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64% of Online Gamers Are Female 187

According to a report discussed on 1up, a new study by the Nielsen folks finds that more than half of the 117 Million U.S. online gamers are women. From the article: "The study's announcement release doesn't break down what games they're playing, though we expect sites like pogo.com, which feature a multitude of Flash-based games are rather high on the list. Even more surprising is how many older gamers are playing. While the teenage market dominates in numbers, the study says more than 15 million gamers, about 8%, are actually at least 45 years old."
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64% of Online Gamers Are Female

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  • well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Loconut1389 ( 455297 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @04:37AM (#16353533)
    well, about 20% of those -say- they're women...
  • by bangenge ( 514660 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @04:40AM (#16353547)
    I think they just counted female avatars.
  • Yeah right. (Score:3, Funny)

    by SageLikeFool ( 547462 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @04:47AM (#16353559)
    Just because 64% of the characters are female doesn't mean the people playing them are in real life. Like the old joke about IRC goes - The men are men, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents.
  • I bet it's true (Score:5, Informative)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @04:48AM (#16353565) Journal
    In my house it's my girlfriend who plays games online the majority of the time. I hardly play online at all, but when I do it's on my DS or maybe a FPS; more indepth "proper" games (if there is such a thing). My girlfriend likes to play on gamerival on the simple little flash games where you just have to do very simple little word puzzles or arranging blocks.

    So it is believable, but it might not be how you think - I doubt they are running round fragging everyone they see, or playing WoW (although some might...)
  • Gamers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amirl ( 813941 ) <amir.levin@STRAWgmail.com minus berry> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @04:49AM (#16353567)
    I guess they consider solitaire.
    • 64 percent of all shoes sold are to men...and 47 percent of all statistics are made up.
      I find it hard to believe the sample they surveyed are an accurate representation of the general population. Most females I know have almost no interest in gaming at all.

      It's going to have to take alot of grannies playing poker and solitaire to make up that 64%.
    • Insightful? Some mod *both* missed the joke and thought they might have done that (no: they only judged from online games).
  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) * on Sunday October 08, 2006 @04:50AM (#16353569)
    Dunno about everybody else but most of the girls I meet in chatrooms and online games are guys playing as girls. Some of the rest are Dateline plants trolling for men, but that's not my thing.

    Anyway, what's the Second Life slang for guys playing as girls? Gurlz or something?

    Many actual Real Life(TM) girls play as male game characters so they won't get hit on or bothered.

    I play mail and female characters in SL. The guy character gets left alone except by sex workers who want to sell him their wares. He's much like the real me and fairly boring to game with.

    The girl character, who is not at all like me, has an incredibly active social thing going on and has accumulated dozens of friends without even trying. She's fun to play because she's so different from me. But she does get hit on all the time just because she appears to be female. It's common for complete strangers to walk up and make all sorts of rather forward comments.

    My guy character gets none of that.

    I have a new appreciation for some of the hassle girls go through.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EotB ( 964562 )
      Being in New Zealand and playing a Half-Life mod called Natural Selection at clan level showed me what a large and tight-knit community can be behind an online game. I had met about half of the people that I played with regularly in real life, and the rest I had spent a lot of time talking to over voice comms. Out of perhaps 60 people, 2 of them were women. Even if FPS' are biased towards male players, thats still pretty indicative of any non-MMO games that I've played.
      • by Knossos ( 814024 )
        Agreed. I've been playing an MMORPG called EvE Online for over 2 years now. In all the hundreds of people I've talked to on teamspeak (in the alliances i've been in there can be 60+ people in a teamspeak channel at any one time) I've only come heard two women.

        Of course, that can't be considered global figures for EvE because you have to be a certain mindset to want to live in the more dangerous areas of space.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jacksonj04 ( 800021 )
      I've found the fact you can change your gender by dropping a new body in from your inventory to be quite worrying.
    • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:37AM (#16354213) Journal
      I have a new appreciation for some of the hassle girls go through.

      Fuck this pseudo sensative snag bullshit. It doesn't matter to me now as I'm no longer single and failing one of us dieing I can see this relationship lasting. But oh to have had such hassles! Girls get lots of offers - many not very good ones, but some good - without having to work for it. Guys have to work very hard and often the girls go for good looking fucktards that treat them like dirt. (Yep men do this too - go for the bimbo that treats them like shit, but not as often, and the bottom line is it's much easier for a female to find a suitable partner, and they usually get a wide selection)

      So girls get hit on. If the guy's unpleasant how hard is it to say "fuck off and leave me alone you small dicked loser". Many guys will get the hint if dropped on them like a sledgehammer. There might be a little bit of unpleasantness back but few stalk based on one conversation. If a girl's in an environment where it goes beyond a few lewd comments she should get out. Only when that isn't possible is there a real problem. But there's a world of difference between being hit on and being assaulted.

