Whenever you see video of people playing video games whether at a tournament or in a news report, that video is usually flooded with a bunch of young men huddled around a television set. Rarely do we ever see footage of women playing video games unless it's a mother playing with her family. Despite that, women actually play a much larger role in video games than you might think they do. In a new study done by Interpret, more women have been playing video games since 2009, and not just on the Wii.
Interpret, a research firm specializing in all things media and technology, released a report titled "Games and Girls: Video Gaming's Ignored Audience." The report focused on the diversity of the female demographic and how it's actually filled with more core gamers than what is often conceived of the gamer girl - playing mostly casual games in genres such as music and exercise games.
The report finds that there has been in increase in women playing video games on consoles other than the Wii in the past two years. The percentage of female gamers on XBox 360 jumped up to 21% and up to 16% on the PS3, increasing from 17% and 12%, respectively, in 2009. Not only did their console preference change, but also the variety of genres they like to play. Nowadays, 44% of female gamers prefer games from other genres besides the aforementioned casual games.
In what has often considered to be a guy's game, video games clearly have a much more diverse audience than what the mainstream portrays. While plenty of men do enjoy gaming as a hobby, women also enjoy video games, but they don't seem to get as much attention. Many protagonists in video games are usually big, burly men who smirk in the face of death and tackle obstacles with ease while their female counterpart is an overly sexed woman with all of the perfect looks.
The typical protagonist in many of the largest franchises of video games are geared towards men, allowing them to step into a role they wish they could play in reality. But the female protagonist without all of the looks of a man's dream woman are few and far between, leaving women's ideals mostly out of the equation except in rare cases.
Developers also have to take women's motivation into more consideration as well. "Women not only exhibit different gaming behaviors than men, but also express attitudes about gaming that are dissimilar to their male counterparts," said Courtney Johnson, one of the analysts for Interpret. "For instance, they are much more likely to prefer to play solo than men, and play games for less competitive and more narrative and character-driven reasons. It remains to be seen whether developers and marketers will effectively invest in understanding and exploiting the undertapped female gaming market."
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