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eSports involvement actually greater among women than men - PwC

"The eSports consumer is young, racially diverse, tech-savvy and often female"

While Nielsen Games recently pointed to an eSports audience that's over 80 percent male, a new report from the researchers at PwC paints a different picture of the burgeoning eSports scene. Its latest US consumer survey, part of its consumer intelligence series, notes that 22 percent of women say they're involved with eSports compared to 18 percent of men.

"While the difference is relatively small, it indicates an early trend that women may be just as, if not more, engaged with eSports than males. For viewing versus playing, men are playing slightly more than women, and men appear to watch from a competitive lens, while women appear to watch for enjoyment and for the social aspect of the viewing experience," PwC said.

Male or female, the eSports audience continues to be a very young one, with 68 percent being under 35 years old. "The increasing popularity of eSports has attracted the attention of companies industry-wide, and they are trying to reach the coveted millennial audience... As it becomes harder to reach millennials on traditional platforms, such as linear TV, companies are seeing an opportunity with eSports as its viewers tend to be highly engaged," PwC noted.

As an industry, eSports has its work cut out for itself if it wants to gain more mainstream acceptance. Currently, only 15 percent of those surveyed were even aware of the existence of eSports, although when participants were given a definition of eSports, awareness of the competitive gaming scene actually jumped to 30 percent.

Those who are into eSports, however, are very much into it, watching events quite frequently. "Viewers are just as much a part of the overall competitive gaming experience as the players themselves. Among total viewers, PwC's survey says one in five watch weekly, with the general eSports consumer averaging 19 days of viewing per year. Asian (27 days) and Hispanic (23 days) viewers tend to watch more frequently, with self-identified hardcore gamers watching the most at an average of 32 days a year. As for the device of choice, 57 percent of respondents who have watched a competition have done so on a laptop or desktop computer. The most favorable genre of game to watch is first-person shooter games at 63 percent, followed-by multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) at 37 percent," PwC reported.

PwC's survey consisted of more than 750 respondents and "an extensive three-month social listening campaign."

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