Girl Gaming - Down a percentage


A recent UK study observed at female presence in the games industry and showed a drastic decrease within the past four years. 12% of gamers in 2006 were female, compared to only 4% today. The survey, conducted by Liverpool PhD student Julie Prescott surveyed 450 UK women. The results showed the rise in females in business as a major factor.

32% of the sample claimed to work over 45 hours a week, with 22% that worked between 6 and 55 hours a week, and 10% that worked more than 56 hours. 43% of surveyed women said their long work hours negatively impacted their well-being.

Furthermore, 79% of surveyed women did not have children, therefore Prescott concluded that children had less to do with the decrease in female gaming than business.

However, certain things should be taken into account in regards to the dramatic drop in female gaming and the results from Prescott's study. For example, 450 women make up a relatively small sample, and with completely different women surveyed than in 2006, the results may not necessarily be entirely conclusive.

Personally, I believe there is more than just the increase of work hours deterring women from gaming, although work definitely contributes as a giant factor. For one, mainstream games nowadays have become way more masculine than games of the past for example, there is a huge difference between the era of games like Mario, and Banjo Kazooie, and Crash Bandicoot, to now where first and third person shooters, games like Grand Theft Auto, and sports games have become the main focus. That is not to say RPGs and "cute" games are no longer relevant, but people like what they can easily find. On top of it, certain stereotypes (that really shouldn't matter) do exist about female gamers stigmas of being "dorky" deter women more than they would men, especially as females hit their teens and twenties.

A study about women in more countries in the UK would prove most efficient to compare the female presence in the gaming industry worldwide. But, for now, it is definitely interesting to see the impact of innovative business concepts on media and entertainment.