      • If a girl's in an environment where it goes beyond a few lewd comments she should get out.

        Doesn't seem fair if the environment in question is, for example, where she works. Maybe it's just me, though.

        • by syousef ( 465911 )
          In that case she should get out and sue.

          Pity if she likes her job. Life's not fair some times. But there are people out there who will think nothing of raping and murdering anyone at a whim.
      • Girls get lots of offers - many not very good ones, but some good - without having to work for it.

        I guarantee you that girls spend a lot more time talking about, and thinking about how to get men interested in them than men do. How much time do you spend on your look before you go to a bar? How much money have you spent on clothes and make-up, and lotions, and shoes? Attractive women spend A TON!

        often the girls go for good looking fucktards that treat them like dirt

        Another misguided statement.
        • How much money have you spent on clothes and make-up, and lotions, and shoes?

          I'm no longer single. When I was dating I wouldn't go out dressed like a hobo. Also how superficial are you if you're only attracted to the ones that are made up to the hilt and spend all their time on that crap? My fiancee does spend some time and money on being an attractive female. But she doesn't spend TONS of time and money on it and if she did we'd have a problem.

          Yes, I will agree lot's of attractive girls go for guys that tr
          • You probably won't read this, but I am going to respond anyways...

            You seem to be bitterly defending certain things that I don't really disagree with. Yeah, I know some guys are really good at picking up on subtle communication, and yes, they are much better at picking up chicks, and it has nothing to do with how good looking they are. However, I guarantee you that they dress well and stand out in a crowd. I also guarantee you that THEY spent time on that stuff, it is only natural to a select few. But in
        • How much money have you spent on clothes and make-up, and lotions, and shoes? Attractive women spend A TON!

          Bollocks! Many attractive women look fantastice in a £10 pair of jeans, a t-shirt and no make-up or other rubbish. I should know - I married one :)

    • It's a Nielsen survey. They don't just pull up a list of screen names and count how many appear to be female. The data is collected through a questionaire. It's still possible that people lie (as with any survey), but since the survey is not directly connected to online personnas, there's no reason for somebody to lie on the questoinairre even if they do play as a female for extra attention.
    • by dcam ( 615646 )
      I play mail and female characters in SL.

      How do you play a mail character? Do you get to deliver the post?
  • Where ever there is a questionable statistic, Slashdot is right behind it.

    PS. Isn't the higher number of male gamers one of the reasons people claim males are the majority in the IT industry?

    • Nope. The IT industry is a lot older than online gaming and it has *always* been male dominated.

      I've met precisely 1 female programmer in my life.. couldn't predict the percentage on that but it's 1%.

      • Dammit. There was a less-than sign in there..
      • by jftitan ( 736933 )
        I'm not objecting to your comment, but I would say, times are changing.

        As with the basis of this slashdot poll, I think the problem with most is this statistic, that this bases everything on a broad range of games. While the slashdot community assumes they are talking about actual gamers. ie: men vs women, with high-end gaming rigs playing MMOs, FPS, or RTS. Not box puzzle, like games. The problem here is we consider 'gamer' to be on the level of owning a gaming rig, and competing in MMOs, FPS, etc...

        As y
      • I think this depends on what sort of programming you do.

        I'm not saying that it's not male-dominated by any means, but there are certain types of development work that seem to have more women in them than others.

        At least where I've worked, there seem to be a lot more women in database systems programming than in other areas. I have no idea why this is, and it could have had more to do with the projects and companies involved than the work itself, but that was my experience.

        In general, the projects where I ha
  • Definition Needed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jekler ( 626699 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @05:32AM (#16353677)
    It really depends on how you define the term "gamer". To many people, a "gamer" isn't just someone who happens to play games at some arbitrary point in their free time, it's someone whose primary hobby is playing games. When they're not working, studying, or otherwise busy, they're reading about games, playing games, or otherwise involved in game-related activities (e.g. posting on game message boards, designing characters, planning on the next game to buy, etc.). I know a lot of women who play games, but I wouldn't call them gamers. Even though they play games, when they're not playing games they don't immerse themselves in game-related activities, they have a distinct separation between game playing and the rest of their life.
  • The Internet is the only place where: Men are really Women Women are really Men And the children are really the FBI I doubt that figure is anywhere close to an accurate representation of the "real numbers" if the number of female gamers I know is any indicator. :(
  • dupe!
  • Real life vs Internet [gprime.net]

    fakegirl:Soo big boy, I..
    Red:You're not a girl!
    fakegirl:What! Ofcourse I am!
    Red:A REAL girl?
    bystander:Who's a girl?
    bystander:I like girls!
    Red:Shut up you!
    fakegirl:Yes, I am really a girl.. tee hee hee
  • by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:01AM (#16353765) Homepage
    I have a vague idea about how they conducted this study.

