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Study highlights gender gaps in gaming preferences

NP Strategy Group finds women far more likely to prefer mobile games, far less likely to describe themselves as gamers

As much as the industry likes to say everyone is a gamer, a recent survey by NP Strategy Group shows a relatively small portion who actually identify as such.

NP Strategy Group has released its State of Play report, based on a survey conducted late last year with 3,003 US respondents. Of those, a little less than 38% (1,147) reported playing video games for 30 minutes or more a week -- the group's threshold for classifying someone as a game player.

However, most of the people classified as game players said they wouldn't self-identify as a gamer, with only 42% agreeing to the label.

NP looked at those responses split by gender, and discovered that women were far less likely to embrace the term: only 25% of women who played at least 30 minutes a week considered themselves gamers, while 55% of men did. Respondents were also given the option of reporting their gender as non-binary, other, or "prefer to self-describe," but none chose those fields.

That wasn't the only striking gap in survey responses between men and women. Men made up 56% of the people NP classified as game players, and that grew to 60% when respondents who said they only played mobile games were removed. But among those exclusive mobile players, 71% were women.

Smartphones were the most common platform for game players, with 64% using them, but they were not necessarily the first choice of platform for all those people.

Game consoles were the most commonly cited favorite device, named by 43% of respondents. Smartphones were the next highest as the preferred platform for 24% of people, followed by desktop computers (14%), laptops (9%), and tablets (9%).

There were significant gender differences here as well, with women more than twice as likely to prefer smartphones (43% of women's favorite platform compared to just 18% of men), and three times as likely to prefer tablets (15% to 5%).

On the other hand, men were more than twice as likely to have desktop computers as a favorite device than women (18% to 7%), and significantly more likely to prefer consoles (48% to 35%).

Women and men showed divergent tastes in genres

Perhaps in keeping with the primary revenue models on their preferred platforms, women were more likely to prefer free-to-play business models (41% to 22%) while men more commonly preferred paying full price for a game (44% to 30%).

In another part of the survey, respondents were given a series of statements and asked how much they agreed with them. While women were less likely to strongly agree with all of the statements presented to them -- often by double-digit percentages -- two statements had similar strong agreement regardless of gender.

Those two statements were "I am a creature of habit" (27% of men strongly agreed, while 24% of women did) and "I care about issues that impact the video game industry, such as sexism, overworked employees, and monetization issues," which had 26% strong agreement from men and 22% strong agreement from women.

The strong agreement numbers topped out with the statement "I always like to explore new things," which clicked with 35% of men and 24% of women.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.