This is an old debate that many studies have tried to stop: do women play video games as much as men do? This time, it’s the respected Pew Research Center that is trying to answer it. According to him, 50% of men play video games, against 48% for women.
To achieve this result, the institute interviewed a representative sample of 2001 Americans over 18 years of age. He considers as “video games” any game on computer, television, game console, or mobile (tablet or smartphone). Despite this near-gender equality, the Pew Research Center notes that 60% of Americans think that video games are mostly appreciated by men.
On the other hand, women are more reluctant to claim to be players than others. Only 6% of Americans surveyed consider themselves “gamers”, compared to 15% of men. This gap widens in the age group between 18 and 29 years: 33% of young Americans considers themselves players, against 9% of young women.
A gap that can be explained by different practices between players and players
While the Pew study does not go into detail, other research has shown that more women are playing games on smartphones, Facebook, or on Internet portals. These types of games are not recognized as “noble” by the community of players because they are often too simple and not very popular. Therefore, it is difficult for the practitioners of these titles to identify themselves as ‘gamers’, terminology still very often reserved for fans of games on console and PC.
This does not mean, however, that “female gamers” are non-existent. The players on consoles and PC are numerous. A British study published in 2014 shows that half of women playing video games do so on a console. But they remain however minority in front of men. “Gamers” are also often less inclined to reveal their passion. Video games are still widely accepted as a hobby of man; 57% of female gamers interviewed by Pew agree with this point of view. It is therefore more complicated for the players to claim themselves as such, and this difficulty increases with age.
“There have been significant debates in recent years about the societal impact of video games and the effect they can have on gamers,” says the Pew Research Center to justify its study. The video game industry has recently received a lot of media attention. The controversy of Gamergate , an online anti-feminist and reactionary movement, cast a harsh light on the problems of women’s representation in games and companies in the sector. The Pew Research Center tried to verify this bad reputation. According to the institute, 40% of American adults are “not really sure” that video games carry degrading representations of women.
In addition to these problems of sexism, video games still seem to suffer from many prejudices. Nearly 40% of people surveyed by the Pew Research Center believe there is a link between a violent video game and aggressive behavior. They are also divided on the positive effects sometimes associated with video games. Nearly 47% of Americans believe that video games always develop or most of the time team spirit and communication, the rest responding in the negative.