ESA: Women make up almost half of all gamers

New report from industry group also finds adult women a more significant portion of game-playing population than boys 17 and under.

A new report from The Entertainment Software Association has found that women make up nearly half (45 percent) of all gamers. The findings are part of the 2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and based on a poll of more than 2,000 "nationally representative" households.

The report also found that adult women (31 percent) represent a "significantly" greater portion of the gamer population that boys 17 and younger (19 percent). In addition, according to the group's findings, women are 46 percent of the time the most frequent game purchasers.

The report also highlighted trends regarding how closely parents monitor what their children purchase. According to the findings, parents are present when games are purchased 89 percent of the time, while children receive parents' permission to purchase or rent a game 80 percent of the time.

Overall, 52 percent of parents believe video games are a positive part of their child's life.

Other notable findings from the Essential Facts report include 58 percent of all Americans describing themselves are gamers in one way or another. In addition, 51 percent of all United States households own a dedicated game console; and those that do, own an average of two.

The full report is available at the ESA website.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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1161 comments
DrYnot
DrYnot

@FumikoM@DrYnotMhmm. And my motorcycle is a rocketship. Face it: girls are a massive, MASSIVE minority in any game that involves holding a controller that is not also the screen.

Moun7ainMan
Moun7ainMan

I don't know who did this survey but I can't think of a single parent that thinks playing video games is positive. Just sayin.

June-GS
June-GS

Now why am I not surprised......

GrouchyGramma
GrouchyGramma

I'm not one of those females in the survey but I'd just like to make it known that I am a real gamer, a 53 year old female gamer at that. I play games more than my husband... every afternoon in fact. I play mostly FPS and my favorite at the moment is BF3. I also play Splinter Cell, Halo, Ghost Recon, Medal Of Honor etc. so don't just think that female gamers just play Farmville or Candy Crush. I've never played those games. 

Now don't you give me stupid comments about this post cuz I can get REAL GROUCHY!!! >:-/

R3NeGaDeAnGeL
R3NeGaDeAnGeL

This is most likely true, when they include "Candy Crush", "Ruzzle", "Farmville" , "The Sims", etc apart of the games. Or likely I'm just being completely stereotypical, and jealous that nearly all of my female friends would not consider themselves as gamers.

DaCriLL
DaCriLL

i don't doubt this studie. But i do question what they considered a "game player".

45% female "game players".  I see a difference in "game player" and "gamer".

bullshit stuide made to raise eyebrows.

skunkpants
skunkpants

Yet the industry is still considered to be portraying females in a sexist mannor. Half of the gamers are female, so it can't be that bad!

Yatsukiii
Yatsukiii

I wish this was true.  All my girl friends think I'm a tomboy for playing video games.  I guess it depends on your location or something.......

guahiatt
guahiatt

I didn't know there were that much female gamers, I thought it was more like 70-30...I'm gladly impressed.

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

Wow, everyone's mad without a reason. Who cares what "gamer" is, or the exact gender percentage? We're all in it for many types of games and we should just give it a rest with the boys-only club stuff.

Back to playing some more. Cheerios.

ld115
ld115

The problem comes down to what's defined as a video game. A person who spends 30+ hours playing an MMO or game like CoD each week is going to have a different opinion on what constitutes a video game than a person who stays on Facebook all day. The article is obviously going with the social and app gamers.

I will not deny that female gamers are increasing in population, but I can't classify games like Angry Birds, Farmville, or any social network games as video games which is statistically where a majority of females go towards for games.You can argue how social games are also video games, and I'll agree to those points, but Solitaire, for example, is not a video game to any gamer I know.

To me a video game has a plot, a beginning, middle and end, much like a book or movie. They can be terrible or good, have characters and places you love/hate, and displayed in any medium, as well as a sense of having those characters get better, or overcoming hard trials over time.

