More women gamers, but what are they playing?

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Two separate reports on different sides of the Atlantic both came to the same conclusion this year – there are more women gamers than there used to be. But does that mean that more women are sitting down at consoles or at the pc to play action video games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which is voiced by Kevin Spacey? Or is it perhaps more likely that there are more women out there who carry a smartphone with them wherever they go and tend to do a little more gaming on their phone than a few years ago?

Games like bingo, Word Feud and Candy Crush have really taken off in the last few years since it became possible to download these kinds of games to your phone. Anyone who has an online bingo account at a site like 32red or Mirror Bingo can also play using the same account on their mobiles. And if you look at the games on offer at www.mirrorbingo.com/bingo, you’ll see that many are ideal for those times when you only have a couple of minutes to play. You can tap on your phone and be playing a game of bingo within seconds of getting the phone out of your pocket. It’s an ideal way to kill time while you’ve got some time on your hands waiting for somebody or for something.

The Entertainment Software Association 2014 report showed that 59% of the American population now play video games and that among frequent game purchasers, the sexes are split at an exact 50:50, with women buying games as often as men do. However, as many women do the purchasing for the entire household, it’s likely that those purchases women make may be for other members of their household as well as for themselves. It’s not necessarily the case that they’re just buying games for themselves. The same report showed that there are more women over the age of 18 playing games than boys under the age of 18. Those adult women make up 36% of the gaming population, while boys 18 or younger only account for 17% of the gaming population. But it seems that gaming has also become more of family activity, with many parents sitting down to play console games with their kids at least once a week or once a month, so while more women may be playing games, it’s perhaps only with other family members.

The Internet Advertising Bureau report into the gaming and online habits of the UK in 2014 estimated that 52% of the British gaming population is female – a 3% rise since 2011 – backing up the same kinds of stats from the ESA report. However, neither report went into specifics about which games people were playing, so it’s quite possible that the increase is from more people playing on their mobiles.

It kind of fits well with the stereotype of women liking to be able to multi-task during the day that their gaming would be most often based on their mobile. While playing on a console requires dedicating a specific amount of time to the act of gaming, playing on a mobile can be fitted around all manner of different tasks and activities.

It’s more than probable that it’s an increase in mobile gaming which has triggered a rise in the number of female ‘gamers’ out there, but until we have the research to prove it, it will remain a supposition rather than a definite fact.

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