Samus Arun, one of gaming's most iconic women characters
Samus Arun, one of gaming's most iconic women characters

More women now play video games than men

52% of gamers are now female

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 17 September 2014 16:23

Women now account for over half of people who play video games, a study has found, driven by the ever-burgeoning app market (and hopefully a little bit less gender stereotyping).

A major study carried out by independent research agency Populus for the Internet Advertising Bureau found that 52% of people who have played some form of video game in the last six months were female, up from 49% three years ago and pushing women into the majority.

The growth in women gamers can has been driven primarily by free mobile apps, with six in ten games acquired in the last six months having been free.

"There are three key reasons why there's an upsurge in women playing video games," commented psychologist Dr Simon Hampton. "Gender stereotypes say women don't play video games so mobiles allow them to do so on the quiet. Many games now don't feature characters to beat or kill which appeals to women as they're less likely than men to simply play for competition's sake.

The majority of the women surveyed cited trivia/word/puzzles games, usually found on smartphones, as their favourite genre (Picture: Getty)

"There's also a lot more word games, it's quite widely accepted that females tend to be more competent linguists."

Smartphone and tablet apps have had a huge impact in recent years and turned us into a nation of gamers, with 33.5 million Britons now engaging with gaming – 69% of the population.

It is cause for celebration among the gaming community, traditionally seen as on the cultural fringes, though the arrival of gaming apps is not entirely positive.

Indeed a screen grab circulating this week of what Final Fantasy developer Square Enix is up to these days shows how profiteering is put ahead of creativity in the format.

4,058 British individuals aged 8 - 74 were surveyed online for the study between 19 and 29 June 2014.

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