    1) www.mirc.com
    2) install
    3) /s irc.efnet.org
    4) /j world-of-warcraft
    5) /say So how many of you guys are women?
    6) count the results

    Seriously, though. I don't doubt these results at all, but I would love to see the figures of hours spent per week and compare it between the sexes. The results would surely favor men to be the biggest users.

    So does anyone know how many female gamers we have in a game like World of Warcraft? I'm sure the numbers stated above are taken from flash based games and alike.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
      Would have been better if they actually LINKED to the study, instead of this lame 4 paragraph story that provided almost no more info than the /. summary.

      Pretty weak stuff to be on the front page of /. if you substantiate it with more data.
  • 64% of online gamers play Hello Kitty Island Adventure. Coincidence?
    • 64% of online gamers play Hello Kitty Island Adventure. Coincidence?

      Go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you.
    • by kypper ( 446750 )
      Butters, is that you?
  • Women playing online games at a greater rate than men makes sense to me. Every woman I've known, no matter how much she avoids video games in general, will play Tetris for hours on end. The flash puzzle games all over the web are exactly what women like to play. While men may be playing online, they're sticking to MMORPGs, FPS and RTS. And for the other figure mentioned: 8% of gamers being 45+ doesn't seem that outlandish to me. The first video games came out in the early 70's. A 45 year old today would ha
  • I would say that 20% of the people playing MMO's are women. IRL that is. So flash games must be like 90% female gamers.
  • by guysmilee ( 720583 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:10AM (#16353955)
    I knew i was spending to much time away from my pc ...
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:19AM (#16353969)
    The study isn't about RPG players; it includes games like crossword puzzles, Boggle, and Sudoku. So I believe the 64% number.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is how many under males under 24 frequent Digg

    This was done by a company that prides itself on accurracy and is taken seriously by every major corporation out there vying for the consumer "entertainment" dollar.

    Somehow, reality being what it is, you having stupid kneejerk prejudices does not make them true. Thanksfully.

    I know a huge share of the market is pre-family, and most of those are male. But in the post-family crowd, the target audience of said company, many more women play things that the pubecent c
  • From my experience in WoW and FFxI, this seems about right. And no, I am not talking about avatars but my experience in both games using vent,so unless some people are faking voices out there on a steady basis the percentage seems right on. Also the percentage of us old folk playing I always guessed at about 10%. BTW all bets are off for Xmas and spring breaks when the younger set absolutely overwhelm the games. Ecartman
  • by misey ( 996068 )
    If you're talking MMORPGs or Half Life offshoots like CounterStrike or Day of Defeat, or any other first person shooter like that; No. Maybe 5 out of 50 gamers in that sense are female. Those are the only online games. I don't care what you say. I don't care what survey results you have. And those are the chicks you stay away from most of the time. How many women pay attention to Slashdot?
  • Not so bad (Score:3, Funny)

    by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:00AM (#16354313) Homepage Journal

    Okay, so you're saying that there's a 36% percent chance that the hot female night elf I cybered with last night was really a man?

    "With a name like 'Cryinggam', I figured she just needed a little comforting!"

  • On WoW, most sexilly claded female dark elves characters had (teenage) masculine voices whenever we got them on teamspeak ...
  • 64% of US online gamers are female. That is unless you think only americans play online..
  • Given that the U.S. is such a major center of power on the Earth's surface, attempting to dictate reality for much of the globe, doesn't it alarm anybody that more than a third of its population lives such a large portion of their waking hours in deliberately false realities?

    --Which doesn't necessarily say much for everybody who isn't a gamer, given that something like 95% of the population are also TV addicts.

    Dream on.


  • "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog [python.org]." - P. Steiner
  • There are no girls on the internet.
  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:18AM (#16354385)
    Jokes about female avatars being all men aside, it's quite possible that this result is true. However this is only for online gaming, not gaming in general.

    Given that on average women tend to be more adept of social activities than men (at least that's my experience), it isn't surprising at all that women go for games where they are in contact with other people.