I don't see that in probably 90% of social network based games and thus will never call them games and because of that, those who only play those games I can not call video gamers. Gender has nothing to do with it and I'll gladly welcome and female who plays any game I play and be fine with getting curb stomped by them if that may be.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

Pfft....umm bull**** much? They're growing in numbers............ but 45%? G.O.H. I would've loved it if it was true. A woman's company is always enjoyed.......and no, I'm not being sexual. Grow up.

BloodyAura
BloodyAura

It's both funny and sad how these sexist male gamers (even exist) and refuse this survey as fact, some of these comments I read just are so immature, like little 5 yr. old boys angry that girls with cooties exist in ''their'' community. Thank GOD not all male gamers are like that and actually embrace the fact! As for those who want to pout and deny reality, well, maybe they just need to grow up and #dealwithit.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@GrouchyGramma *Puts on reporter hat* How old were you when you started gaming? What was the first game you played?....................lol Sorry, I've never met a 53 year old gamer before.

rigbybot127
rigbybot127

@R3NeGaDeAnGeL The Sims is most definitely a game, and one of the best ever made. But, I suppose that's your opinion.

Cariwyn
Cariwyn

@R3NeGaDeAnGeL To be fair, yeah, that is probably a fair portion of the female gamers that were surveyed.  What the women who are posting on here are asking for is just for people to realize that's not true of all female gamers, and in fact the number of "true" gamers who are women is probably a lot higher than many people expect.  A lot of these posts seem to ignore the fact that there's probably a decent portion of the male side of this study that wouldn't fit their idea of a real gamer either.

 I would love to see a study to show the number of console/PC gamers that are women, my guess would be around 30%, more adult women than young, but getting accurate data is nearly impossible, and then people would still argue about which games "count".  Sims is a PC game, but it's on your list there.  From my perspective, someone who only plays CoD probably shouldn't count any more than a Sims player.  It's all opinion though, that's the trouble with these things.

PheasantSupreme
PheasantSupreme

@skunkpants Oh shut up with your sexist shit. For every female portrayed in a sexist manner there are 1000 men killed in an objectifying manner.

RoadStar1602
RoadStar1602

@skunkpants Not that this has any bearing on this particular topic, but males are portrayed in the same way and that is true for the entertainment industry as a whole, not just gaming.

guahiatt
guahiatt

@Yatsukiii It probably depends on your friends really....is "tomboy" an offensive expression by the way? I really don't know, English is not my native language.

Cariwyn
Cariwyn

@ld115 You realize, by your own definition, CoD barely deserves to be called a "real" game...not many people play it for the single player "plot".  That said, the assumption that a female gamer only plays mobile/casual games is not much better than saying they don't play at all.  You may not mean it this way, but it comes across as "women aren't smart enough for real games".  

I do wish we could separate the mobile/casual market from the console/PC market in people's understanding of games, though in all fairness some mobile games are getting very similar to older console/PC games, and are catching up fast, so it's really mostly the casual market that ought to be distinct.  And sure, a lot of girls play casual games, but hey, a lot of guys do too, they aren't exactly mutually exclusive to console/PC, just something to do when you don't have time for a nice long sit-down.

This survey probably is skewed, but it's pretty safe to assume that of any survey, anywhere.  I think the idea is to make it not so hard for people to believe that gamers are gamers, gender really shouldn't be such the fuss it's become.  Like any situation where racism/sexism is involved though, it will take time to achieve true acceptance. And no, I don't think all or even most male gamers are sexist, but the ones that are stand out and show pretty badly on the rest.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@BloodyAura You ever consider that they are not excepting this as fact.......because it's not fact?

hrst1
hrst1

@BloodyAura Shouldn't you be playing Sudoku on your phone?



GrouchyGramma
GrouchyGramma

@PaulJanson  To tell you the truth, I started late, when I was 49 in 2009. I saw my husband play Rainbow Six Vegas with his friend on the xbox360 and I thought, hey I can do this. So I played split screen with him, not satisfied with the limited view so my husband bought me an xbox of my own. I've been playing FPs and some RPGs ever since and loving every minute of it. :-D

skunkpants
skunkpants

@PheasantSupreme Maybe if you read the whole comment before flaming like an idiot, you would see that I wasn't calling the industry sexist. I said it is considered sexist.

