I have a friend who swears there is no such thing as a female gamer. In MMORPGs, anyone professing to be a woman has to be a “400-pound trucker from Wisconsin.” Named Bill, this trucking master of deception employs a voice modulator to fool gaming friends when chat programs are used to coordinate groups or raids.
Of course, he’s joking. Having met more than one female gamer in person, he knows women gamers are real, they’re serious about their gaming hobby and they’re here to stay.
Unfortunately, his joking rings true as a belief held by many. Women can’t possibly be “serious” about gaming? Don’t they have knitting or something else to do?
Quite often, I receive e-mails proclaiming the results of a new study of the week on female gamers or a new spin on an old study. Although women have played video games for decades, it seems like the notion just isn’t registering in some circles.
While I fully understand the need for such studies for gaming companies to tailor their product development and marketing strategies, I don’t get why the results are such big news study after study.
The Consumer Electronics Association reports that more women than men, ages 25 to 34, play video games. The association’s study says that 65 percent of women in that age bracket play video games, compared to about 35 percent of men in that same age group. The women were even found only “slightly less likely” than men in that age group to use consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation 2.
Granted, many of the study subjects gravitated toward puzzle and card games and used services like Pogo and AOL Games, it does support the fact that gaming isn’t just a guy’s pastime.
Don’t think for a moment that “serious” gamers of the female persuasion don’t exist. In fact, we’ve been around for a while. From first-person shooters to RPGs, female gamers are involved in them all.
We’re here. We’re real. And some of us are getting really tired of reading headlines that “prove we exist.”
The next time you’re convinced you’re talking to Bill from Wisconsin in an online game, think again. That player who just shot you down like a punk in Halo or who saved your butt with a well timed heal in EQ might just be an honest to goodness woman. No headlines please.