Rise of the Female Gamers. Is Gaming Industry Catching Up?

Female gamers are on fire to reign the gaming industry

Female gamers are on the rise and numerous studies have sought to understand if female gamers have specific motivations and game play behaviors. Some country-based studies reveal that gaming motivation do differ cross-culturally across genders. In addition to escapism, many female gamers look for competition or to challenge themselves; while males look to games for coping with stress and for achieving success through competition. However, sometimes the females play for achievement and social reasons, while males play to pass the time, it seems that the female gamers play for achievement and social reasons, to engage socially and maintain relationships. In regards to game playing, it shows that female gamers play all types of game genres (especially popular online games) using different devices and platforms.

The question being raised by those seeking full equality of opportunity, treatment and conditions within gaming is whether the industry is adequately structured to serve this growing consumer segment. Organizations, are advocating for a reimagination of the gaming industry, free of gender discrimination, by addressing the culture from workforce, product and the player community perspectives.

Workforce Perspective:

The global gaming companies reveal that all the executive positions in the gaming industry are held by men. Outside of the executive ranks, only those working in the industry are women.  Female representation is still a problem. And for those already working in the industry, their gender may work against them. Their gender was a limiting factor in their career progression. In the same many respondents noted that they had experienced direct harassment or bullying because of their gender.

Product Perspective:

Female character representation in video games is lacking in video games showcasing female protagonists. Various studies reveals that gender stereotypes continue to prevail in video games, with female characters often objectified and hypersexualized.  And when not depicted in this manner, female characters are often portrayed as a love interest, innocent or needing to be rescued by a male character. The world of gaming has drastically changed the number of female protagonist. It is the beginning of a new trend to showcase female protagonists, free of gender stereotyping, remains to be seen.

Player Community Perspective:

There was a controversy which revealed the depth of systematized online harassment against advocates, mainly women, who called for a more inclusive gaming culture. Has the player community become more inclusive since then? Although men and women both experience abuse, female gamers are more likely to experience sexual harassment and being excluded from the game. People across the world who are working to support women and girls better understand the games industry. Its aim is to double the number of women in games over ten years.

A History of Male Dominance in Gaming

For a long time, games have traditionally been developed with males in mind. There are tons of games that feature a beautiful, scantily clad female who is in some sort of distress and the main male character’s entire focus is to fight and claw his way to her eventual rescue. Then, he is rewarded with her undying love for happily ever after. Thankfully, that is beginning to change. Game developers are starting to recognize that more of their customers are females and that in order to keep the playing field fair, they are going to have to change. With more female developers creating games behind the scenes and women themselves joining up as players, a changing mindset towards women in the world of gaming is starting to emerge.

The Future that is Bright

While the future for female game developers is looking up in many ways, there are still the shadows. Many women dropped out of gaming majors at times and were intimidated by the serious threats that emerged during the height of the crisis. But thankfully, people are beginning to look towards the future and at a changing and emerging culture of acceptance that is tentative still, but a work in progress. The tides are hopefully turning towards equality not just in gender for game development but for the gaming culture itself.

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