Back in the early days of video games, the consensus was that they were toys for boys.
We’ve (mostly) moved on since then. Recent data shows that women are only slightly less likely to play games than men, and more likely than men to play games on a mobile phone or tablet.
This is reflected across the video game medium, with growing numbers of prominent female developers, journalists, streamers, and characters all slowly tipping the balance towards the holy grail of equal representation.
But a few key differences remain. While women are now pretty much as likely as men to play games, they tend to approach their hobby very differently.
A study by ExpressVPN revealsthat women spend less time playing games than men – and, just as significantly, they’d like to cut their playing time even further.
This may have something to do with the fact that they’re more likely to feel guilty about spending their spare time gaming.
By contrast, male gamers are more likely to see gaming as a worthwhile social activity, an opportunity to connect with friends and meet new people.
In response to the statement “I play video games to connect with my friends”, 43% of men agreed, compared with only 21% of women.
It won’t surprise anybody who has worked in the games industry to learn that men are also far more likely than women to pursue a career in gaming.
Women, conversely, are more likely to see gaming purely as entertainment and a means of unwinding.
Gaming has displaced other hobbies among both men and women, but this is far more marked in the former (72%) than the latter (21%).
Relatedly, men are more likely to report negative feelings when prevented from playing games. The most prevalent negative emotion is boredom, but irritability and anxiety are also common.
How do you feel when you can’t play your favorite games? What kind of gamer are you?