Cariwyn
Cariwyn

@RoadStar1602 @skunkpants Gotta agree with you there, the typical male portrayal is also pretty unrealistic, and often very standard, white muscly guy with stubble and short dark hair.  There's starting to be some pretty good female characters in games, I hope the trend keeps up.  There's no need to completely get rid of sexualized women in games, it's not exactly exclusive to the medium, as long as they aren't the only examples of female characters, or preferably even the majority.

Yatsukiii
Yatsukiii

@guahiatt @Yatsukiii I'm not sure if it is or not.  It's kind of like telling a man that he is feminine.  I guess it just depends on a person's outlook or their personality, but I'm not easily offended, so I couldn't really answer that.

rigbybot127
rigbybot127

@Cariwyn @ld115 Is Team Fortress 2 not a real game, since it has no single-player plot? Do people play Mario for it's "single-player plot"? A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. That means that Call of Duty is, by definition, a real, honest-to-God game.

BloodyAura
BloodyAura

@hrst1 I don't own a cell phone wise a$$. I'm a serious gamer, who games on consoles and I wouldn't play those phone games even if I DID own a cell.

philstone1968
philstone1968

@hrst1 Did you need to search your mummies or daddies phone to see how to spell Sudoku?  Your a comedian suitable for pre-schoolers.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@zyxe @udubdawgz lol, oh i think i had a bit of instigation in mind:)

and, if people read our comments i think they can possibly learn something from it.

or, at least, get a chuckle, lol.

zyxe
zyxe moderator

@udubdawgz @zyxe now i think the conversation is getting somewhere. by calling your viewpoint narrow, i was identifying that you're talking about a narrowed definition, but not what everyone else is talking about. you didn't state that very well in your initial comment, which looked like it was meant to be inflammatory instead of thoughtful. my point is that when you already know that most people are using a different definition, it's extremely helpful, if not critical, to explain that you understand what they're talking about but that you are defining it another way so that people are on the same page. 

i never told you what you do or do not understand, only that your lack of attention to the first definition, the one that everyone is using, was pretty blatant when it's super important to get that issue cleared up before people can begin to comprehend what you're saying.

as i said, i do agree that the sexes are different. not everyone conforms to the norm, but there are typical differences that most people can relate to, and that can be wonderful if respected. life would be rather boring if we were all alike :)

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@zyxe @udubdawgz

i understand completely which definition people are focusing on, lol.  it's the focus 99% of the time.  as well, the obvious disgust that type of sexism should bring to us all isn't the debate or my point.

the second definition, however, is in need of some severe debate, as proven, by both of your comments and your insulting conclusions to my comment.

i wasn't refuting the evil of abusing someone due to their gender, at all.  

so stop accusing me of that falsehood and don't tell me what i can, can't, or, should debate about.

stop telling me what i do or don't understand.  

the fact is that when the term "sexism" is brought up, most people instantly think of it as an inherently negative one about abuse and injustice.

yet, the truth is that the first thing we should all think about is how wonderfully different both sexes are.

plus, lol, i like the art of debate.

zyxe
zyxe moderator

@udubdawgz one definition of it is not bad. but you are blatantly ignoring the definition that most people are using, which is the second, and that's where you aren't understanding others' arguments. you choose to use the second definition to refute people's use of the first definition without acknowledging that they're different, which is not a very affective argument if you want to convince others your narrow viewpoint is correct.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@zyxe @udubdawgz and, i'm very obviously talking about the second definition.  

unless, you're going to tell me "stereotypes" is also inherently bad, lol.

the main point i clearly made, and, both of your comments PROVED, is that sexism is NOT inherently bad.


udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@spoonybard-hahs @udubdawgz lol, abhorrent, draconian thinking.

what's abhorrent, is you making that conclusion about my comment.

you don't need to give me a lesson on the abuse that can take place because of one's gender.

that's obviously not what i was referring too.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@udubdawgz Sexism is not recognizing physical and genetic differences between genders. Sexism is when you use those differences to demean and dehumanize a person or to objectify them. When all you can do is  look at a woman and see a receptical for your gentialia - and believe she should be grateful for it - that's sexism.

