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.