'We're not gamers', say 60% of female gamers

2/3 Americans play games, claims study - and 87% of those are on PC/Mac

60 per cent of women who play games would not call themselves gamers, according to a new survey commissioned by Diner Dash developer/publisher PlayFirst.

The survey of 2075 Americans, carried out by Frank N. Magid Associates, claimed that 40 per cent of men would "strongly agree" that they were gamers (with that statement being ranked 5 on a 1 to 5 scale).

The report also asserted that, regardless of whatever label they might give themselves, two in every three Americans play games, with one in three apparently playing casual games (on computers or phones) regularly.

The survey was conducted purely online, PlayFirst explained to, thus perhaps skewing results towards a tech-acclimatised audience, but it was sent to a general population rather than specifically gamers.

80 per cent of those who claimed to be games players said they preferred gaming to the likes of movies, music or reading.

The survey's results also posited that while 90 per cent of women listed 'entertaining' as their primary requirement for a game, the majority response (at 79 per cent) for men was 'challenging to finish.'

"The face of gaming is evolving to a broader group more representative of the overall population,""said Magid's Mike Vorhaus. "Gaming is a cross-generational, cross-platform activity that's ubiquitous, yet requires unique and targeted experiences to be successful.

"Different groups value different things on different platforms, and by honing in on those differences, a multi-platform publisher can further optimize its product strategy."

87 per cent of those identified as gamers had recently played on PC or Mac, 50 per cent on Facebook and 28 per cent on smartphones.

The report asserted a trend towards multi-platform gaming, having surmised that 52 per cent play on at least two of those three platforms, and some 14 per cent all three.

While console-only players were screened out of the report due to its focus on casual games, PlayFirst revealed, 40 per cent of those who were deemed qualified had played a console game in the last week.

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Latest comments (11)

We have been saying this for years. So many surveys have made the mistake of asking casual players whether they are gamers rather than whether they play games. It has resulted in an often dramatic under-representation of gaming's uptake and importance to the public. Delighted we now have some figures to back up this assertion.
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To echo Nick, we hear this again and again from punters and execs from old media. The best example of this under-reporting was ELSPA/ISFE's June 2010 survey which found that 32% of UK people say they are gamers but apparently failed to ask whether people actually play, thus massively under-reporting actual play rates.

The BBC asked the right question in a survey of a large sample of UK 6-65 year olds in 2005 (pre-Wii, pre-Facebook et al) and found that 59% actually played. So a conservative estimate of UK gaming habits today would probably find that 70%+ actually play.

Another example of under-reporting was Ofcom recent media usage survey which failed to classify social network usage as gaming (at least half of all social network users play games every month - e.g. 13m UK Facebook accounts each month), thus (again) dramatically under-reporting online gaming usage.

Why's this important? If you're talking to middle aged politicians, they will look at 32% penetration and easily dismiss our industry as a marginal activity, as opposed to one at the heart of our media usage.
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Max Priddy11 years ago
"'We're not gamers', say 60% of female gamers"

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Show all comments (11)
Tom Keresztes Programmer 11 years ago

"Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it"
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Kaye L Elling Studying Lecturer in Computer Games, University of Bradford11 years ago
@ Max. Maybe we just don't define ourselves as gamers in the same way we don't define ourselves as moviegoers, readers, phone users or any other format of entertainment/technology user. I think this says more about games becoming mainstream and an accepted part of a wider porfolio of technology-based entertainment than it does about logic.
Having said that, I revel in my gamer status :)
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Thaadd Powell Sales Rep, ACD Game Distribution11 years ago
You can do a thing regularly, without it being the focus of your life. It's not many women's identity, nor one they would perhaps like pinned on them.

I did a survey for a specific game recently, however, and had to estimate how much of my time was spent playing various games in addition to the main one. I didn't like having to think about how big of a percentage that was. Then again, how many male gamers knit things at keyboard during boring moments?
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Mike Clegg Marketing/Design 11 years ago

Games are virtual goods which are consumed by virtually everybody virtually all the time whenever and wherever there is an opportunity to do so.The delivery platforms are making this possible right now right across the planet.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mike Clegg on 23rd September 2010 9:42pm

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Feargus Carroll Executive Producer, Krome Studios11 years ago
I cook at least once a week, and many times more often than that. But I wouldn't consider my self 'a' cook, never mind a chef. The Gibsons' posts are spot on. Ask the right question, you will get the right answer.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Feargus Carroll on 24th September 2010 1:08am

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Katheryn Christy Student, Purdue University11 years ago
Ugh...bad measurement at its worst. Polling 2075 people is not representative of the larger public. Where did these people come from? One community? If so, there are bound to be localized differences; maybe in this community it is problematic for girls to identify as gamers. And what does not identifying as gamers mean? Just that they didn't use the ceiling (5, "strongly agree") to respond? And what does "gamer" even mean?

It's this type of bull that's used to continue the spread of stereotypes in the name of "science." I'm female and have identified as a gamer since I was about 8 years old and received my first GameBoy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Katheryn Christy on 24th September 2010 4:52pm

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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 11 years ago
I agree with that Katheryn, it's like that hair shampoo adverts where they say something like 95% of women agree this shampoo makes their hair better!

Fineprint: Out of 103 women tested. It's a ridiculous poll.
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Stacey Pace Compliance Technician, Codemasters11 years ago
"87 per cent of those identified as gamers had recently played on PC or Mac, 50 per cent on Facebook and 28 per cent on smartphones."

The gaming world has branded these people as 'casual gamers' and when asked they said they weren't 'gamers' - it seems everyone was in agreement on this one!

I'm assuming that if 60% said No that the remaining 40% either said Yes or were undecided. The stats say that 40 per cent of men would "strongly agree" that they were gamers. What about the remaining 60%? You could probably assume that they either said Yes or were undecided.

With these other stats in the picture do the figures look so bad?
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