New Sony Data Reveals Nearly Half Of PlayStation Owners Are Women

New Sony Data Reveals Nearly Half Of PlayStation Owners Are Women
Image: Maja-Lisa Kehlet Hansen / Sony

Women gamers are on the rise, and new data from Sony has confirmed just how close we are to a 50-50 split in gaming demographics. In a recent presentation to investors, the company detailed ‘favourable’ statistics which indicated 41 per cent of PlayStation 4 and PS5 owners are women. That’s compared to women making up just 18 per cent of PlayStation One owners two decades ago.

While gaming is still typically spoken of as a ‘male-oriented’ activity, the fact is more women than ever are gaming across all consoles. In the United States, that 41% statistic actually applies to all gaming, with women increasingly taking up the pastime.

The Sony report doesn’t go into the reasons why more women are gaming, but numerous studies have already illuminated some of this data.

Escapism is a primary reason, as is the need for a competitive challenge, to cope with stress or to create more social connections. As we all saw during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, games can be an incredible way to stay connected with friends and family — and the increased uptake of gaming during this time proved this definitively.

Beyond these studies, it’s clear to see that gaming has become more accessible and welcoming for women over the past few decades. We’ve come a long from ads using phallic imagery and bikini-clad women to sell games, and hostility towards women being normalised. In 2021, gaming is filled with powerful women on both sides of the screen — something Sony has frequently recognised and celebrated.

While many women still report using non-gendered names to avoid harassment online, the attitudes towards women gamers overall are slowly changing. In just 20 years, we’ve seen a phenomenal amount of women take up gaming, and it’s likely this statistic will increase over the next decade.

After years of women gamers staying quiet, gaming is finally being recognised as an activity everyone can enjoy. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that gaming has the power to be absolutely transformative and to give everyone the escape they need in trying times. But more women gaming will also have a positive impact on the games industry as a whole.

Beyond being just another fun activity, more women gaming means more diverse stories being told, more work opportunities in the industry, and greater accessibility for everyone who wants to game.

The face of gaming is changing worldwide, and it’s great to see Sony and other gaming companies recognising this shift.

Comments

  • I’ve been gaming my whole life and most of the shit I got was from other women, not men, because I’d buy a Playstation and games instead of makeup or jewelry. As much as there are male creeps around, the intolerance from some women over a “childish” hobby has been far more annoying in IRL social situations where they can discuss buying their fifteenth bracelet, but I can’t talk about picking up the latest AAA release.

    • I get this totally. Although I’m a male gamer, I am mid forties and live in the country. I’d say 90% of friends have no idea I even play video games. They would still view them as childish. Oh well, their loss. Game on!!

      • Some people have weird standards for what’s “childish” in life. I really don’t know why there’s so much stigma when they’re great for helping people with chronic illness or living in the middle of nowhere socialise (like living in the country) and for staying connected even if they can’t leave and for getting them a common interest. It’s definitely their loss.

        • “To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
          -C.S. Lewis

          • I’m amazed you used C.S. Lewis, thought he would have been on the “to cancel” list

          • Nuffman, I am trying to figure out what your argument is that he would be “cancelled”?

          • @Andye: Devout Christian. That’s enough for any left leaning person to cancel him.

    • *has flashbacks of relationships where i was told i was still a teenager cause i was playing video games or watching anime whilst she would go on about how each pair of her shoes meant X or Y and the latest goings on in Jersey Shore*
      NO. MAKE IT STOP.

      Any time i would meet a girl who liked and openly discussed video games or things deemed ‘childish’ it was like finding a diamond in the desert, and it made it so much easier to talk and discus random things about the games we liked, and i ALWAYS remembered the looks those girls would receive from other girls and it wasnt until i reached my late 20’s did it click what those looks were.

      • It’s funny how people are really great at “noticing” symptoms of supposed arrested development in others while being blind to the fact that their own interests exhibit the same amount of shallowness. Thankfully, the stigma of what’s “socially acceptable” has been expanded considerably so at least those people can’t pretend to have society’s approval as a mark of the “adultness” of their hobbies.

        • Mate, my late 20’s was eye opening for a lot of stuff like that, but sadly it just made me…apathetic to it all.

  • I remember stats that said women play more games than men, due to the rise of casual games on mobile, Facebook etc.

    Men do however spend more time playing games, play more hard-core or a completionist style. Which is why you see a huge demographic shift in hard-core game types like FPS, Fighter, Battle Royals etc.

  • Geez, I wish my wife was one of those 41%.. Actually, wait my wife has bought 2 of my last 3 consoles, but never played a second of them..

    If I count my kids though, 75% of the females in my house play games haha..

  • Or phrased another way there are 1.5 men per 1 woman playing playstation (40% to 60% split).