Everything you just said is abhorrent and inherently flawed to the most disgusting of degrees. It's that kind of draconian thinking that keeps things from moving forward.

I will admit though, you're right about the term homophobia being an incorrect nomenclature. It should be bigot.

zyxe
zyxe moderator

@udubdawgzthere are a few definitions of sexism, even officially as in the merriam-webster dictionary: 

1 : prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women 2 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

now, i do agree that there are some fundamental differences between men and women. based on definition 2, that may not be so horrific because we will always tend to make inferences about one thing based on another of our experiences. the problem lies when it becomes definition 1, when we LET that observation of our differences cause us to negatively judge (i.e. be prejudice or discriminate) someone before the individual before us has actually demonstrated the expected qualities. you may have such thoughts in your mind, predicting what someone is going to be like before they've shown any inclination to be such a way, but when you act on it negatively, it shouldn't be right. that's what most people are fighting against, not that there is a difference between men and women.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@spoonybard-hahs @lyterain @skunkpants

sexism is a reality of life and is NOT inherently wrong.

no matter how many times feminists and statists  say it is.

sexism, the fact that men and women are 2 distinct creatures, is nothing to shy away from or hide.

it's what makes us both unique.

my point?  too many people INCORRECTLY throw around the terms, sexist and sexism.

it's EXACTLY  like the fools who incorrectly use the term, homophobic.


PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@Cariwyn @PaulJanson I apologize for seeming hostile to you. Just know that there was no negative feeling in any of this except for when I was accused of being sexist and I respect you for keeping a clean argument. No insults or foul language.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@spoonybard-hahs @PaulJanson "throwing a tantrum because this survey offends you somehow." First, I'm sexist, I'm bias, I don't know any female gamers, and now I'm throwing a tantrum. Quite amusing how you're painting this picture of me despite not knowing who I am, but hey, don't stop by account. Keep going. My point still stands that this survey is not 100% accurate for them to come to an accurate conclusion since "all gamers" were not surveyed. So this belief structure you say I have, is not challenged....or maybe it is, idk, you're the painter. No, I won't be going in circles with you since it's all pointless at the end of the day. So I'm done here.

philstone1968
philstone1968

@PaulJanson @spoonybard-hahs A point of which cognitively your unlikely to arrive to the understanding of anytime soon. But good luck on your expedition, I expect it will be a epic undertaking for you!

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@Saketume @spoonybard-hahs Anecdotes isn't evidence. You can't say, "I don't see any women in GameStop, therefore there are no women gamers." That is a logical fallacy. If you tried pulling that crap in a philosophy or basic reasoning class, you'd fail.

Again, yes, the survey didn't ask all 8 BILLION people in the world if they're gamers. Surveys don't work like that. A good survey is able to extrapolate data and work out a meaningful conclusion that can be applied to the population as a whole. Surveys are not supposed to be biased;  they do not work to prove your fucked up version of reality.

Saketume
Saketume

@spoonybard-hahs

Bingo! They made this survey to prove something.

That is the wrong way and not the scientific method.

It's not a strawman it's argumentative logic. You claim something then it's your job to prove it. They claim 45% of gamers are women. Burden of proof is on their shoulders. The survey proves nothing.

Simple enough to dispute it by saying they didn't ask all people. They don't claim they did hence the argument is won. 

Saketume
Saketume

@spoonybard-hahs

 I can write it off by just using the data of the study itself. It clearly says a major part is phone games and the likes.

