Adult women gamers now double the number of under-18 boys

Android logoThe Entertainment Software Association, best known for its video game rating system, issued its annual "sales, demographic, and usage data" report on Thursday, chock full of statistics about console, PC, and mobile gaming. The numbers are all worth poring over, but this year's report highlights a particular demographic explosion: adult women, whose gaming ranks now more than double the long-sought-after demographic of boys under the age of 18.

According to the ESA's measure of 2013 sales, women ages 18 and over now constitute 36 percent of all measured gamers, compared to boys under the age of 18, who represent 17 percent of the total population. This measure shows a further increase from last year's count of 31 percent to 19 percent (and that 2013 measure only counted boys 17 and younger, meaning the total boost may be even bigger this year).

Adult women gamers now double the number of under-18 boys

While males still hold the total gamer-population lead at 52 percent, that is a drop from last year's count of 55 percent, and the survey's count of "frequent game purchasers" found that men and women split that category neatly in half. The report also notes a giant boost in women gamers over the age of 50, a group that grew 32 percent in 2013.

However, the report didn't break down the gender divide in genre preference or software, possibly because the ESA doesn't track sales figures on digital platforms like the iOS App Store and Steam. This also puts its estimation of 2013's top-selling computer games in doubt; the ESA's tally currently counts seven versions of The Sims 3 (including expansion packs) in its top-20 list, which we estimate would change if download figures were included.

The report stated that "casual/social game" use jumped up 55 percent in the past year, but again, thanks to a lack of data, readers were left to wonder how much of that was directly impacted by a rising older-woman demographic. To fill in those cracks, a PBS report pointed to an early-August study by mobile advertising company Flurry Analytics, which found that women players spent over 30 percent more money on mobile games via in-app purchases than men.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: computer games, research

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