    In my long experience with online RPGs (from MUDs all the way to WoW and Guild Wars), women (as in confirmed women ;)) would spend a lot more time chatting than men (which tended more often to go exploring and slaying monsters).

    Online gaming is usually more appropriated to socializing (pretty much the only exception being FPSs and RTSs) than offline gaming (unless you invite your buddies over for a session of drinking and blasting each other out with RPGs ;))
    • by Jack9 ( 11421 )
      This is at best a fraudulent survey. Patently false by every conceiveable measure, so I have to wonder what kind of fantasy world you live in where you have no contact with women to poll on your own, over the years. Including my gym, workplace, and common friends, a good 10% of women I know would be considered gamers. If you're going by the strict definition of "anyone who plays any game online, including dumb flash games" the number is not 64% but very very close to 51% What kind of idiots buy this type of
    • Not to mention The Sims Online which is, I would wager, populated almost entirely by women. At least 2 of my wife's sisters and many of my friends' wives play that game religiously, and if my observations are any indication, females make up the VAST majority -- or vag-ority, if you will -- of Sims players.
  • by svunt ( 916464 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:56AM (#16354561) Homepage Journal
    Then Yahoo! Games and pogo.com are the only things stopping her from harrassing you for yet another crack for yet another Mah-Jong game.
  • ... I most certainly am not interested in women shooting up other people, period.
  • Is that "female" as in 40 year old man, or "female" as in 25 year old FBI agent?
  • Everytime one of these studies comes out, its "big news" all over again. WildTangent did a study and got the same results 5 years ago. Those of us in the online gaming industry have been using "Females First" as our mantra when we design or market online games for the past decade.
  • by crossmr ( 957846 )
    This should be tagged FUD. Its another useless study that tells us nothing. As its been pointed out repeatedly: No mention of hours played, games played, etc. The article even mentions that. From the article:

    The study's announcement release doesn't break down what games they're playing, though we expect sites like pogo.com, which feature a multitude of Flash-based, more simplistic games, are rather high on the list. Even more surprising is how many older gamers are playing. While the teenage market dominate

  • The Nielsen study probably focused on casual gaming sites, such as Pogo.com, Yahoo Games, and MSN Games. The games on there are mostly casual games, such as Bejeweled, Zuma, and your simple card & board games (Spades, Hearts, Backgammon, etc.). If you spend some time around these sites, especially in the lobby/chat areas, you'll find that the audience IS mainly women, talking about their kids and family, etc.

    Are they gamers? Sure they are, since they DO play games (and for long periods of time too!). Wo
  • One-girl Case Study (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TerranFury ( 726743 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @01:25PM (#16355859)

    I once knew a girl who spent tons of time playing.... Runescape. I tried it at her suggestion and decided that it was the most mind-numbingly boring thing I'd ever attempted. So why did she play?

    "She was away from home, didn't know too many people, and probably used it as a social outlet." The preceding sentence is likely true, but it's also a gross oversimplification. It is not as though she had any respect for the people she interacted with in the MMO world: She said they were all "idiot teenagers." But then, this is a girl who freely admitted that many of her real-life 'friends' were people who were younger than she was or who she considered not to be terribly intelligent: She liked to surround herself with idiots so that she looked better to herself by comparison. Runescape was a convenient idiot-zoo for her.

    • by joeljkp ( 254783 )
      For one girl I know (late teens), it's The Sims and Heroes of Might and Magic (the original). For another (early 20s), it's Bejeweled and Spyro 3. There's one thing in common between the three non-casual-online games I listed: they were all introduced to the person a long time ago, somehow caught her imagination, and suddenly became her go-to game of choice for mindless entertainment. Neither of them actively seeks out new games to play, and neither would be caught buying a new game from a store. But for wh
  • I started playing online poker about 1 month ago, and was really impressed about the number of women there (not girls, tho :)). About 40% women at least.
  • Somehow, I'm having a hard time believing this number. Here are the stats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_access_in_t h e_United_States [wikipedia.org]. The total number of people who could potentially play online is 204M, including 3 year olds and 80 year olds. So they want to tell me that the majority of users with internet connection play games online? I call bullshit on this one. Online gaming in toddlers and old farts is at negligible levels, and most of the folks I know (age group 25-40) don't play online even
  • Say, is that a +5 Wand of Probing in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

    [apologies to NetHack Wizards]

  • I just hit 34 and I have been playing for about 11 years now, My wife is heavily into pogo style games (she is also 34, we are 9 days apart) while my kids play games like pogo or toontown, warcraft3 and CS, and console games. they are 10 and 11

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