Picture the scene: the curtains are drawn, the lights are turned down low and there's a hooded figure perched in front of an LCD screen. In most people's minds, that hooded figure would be a teenage male. When it comes to gaming, traditional images of the industry have pushed men to the front of the queue.
However, according to the stats, these tried-and-tested notions couldn't be more wrong. According to a 2014 Internet Advertising Bureau study, the average gaming audience is 52% female. Up from 49% in 2011, the idea that women form a larger part of the gaming industry than men might fly in the face of convention but it appears to be true.
Diversification Provides More Opportunities for Women
Part of the reason for the increase in female participation is the diversification of the industry. Although console games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto court the most attention when people think of "gaming", that's not the be all and end all in 2017. Free-to-play social games such as Words with Friends, virtual betting options like online bingo and mobile products like Pokémon Go all form a major part of the industry.
With the advent of these gaming options, females have found more reasons to play. In fact, according to a 2013 report by the Irish Independent, 8 out of 10 women rated playing games higher than taking a bath or having sex. Profiling three female gamers, the newspaper identified traits such as social acceptance, "graphics" and "problem solving" were all reasons why women found modern games attractive.
Games Benefit from the Online Revolution
Naturally, games that have traditionally been skewed towards female players have tapped into this new movement. Although bingo has been enjoyed by both men and women for centuries, women are now dominating the online scene. With desktop and mobile gaming providers offering new and accessible ways to play, more women are anteing up.
According to the stats, more than 3.4 million people across the UK play online bingo and of that figure, a WhichBingo survey found that 60% are women. Looking at a mobile bingo provider like mFortune, a number of features appear to sync with the Irish Independent's profile into female gamers. Free bingo games and chat rooms tap into the idea of gaming now being more socially acceptable and, importantly, social. Beyond this, mFortune's focus on graphics and colours that some may consider feminine also make the site appear more welcoming for women. Finally, with bingo taxing the mind (i.e. keeping pace with the numbers called), it seems a natural fit based on the Independent's anecdotal evidence.
More Players Encourages More Players!
Beyond games that have "traditionally" been geared towards women, new options have entered in the mix. The previously mentioned Words with Friends is undeniably socially acceptable. The main premise of the game, other than making the best words, is to compete against other players. According to the stats, the game has more than 4.8 million fans in Ireland.
With more options and players to play against, it's little wonder that more women are now getting into gaming. Although the inherent qualities of certain gaming options clearly appeal to women, it seems as though social acceptance is driving this recent revolution. As the number of female gamers increases, so does the number of females wanting to play and that, in a nutshell, is why men are no longer the dominant sex in gaming.