3 months ago

I was entirely skeptical of this article headline until the 2nd paragraph... My mother and grandmother are not gamers, no matter how much candy crush, words with friends or solitaire they play. Misleading statistic is misleading.

now tetris on the other hand. THERE is a gray area.

KristaRoscovius 3 months ago

Gotta love it when people stubbornly believe that only the games they approve of are 'real games'.

BrianLockett 3 months ago

@ KristaRoscovius: It's not so much the games. It's more about the gaming habits. Determining a "gamer" is more about identifying the kind of people who have an avid, wider interest in gaming.

While technically, anyone who's playing a game is technically a "gamer," a gamer is generally implied and understood as someone with a much higher habit and interest in the culture of gaming, rather than someone just playing fifteen minutes of Candy Crush Saga here and there.  Both are welcomed forms of gaming, in my book, but they just shouldn't be confused.

Now, it's not a perfect means of judgment, and things are at times relative. For instance, while I'm personally not a fan of Minecraft, I wouldn't say that someone with 1000+ hours invested into it isn't "hardcore" about Minecraft--a 1000 hours in anything is pretty hardcore.  And even many "core" gamers may enjoy playing Minecraft.

Though, most of these "women" grouped in these statistics might will play something like The Sims 3 for hours...and not much else. Challenge them to a game with an objective or higher skill set, and they generally shy away. Not all women, of course.  Some of my female relatives have been gaming hard since Atari days.

I just think more passionate gamers like myself just get a bit tired of people always lumping in everyone in the same basket, undermining the difference, especially just to make women seem like they have the superior edge in gaming ("hardcore" gaming, by implication), when in reality, women represent a very small percentage of the class of "core" gamers.

One doesn't have to mislead people just to give women in gaming better respect.  
If anything, these articles only make it that much more harder for real "core" gaming gals to get a respectful notice.  I for one would love to know the real estimate of women who own PS4s and play more than free-to-play easy-to-play games on Steam.  I'd love to know the truer statistic of core female gamers.

BrianLockett 3 months ago

@altshep123: Tetris isn't a gray area--I would definitely consider Tetris a game for "true" gamers.

1) To play Tetris, you had to be someone already interested in gaming. You had to buy a Game Boy (preferably). You had to be in the know of gaming. You had to have skill with physical buttons. This wasn't like today, where casual games are heavily-advertised to you on your iPhone. Tetris was an experience that only gamers would touch.

2) Tetris was simple in design, but deceptively difficult to play. You had to have good hand-eye coordination to squeeze in and quickly flip those tetrominoes, eliminating rows after ever-stacking rows, all while the falling pieces grew  towards a break-neck pace.  I think Tetris proves that a simple puzzle game could be pretty hardcore.

3) Even though Tetris has since been made available on nearly every platform you can think of, and made in various reboots, the traditional Tetris remains one of the most culturally-important games in history. A gaming culture that, typically, only gamers value.

Though, I do say, Tetris was simple enough to invite people who normally don't play games. And it made well towards being adaptable (and "cloneable") to more general audiences, on "friendlier" platforms.  But Tetris is still on "our" side.  lol

Manduh 3 months ago

Does Sims 2 and 3, SimCity, Spore, Octodad, and Minecraft count? (I play others but they are on console so they probably don't count either) :P

Dave_HH 3 months ago

Hahah! Yes they do! And women gamers rock too, Manduh! :)

altshep123 3 months ago

Those definitely count and I'd say if you're able to play anything on a console you can wear the "gamer" badge with pride!  Wow, come to think of it, my grandmother plays Wii Bowling on her own Wii... I'm so confused right now.

Manduh 3 months ago

[quote user="Ben"]

Those definitely count and I'd say if you're able to play anything on a console you can wear the "gamer" badge with pride!  Wow, come to think of it, my grandmother plays Wii Bowling on her own Wii... I'm so confused right now.


LoL. The console ones I play are a couple of the Fable games, a couple Batman games and Skyrim. Oh I played A Kingdom For Keflings quite a bit too lmao :) Mostly, I'm on my PC playing Minecraft though. Honestly, even with the games I play, I have never considered myself a 'gamer'. IMO until I can calm my anxiety, last longer than 10 seconds without dying and get at least one kill in any 1st player 'shooter' game like COD, I'll probably never get to be a true gamer. Oh well, some of us just aren't cut out for it haha

altshep123 3 months ago

In my opinion skill has very little to do with determining what qualifies a gamer.  If you enjoy it and spend time doing it, you're a gamer.  I'd call myself a more than casual gamer (in bursts), yet I can count on two hands the games I play.  I just play the hell out of them and rarely more than one at a time.  Minecraft being one game I always return to.  I can't get enough of that sandbox action.

And don't feel obligated to differentiate yourself because your female (you know, unless it's to your advantage : ).  I can think of a few female streamers off the top of my head working very hard to break the stigma associated with "girl gamers".  Like the article says, you're certainly not alone!

MADSKILLZ412 3 months ago

Manduh, you are definitely considered a gamer. I think to be considered a gamer you have to at least own your own personal console, or gaming PC and a library of games that have all been played. I don't think a teenage girl, or boy for that matter, who takes breaks from social media like facebook, twitter, or instagram to play Candy Crush or Flappy bird for 5 minutes on their smart phone should be called a "gamer". It's awesome to see girls, and women being gamers, and I wish more were. There is no way that there any where near as many woman who own their own Xbox, PS4 or PC as there are men. We can always hope as video games become more popular we will see more girl gamers though. Honestly I'm tired of 5-12 year old kids screaming into their mics. xD

digitaldd 3 months ago

on Octodad everytime I am in a Gamestop there is a cute teenage girl playing it. A pointless and difficult game but it seems ladies like it.

infinityzen1 3 months ago

Heck, my exwife and my current wife both play games. Granted my wife is more into phone games, but she does play a few on the xbox and laptop from time to time.

KevinJWeatherall 3 months ago

Wow, I could probably give half a dozen reasons why the title of this article bugs me, including the use of the word "now", even though the reports from 2010-2013 (not sure if they go back further) ALL show adult females who play games outnumbering teenage boys who do, and the use of "Pwned By A Girl", which seems like it could have been chosen simply to get the blood boiling of male gamers (at least the young, angry ones) who happen across this article, or at least its title.

RWilliams 3 months ago

I showed this article to my mother to gauge her opinion, and I was kind of surprised that she didn't think people who play casual / social games are "gamers". She's an avid fan of "hidden object" games, and even with those, she admits she wouldn't consider herself a gamer based on them, despite her devoting a lot of time to them.

Her perspective is no doubt aided by the fact that she used to play console games a lot (she's the one who got me into gaming, actually). She said that with those games, she'd consider herself a gamer, but she no longer considers herself a gamer since she only plays casual games.

Manduh 3 months ago

Anyone else notice the rampant amount of girl "gamers" on Twitch lately? You know the ones who sit in front of their cams with their breasts practically hanging out of their shirts? The ones who don't actually know how to play the game they are supposedly "playing"? Mostly they sit there and fake cry or jiggle a bit and the donations and subs roll in like wildfire. There is one who will seriously get out of her chair and do a jumping jack for every dollar you donate, yes the whole stream is basically jumping jacks because people eat that crap up. Those girl "gamers" are getting annoying and truly make a bad name for real girl gamers! I don't mind the cleavage, honestly, I just wish they would actually PLAY the game they are streaming. That would be nice.

Post a Comment
or Register to comment