Then I compare it to what I see myself in games (I play all sorts of games. All sorts.) in gameshops in game forums. I compare it to what people talk about I compare it to I see what friends and relatives kids do.

Then I've seen other statistics. Pictures from other countries. Game meetings, conventions.

Everything points me to believe that 45% of gamers being women is a lie.

If you instantly believe this study without having any real world comparison then you're not using logic.

I can make you a study right here:

I asked 2000 people from all over the world and 85% them said that most trees have purple leaves and not green. Would you believe that? Amazing huh.

It's just your bias that would disagree without any real facts. It's not like you could have seen all the trees in the world on your own right.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@PaulJanson @spoonybard-hahs You actually didn't point anything out. All you've been doing is throwing a tantrum because this survey offends you somehow.

But let me ask you this: how do you think this survey is wrong?

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@Saketume @spoonybard-hahs Allow me to burn down that straw man for you. Surveys and studies exist to prove trends and plausible outcomes. Surveys and studies become more concrete when there are other trends or hard facts that can support them. This survey is the best estimation of how many female gamers there are when you consider that women outnumber men nearly 2 to 1 in the global population.

Your above straw man exemplifies precisely what is wrong with PaulJanson's arguments. If you can't site anything other than your own ill-informed "logic" and run solely on anecdotal evidence (such as my GameStop example), you have no argument. You have no proof of concept in any context.

All you are doing is displaying a self-indulgent bias.

Seriously, both of you have not demonstrated in any remote fashion how this survey cannot be applied or have even attempted  to discredited it.

All you have done is screamed foul because something is challenging your belief structure and you don't like it.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@Saketume @zyxe In order to have logic, we have to have data. If you instantly write something off saying it goes against logic without being able to articulate why or even present a modicum of respectable data, all you have is your bias and ill-informed ideology. It takes more than seeing what's around to get the full picture.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@Saketume @Cariwyn Saying it's a filthy lie actually says you don't wish it were true. Let me ask you, do you feel this survey under or over represents female gamers?

Saketume
Saketume

@Cariwyn Because it's a filthy lie and I don't like liars.

I'd like it to be true as well but I don't let bias get in the way.

Saketume
Saketume

@zyxe

We know NOTHING. We can only deduce stuff by using logic. He's doing it right. You are not.

You want the study to be true so you choose to believe it. Just like the idiots who believed the world was flat because their priests told them god made it that way. They should have listened to the scientists who used their eyes and brains to check what it was really like out there rather than looking at some text.

Saketume
Saketume

@spoonybard-hahs

So let me get this straight.

I present a study to you that says 95% of all meat you eat is from frogs.

Now you say "that's not true that's not a fact"

And I say "source?"

 You got it backwards. He doesn't have to prove anything.

This study is not fact.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@spoonybard-hahs @PaulJanson And what does you knowing females gamers have anything to do what I'm talking about? Good for you. I could care less. I can count on two hands and one foot on the female gamer friends I have, and for the ones I know about in general I would need to 2 other people's limbs to count. Most of which I met through tournaments, so idk what you were getting at about the hole you assume I'm living in. If saying that this survey is not accurate makes me bias then so be it. 

People paying attention to video games is not recent thing at all, V.G. have always been popular since the early 2000s. And yeah just like basketball, football, baseball, etc. Video gaming, though not respected as the others, was also look on as a young man's hobbies when it first started. That's common knowledge. So telling me "female gamers are numerous and they are becoming more visible each year" was meaningless, since I already pointed that out.

Cariwyn
Cariwyn

@PaulJanson @Cariwyn I'm glad that's not what you mean by arguing, but you're really coming across that way, intentions aside.  All I was saying is that pretty much all surveys are inaccurate, taking them as fact is never a good idea, in that I think we can agree.  They can however promote discussion or make you consider a point of view you hadn't before. If you hate surveys in general, more power to you, but be careful to note that what you mean and what people may read it as are very different.  You sound very hostile in many of your posts, and given the nature of the survey, I hope you can understand why people are assuming what they are.  Also, you've been making a number of conversational faux pas in your posts, keep that in mind before telling other people to "learn how to converse".

