Girl gamers may soon top the leaderboard

by , Campaigns Team Technology 16 January 2013
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The stereotype of a ‘gamer’ has long been the young man holed away in his bedroom, playing games in the dark for hours on end by himself. Yet, new research has found that we might be smashing the stereotype.

Gaming cartoon

When I think of a ‘gamer’, I always think of people who consider gaming to be a hobby. Perhaps they might spend a few hours a week or more playing games, either on a PC or a specific games console. However, it may be time to revise the term, as casual gaming has taken off in a massive way across the UK.

The rise of casual gaming

So what is casual gaming? Put simply, it’s a term coined to explain the huge range of easy-to-pick-up games for portable devices like smartphones and tablets. Ever heard of Angry Birds? It’s a great example of a casual game, designed to be accessible for people of any age and with any level of gaming experience. The gaming industry seems to be reacting to this trend by producing a string of highly addictive, easy-start games that you can spot on devices everywhere you look.

Apparently, the huge rise in popularity of casual gaming has also caused a similar shift in female gamers taking up the hobby. According to the BBC’s research, gaming could even be a female-dominated hobby by the end of 2013.

When polled, 75% of women said they felt that gaming no longer had anything to do with gender. But I have to wonder how much this dramatic increase in self-identified female gamers has to do with a shift in the stereotypical view of gamers in general.

Reassessing the ‘gamer’ stereotype

Personally, I’ve had to review my own application of the word ‘gamer’. Until today, I probably would’ve scoffed at anyone who labelled themselves a gamer on account of their playing Angry Birds while travelling to work. But why am I any more qualified to call myself a gamer, just because I prefer to play more complex, in-depth games on a PC or console?

I need to be less precious about the term, and instead embrace the increase in women who are identifying as gamers. I hope that this will also reduce the stigma attached to the hobby in general, and help women see their way into an industry that is almost entirely dominated by men. In fact, only 4% of games developers in theUKare women.

Do you think that the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices has increased the amount of time you spend playing games? Would you identify yourself as a ‘gamer’?

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I’ve noticed that a lot of my older female friends and family are starting to get into social gaming. Some of them might have tried console gaming on a Nintendo Wii, but it seems as though the ‘quick start’ premise of many Facebook and smartphone games is more appealing in the long-term.

Plus they get to chat with their friends while they play – multi-tasking in action!

If you only play Farmville on Facebook, you are not a gamer. That’s my view. I’m not into the whole ‘PC hardcore gaming master race’, however, I do think you need to take part in the hobby outside of social networks. Good to see more women taking up gaming though – I’d like to see the back of the stereotypes.

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Anita Burksfield

I love gaming, on a pc or mobile phone. I cannot use ps3 or a wi or nintendo because of my arthritus, but i’ll give any game a go, whether it be on Facebook or a Gaming site such as Wild-Tangent amongst many others. You do not have to be young either, i”m a young 64 and some of my games my sons cannot play.P;us it keeps my mind active,(No not Farmville) one in particular is so brilliant Luxor Evolved, thats fantastic specially when you need a boost or let off steam, and today on the news i saw a lady of 84 playing on her ps3 and thought Go Girl, its not about the boys and men any more its about us Women out there. Keep it up girls!

Here’s an 85 year old female gamer addicted to her PS3: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21116544 :)

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Anita Burksfield

I totally disagree with Kate, I started to play games on my pc firstly &then my smart phone. I decidedi would not go on social network sites, first of all.So I did just play without friends or other people. My family suggested the social sites a few years ago, when they realised that on some things & on the Internet I knew a bit more than they did; which was quite a surprise to them. So to answer the question about our silver surfers. No I did not use these social site’s at first.There are many older people besides myself who cannot get enough of the new tec or gaming

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