As a woman who has been playing video games since the very beginning, and who’s spent a good portion of that time saying things like, “No, really. I do play video games. No, not Barbie shopping games. I like to blow stuff up, just like you,” I’m hardly surprised to hear this. I also know that a lot of the world is.
The Wall Street Journal just posted a story about the new statistics on gamers, and the results have surprised everyone I mentioned this to this morning. Women now make up almost half of all gamers and adult women outnumber male gamers under the age of 18. “We see a big and fast increase in female players, over all genres,” said Fredrik Rundqvist, a games producer at Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment studio.The jump in stats was pretty drastic. Women now make up 48% of gamers, up from 40% in 2010. This should make advertisers sit up and take notice, considering this industry is expected to pull in $100 billion this year alone. In addition to all that, women make up 50% of game purchasers.
So, what can we take from this? Well, developers like Ubisoft might want to consider that the backlash they got for saying that a playable female character in their newest version of Assassin’s Creed would be too much work. We women are buying the games and if we aren’t represented, we might not be as likely to shell out the money to you. Especially as more and more games with awesome female characters appear.
And we are making a difference. Ubisoft introduced a non-playable female Templar character and have said there will be more for us in the future. Another thing to consider: There aren’t a ton of women who work in game design. The more of those we see, the more likely it is that we’ll get female characters as well-written as the male characters.
So, will this change the way women are portrayed in video games? “I’ve definitely seen portrayals of women in games, where I’m like, what, are you kidding me?” Abbie Heppe, a community manager for Titanfall (a game that is constantly on at my house), told the site. However, she said that Respawn Entertainment was “very conscious to make sure that the female pilots are as cool as male pilots. If they would be wearing bikinis, that would be weird, because they are fighting on a battlefield.” Yeah. Let’s not even get into what some games do with boob armor. You would die if you fell in that stuff!
So, let’s hear your thoughts. Are you a gamer? What are you playing? What game has been the best in terms of its portrayal of women? Sound off below.