While it may have begun as a niche and predominantly male-dominated space, gaming has become increasingly more mainstream over the last 20 years, turning into the most profitable entertainment medium ahead of film, television and music. Despite this, however, many continue to gatekeep the hobby, believing it to be an activity reserved solely for men, a reality which, at least in 2021, couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to a new survey carried out by Reach3, in fact, almost half (41%) of all gamers in the US are women with a preference for competitive action games. Breaking down each subcategory even further, the organization found that 75% of those polled named action/survival as their go-to genre of choice, while 66% considered themselves avid fans of shooters, including first-person and battle royale experiences such as Call of Duty, Destiny and Fortnite.
In spite of this, however, a massive 77% of respondents stated they have experienced gender-specific discrimination in online gaming environments, with inappropriate sexual messages, unsolicited advice and name-calling/insults listed as just some of the more prevalent behaviors encountered in the digital world.
Because of this hostility, 59% of participants said they purposefully mask their real-life gender from others by refraining from using voice chat features and pretending to be male to just outright quitting certain titles altogether. Reach3 believes a potent antidote for this toxicity is for publishers to commit to better female representation in their products and marketing campaigns, though 80% say they are satisfied with how this is handled in AAA games, with indies coming in at a higher 91%.
A positive cap to an otherwise troubling report, then, but clearly more can always be done to make everyone feel safe and welcome in any hobby. As always, feel free to share your own thoughts on the topic down below!