    • The stat only says that 41%of PS5 owners are female.
      The stats also show an increase of PS5 vs PS4 launch sales of 200, 000 units (7.6M vs 7.8M)
      The real question is “why are male gamers abandoning Playstation in record numbers?

      • Do you have any data or reference to back up this claim that male PlayStation gamers are declining in “record numbers”?

  • Guessing this counts moms who set up their kids PS account?

    I don’t mean to discount this data… but it seems kinda strange.

    Maybe the younger generation is different? *shrug*

      • Maybe female gamers keep a low profile around people who like to talk about “the narrative”. Turns out if you aren’t sexist, lots of women are out there gaming.

    • They really are!
      In my experience it’s rare to find kids of any gender who don’t game these days.

  • While I paid for half of it I’d say our PS5 is more my wife’s than mine. At least until FF7R Intergrade comes out… and then back to her’s the next day, when Ratchet and Clank comes out.

  • I’m curious about the blanket statement “While gaming is still typically spoken of as a ‘male-oriented’ activity”… who exactly is doing this spoken’ing?

    Gaming companies – nope.
    Game stores – nope.
    Gamers – I mean maybe…? I’ve never, ever, thought of gaming as being especially male-oriented, the same way that say sports isn’t. Sure male sports get much more $$$, more of the TV spotlight, etc etc… but would you say that sports is male-orientated?

    So where does that leave us.. could it be the people that write about gaming. Hmm.

    • Gaming companies – Agree they have improved a lot
      Game stores – Ask any female who has walked into a games store with their boyfriend about the experience.
      Gamers – Women still get a lot of trash talk and reaction merely by trying to speak online during a game. In a social setting it is much more surprising when a woman says she games, compared to a man.

      • I can give my anecdotal experience for the latter two.

        I’ve had good experiences in a variety of EB Games and JB Hifi stores with a roughly equal helping of male and female staff. Ranging from finding old PS3 games, to buying phones, to picking up consoles, to hunting down TCG booster packs and I’ve largely found the service to be excellent and sex agnostic. I tell them what I need, they help me find it and determine whether or not it’s worth it. I’ve also gone in with male relatives and still had the same good experience shopping in those stores across a variety of locations on the East Coast. On the other hand, I’d suggest that anyone with elderly relatives warn them about predatory sales tactics from some sales assistants who will attempt to not only get them a console bundle, but four controllers and a heap of games they won’t want (I’ve seen that a few times). So how they treat women? Fine! How they treat the elderly? More concerning and if you have an elderly relative who might gift you games, you might want to warn them.

        From gamers, it depends on the game and the server location if online. In MMOs as a woman you’re more likely to get sexually harassed, receive unsolicited whispers/friend invites from males who are there for more than playing the game. In other genres like FPS playing Battlefield you’re more likely to have sexist slurs and general abuse screamed at you over voice, especially if you have the misfortune of joining an American server. On the whole, Australian server for both MMOs and FPS are more indifferent to women than likely to harass them unlike the American servers. It does feel like it’s better than the early 2000s though, because trash talking back will generally shut them up. For offline games and your typical games like Halo, Pokemon, Doom, etc. I’ve had almost no issues with most male and female gamers IRL who usually just happy to talk about it, but some of the people playing competitive games (fighting, FPS, speedrunning etc) tend to be… odd… to everyone.

        I’ve had a lot of negative male experiences at events and conventions, but nothing in the general public or work situation. But this is just my experience.

    • ‘Sure male sports get much more $$$, more of the TV spotlight, etc etc… but would you say that sports is male-orientated?’

      You’re so very, very close to a breakthrough here.

    • Ahh, to be so young that you only know the improved present and have little idea of the past and a long history of people fighting to change it into what it is today.

  • Shocking news – people who identify as female also enjoy entertainment, escapism, interactive experiences etc.

    Gaming stereotypes are about 30 years out of date.

  • I wonder how they got the data for the PS1 user demographics? Not like there was the Playstation Network where you filled in your details back then.

  • It’s interesting seeing these statistics as I always wondered if the reason the stats said there used to be such a low percentage, was not because not many women used to play back in the day, but more so that women just weren’t ADMITTING to playing games.

    I grew up with a sister who absolutely loved Zelda & Pokemon, a mum who was a Tetris addict, a cousin who loved challenging my sis & I to any multiplayer game (MarioKart, Smash Bros., Mario Party, Pokemon Stadium, etc.), and a family friend of ours that introduced me to the world of point-and-click adventure games.

    But would any of them admit to being gamers? At the time only my cousin probably would’ve. My mum and the family friend were both women in their late 40s at the time and definitely didn’t, and my sister hid her nerdy side from her friends due to her being in the popular clique.

    I will definitely agree that I knew more males growing up than women who loved gaming, but it was always in the back of my mind wondering just how many may simply have been hiding their love for the media for various reasons, helping that divide to seem so wide.

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