In the minds of many, the world of gaming and esports is still very much a man’s world.
But whilst we may have become familiar with well-trodden tropes about gaming being the preserve of young men and “geeks”, they don’t accurately reflect the gaming space in 2019. The demographic of gamers has changed dramatically in the last decade, with women now accounting for almost half of all participants. The advent of mobile gaming has opened the doors to an army of new, casual gamers, and, with that the image of the average gamer has shifted significantly.
For brands struggling to reach increasingly savvy consumers that are watching less TV, engaging less with out of home advertising, and using ad blockers, the development of this demographic has opened up a new way for them to reach a key audience.
To celebrate International Women’s Day and the evolving gaming landscape, we’ve pulled together 5 key stats on women and gaming that demonstrate how things are changing, and how women are having a bigger impact on the space than ever before.
1. 45% of all gamers are women
The US has seen a 10% surge in female gamers since 2006, and today women represent 45% of all gamers in the US and an impressive 48% here in the UK! This growth in the female audience has also been a major factor in the economic spike that gaming has experienced in the last few years, particularly with mobile gaming where women make up 49% of all gamers globally.
Women accounted for $44 billion in game sales in 2016, and that figure is anticipated to reach $118 billion this year, representing a significant jump.
2. Women make up 30% of the esports audience
Womens’ viewership of esports is also on the rise with the female esports audience growing by 6.5% between 2016-2018, and expectations are that the trend will continue again this year. This growth is an impressive leap when you consider the saturation of male competitors in esports with 95% of pro gamers being men.
Interestingly, of the 30% mentioned above, only 20% watch esports leagues which could reflect an interest in esports outside of the traditional big players such as Dota 2, CS:GO, and Overwatch.
3. 46% of Gaming Video Content is consumed by women
If the last stat didn’t surprise you then this one might! Gaming Video Content is hugely popular and last year more than 200 million people spent 50 billion hours viewing gaming content on Youtube alone. The fact that women represented almost half of that audience smashes the historical stereotypes of gamers, and it is worth noting that this female audience is an affluent one (with an average income of $58K).
Whilst people often talk about how gaming dwarves the revenues of both Hollywood and the music industry combined, you may be surprised to learn that more people watch Gaming Video Content than HBO, Netflix, ESPN and Hulu combined annually. These young, tech-savvy consumers are choosing to watch gaming content over primetime TV, and companies that fail to build relationships with these viewers may find them increasingly hard to reach in the future.
4. The #1 female streamer on Twitch has almost 3m followers
Pokimane is currently ranked 14th in the world on Twitch (by followers) and is the most popular female streamer by some distance. She came to prominence initially streaming League of Legends and is now best known for her work on Fortnite. At the time of writing she has 2,844,698 followers and her channel shows no signs of slowing down.
Pokimane’s success on Twitch has led to multiple award nominations and a Twitch ambassadorial role. She’s led the way for a growing army of female streamers, and it’s great to see that Twitch are planning to honour this growing community over the course of Women’s History Month and on International Women’s Day by placing a spotlight on a host of brilliant female streamers.
5. Women represent 22% of all Game Developers
Whilst women represent less than a quarter of game-makers overall, it is promising to see the growth of female representation in the industry in recent years. It wasn’t so long ago (1989 to be exact) that women represented just 3% of the gaming workforce.
A number of leading brands in gaming are taking steps to improve the diversity of their teams with Ubisoft, Google and Facebook Gaming (amongst others) leading the way. The hope is that in time this will improve the imbalance of the games that are released; it’s obvious to most people that the characters, icons and marketing are currently skewed in favour of male consumers.
All in all, the progress for women in the world of gaming is clear to see. The outdated stereotypes of the average gamer have been challenged as women have gained prominence, and that, coupled with strong growth of female audiences for esports and gaming video content, is beginning to change the way brands view both gaming and esports.
The impressive development of the streaming scene and growing influence of the female workforce will inevitably see this progress continue, and with the backing of some of gaming’s leading names, the future looks bright.
Happy International Women’s Day from the Bidstack team!