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@Cariwyn Who said I was trying hard? Who said I was pissed? If such a survey exist, YEAH I WOULD ACTUALLY BE ANGRY as gaming skills has nothing to do with the sex of a person and is a direct insult to the female gamers in my life. All I was saying is that is not fact, I'm not talking about other surveys. Stay on point. Learn how to converse and not blindly accuse people of sexism. smh

zyxe
zyxe moderator

@PaulJanson @zyxe i wholeheartedly believe it is possible when including games on platforms such as mobile devices, or games on facebook. as for gamers who buy dedicated systems (gaming PCs, consoles or handheld gaming devices), i am certain the percentage is smaller. however, this study does not specify what kinds of games, and i am not in favor of using the generic term "gamer" to only include people who play certain games that a subset of gamers *approve* of. i consider anyone who has an active desire to game as a consistent form of entertainment (and who utilizes a significant portion of their entertainment time by playing video games, no matter what the genre) to be a gamer.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@PaulJanson @spoonybard-hahs Neither does your bias, which was the other half of that sentence. Difference is, one will be used as a reference for many things to come, the other can be dismissed entirely.

Fact of the matter is, female gamers are numerous and they are becoming more visible each year. I don't know what hole in the ground you live in, but I know many female gamers. I happened to be married to one. I go to school with many, I work with a few, and I know many others through Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, and even Call of Duty.

To go back to what you said earlier about how males had such a huge "head start" in the "life?"

How would you know? No one started paying attention to games until very recently. Surveys like this on games are a new thing. In fact, it was always assumed video games were for boys because honestly no one knows. No one bothered to ask.

Cariwyn
Cariwyn

@PaulJanson @spoonybard-hahs That's true of every survey ever, they're all inaccurate.  The real question is why you're trying so hard to discount this one.

If the survey said instead that men were better at gaming, would it be pissing you off so much?  The reason you're arguing about this one says more than your arguments.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@spoonybard-hahs "Just as the survey didn't sample every single person that exists" Exactly why it doesn't make it a fact, and neither does possibilities. That was the point.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@PaulJanson You don't know how surveys work, do you. You're right, not 100% of the population was surveyed. To do so is a huge undertaking and logistically impossible. The goal of surveys is to prove trends and possible outcomes by accessing and generating as much data as possible.

It's true, they could have sampled a group as small as 100. But they also could have sampled a group as large as 100,000. Or one million. Or even 100 million. The larger the sample size, the stronger the survey. At the end of the day, it shows that there is a high probability that the sample can be applied outside of the survey.

Your logic fails. Just as the survey didn't sample every single person that exists, so too do you not know all 100 million gamers. The difference is, the people who ran the survey didn't just poll the people in the office or their friends. Or accepted their assumptions as a truth.

zyxe
zyxe moderator

@PaulJanson so, because you KNOW it, that makes it TRUE. people used to KNOW that the world was flat. oops. 

arguing for a better sample size is admirable, but the rest of your argument falls flat.

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

@spoonybard-hahs @PaulJanson @BloodyAura No, logic as in where is the logic in asking me for a source. I KNOW this article isn't FACT because isn't 100%. I KNOW that for this to be true, there would have to be information on ALL GAMERS! Me and my gamer friends didn't fill out any survey, did you??? Do you always go around believing everything you read?! Holy crap! Bulls*** statistics are made all the time, nothing new. So don't assume what I have. The number of gamers in this world is over 100 million and growing every year. And the male gamers has had HUGE headstart since female gamers were barely in existence in the 1990s because it was seen as a "boys only" thing. 

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@PaulJanson @spoonybard-hahs @BloodyAura What logic? You can't have logic without a factual source. So unless you actually have a survey or data that either 100% refutes this or at the very least can contest it, all you have is biased perspective.