Women don't play video games...

We had a big thread a little while back about geeky guys not being able to attract women, and one thing that came up is that everyone knows that women don’t play video games or engage in other geeky hobby. Plus on the off chance that a female does ‘game’, they just play Angry Birds or some other casual junk, not real gamer games. So clearly the people running surveys to find out who plays games and what kind of games would be wasting their time to even ask women about… oh, turns out adult women are now the largest single group of gamers, and they don’t just play casual games. http://www.dailydot.com/geek/adult-women-largest-gaming-demographic/?fb=ss&prtnr=nerdist

I find it fascinating that, now that people are actually trying to get numbers, it turns out there are a LOT of ‘geek girls’ out there. I’m sure ‘there are no women on the internet’ will stick around as a meme for a long time, even though it should have been put to rest more than a decade ago.

No shit, it’s the main reason WoW got rid of the rule “the thicker the armor, the least skin it covers - if the PC is female”. That was before the first expansion…

It’s been interesting seeing the shift. I’m not sure exactly what’s caused it, aside from simply increased interest when there’s such a wide range of games which are conveniently available to purchase online.

When I was a teen in the 80s, girls did not seem interested in computers at all, and it was rare to see one in an Arcade that wasn’t just waiting for her boyfriend. But once consoles started to be common in the 90s, the shift began.

It wouldn’t surprise me if shooters are still largely popular with males, and puzzlers and platformers more popular with females, though a lot of MMORPGs like The Last of Us, Skyrim, Dragon Age, Tomb Raider, and Uncharted seem to have a good mix of all those things.

When I was a teen in the 80s, girls were often in the arcade just watching people play, because we didn’t have money to play ourselves (my allowance and my friends’ came up to barely high enough to go to the local “junior dance club”).

That was about the same time when, if any of us bought a metal record, the ass from the record store would leer “for the boyfriend, uh?” No, no, but if I sharpen its edge and use it to give you a second smile I won’t be able to listen to it, asshole…

There’s always been more women in games than people thought, but then, people used to think there were zero of us. Simply being able to access them through the internet (no leering assholes, and you don’t have to say you’re female if you don’t want to) made them a lot more accessible. The first time I was in a >20 people group with more women than men was back in the 90s.

Shifting from IMHO to the Game Room.

When I was a teen in the 80s, we ALL hung out at the arcade - girls and boys alike. I remember walking to the mall with my girlfriends and spending the afternoon bouncing between the arcade and the snack bar.

Granted, PC games were still something that I was about the only girl I knew who was interested in them, but arcades? Totally co-ed ime.

From the article:

No, they don’t JUST play casual games but they do primarily play casual games. Mobile games, Facebook games, versions of solitaire, etc. It’s a very large market but doesn’t necessarily overlap a lot with “typical” console or “Gaming PC” gamers.

Beyond that, the ones I know are more interested in puzzle-solving and/or building games instead of, for lack of a better term, directly competitive games. They don’t like shooters or FPS games for the most part; too violent and too win/lose. Stuff like say… “Portal” or for older examples, the SimCity or Railroad Tycoon games were popular among women of my acquaintance, while games like DOOM or Call of Duty weren’t.

There are a lot of women who play MMORPGS and other immersive online games as well.

I’ve been playing video games since my Atari back in the 80s. And last night I was up late playing Assassin’s Creed II, one of my favoritest games of all time. And this weekend, a long weekend, we are planning to set aside for a marathon session of Fallout 4 - we both just bought it for the PC and plan to play it until our eyes bleed.

I think there is still a stigma for women to admit they play video games - people look at you askance. They expect that when you grow up and have kids, you will stop playing, and your husband will have to be dragged away from the games, or will play them with the baby in his lap, or whatever.

While growing up has certainly put a stint in the kinds* of games I play, it certainly hasn’t stopped me from playing. I think a lot of women play, and the Wii also made a huge difference in casual gamers. (I still feel, by the way, that there is a huge stigma amongst gamers against so-called “casual” gamers, like they’re not “real” gamers. A gamer is a gamer is a gamer.)

*Any game that can’t be paused or saved instantly? Right out. I need to be able to stop exactly when I need to. Any game with angsty emo teenagers? Right out.

I agree with that. At the same time, I think using the term in a blanket sense can be misleading, such as, hypothetically, “Battle Warriors V should work harder to attract women because women are 55% of gamers.”

I don’t much care who gets called a “gamer”. I figure the industry is large enough for Candy Crush and Crusader Kings II, for Call of Duty and Words with Friends, for both HuniePop and Herstory. I do think that the broadness of the term leads to some bad assumptions being made about more select segments of the gamer population.

Atmospheres of lots of teenage guys without boundaries are not comfortable environments for a lot of women. Which perhaps explains why arcades weren’t popular with girls - particularly ones there without the cover of a guy, but they started gaming once consoles hit.

Also, 1980s RPGs seldom allowed you to play a female character. If they did, it was often some sort of male fantasy of a female character. Gender customization was a huge deal to me as a gamer. It really wasn’t standard until the 1990s to permit gender customization. If I remember right, Diablo, released in 1995, the female class was a Rogue. If you wanted to play a female warrior, no dice (likewise, all Rogues were female).

Was that a console thing? Thinking back to games like the AD&D Gold Box sets or Might & Magic you could make female characters and the “portrait” creator had more than chain mail bikinis. I don’t know how the console-oriented JRPG market looked though.

What 80s RPGs even had player customization? I mean, games like the Ultima series, the Bard’s Tale games and their contemporaries had VERY rudimentary graphics, and you could name your character, but otherwise there was precious little customization for either gender, outside of your gear and your spells/songs.

Hey now, I agonized over how to set up my little “combat” figures in the Gold Box games!

But they often offered you a choice of characters to play - usually none of them were female and when one was, she was either over sexualized or such a poor choice in character that the game suffered. When there was no choice at all, the default player was almost always male.

There’s another element to this, as well.

“Casual” games aren’t always played casually.

My wife and a circle of friends play one of those “farming” casual games. (“Hay Day”, I think.)

They play it less casually, and with more dedication, organization, and cooperation, than I ever did in my World of Warcraft raiding guild days.

I play in several MMOs (Star Wars: The Old Republic and Champions Online), and most of my friends and guildmates in both games are women. I do note that, IME, it’s often the female gamers who are more interested in role-playing and character development, but that doesn’t preclude women from being interested in (and very good at) other aspects of the game – two of the strongest PVPers I know are women.


Female video gamer here. I generally play solo games - I have no interest in the ones where I’m playing against (or even together with) another person. Why?

  1. I don’t want to play against strangers and open myself up to whatever abuse they feel like dealing out. (For me, smack talk is something that should only be done between people who know and love each other enough that there’s no possibility that it’s serious.)

  2. I don’t want to play against friends, because one of two things happens:
    a. They win, in which case I feel bad because I lost.
    b. I win, in which case I feel bad because I made a friend lose.

In other words, I have pretty much no desire to compete against other people. So I don’t. But I do play video games on either the console or my iPad at least a couple hours a night - generally while watching TV or waiting for Husband to cook dinner or some such.

There are also lots of men pretending to be women in MMOs.

This is true. I usually play female characters, but when I get to know another player OOC, actual gender does come up, and I always make it clear that I’m a guy. Those whom I’ve gotten to know as friends (and have either met in person, or have seen pictures) are either (a) actually truly women, or (b) trying really hard to lie. :smiley: