The boom in gaming since the start of this century has been truly remarkable. What was once considered a niche activity mainly enjoyed by sullen teenage boys now has a huge and very diverse market.
One reason for its rise in popularity is the increase in the number of women playing games. At this point, the gender split amongst US gamers is very close to being 50/50, with more and more couples playing games together.
A similar story is playing out in much of Asia and Europe too, making it clear to games developers that there is a big female market for their products. That is leading to changes in the types of games that are being created, although the industry itself is still male dominated.
So what games do women enjoy playing and is the industry managing to connect with them?
Well clearly the answer to that question is ‘yes’, otherwise the number of female players would not be rising. Given the comparative lack of women working in top level positions within the video gaming industry, it suggests that there is quite a bit of crossover between male and female tastes in games.
Let’s take a look at what research has shown to be the favored genres among female gamers.
The popularity of casino games among women is certainly one area where their tastes overlap with those of men. Casino games are among the biggest genres in 2023.
Research shows that the majority of women favor slots, which is also true of both genders. That is partially due to how easy they are for casual gamers to play, but studies show that more than half of all mobile gamers are women and slots are ideal for playing on mobile phones.
Examples of big selling slots at some of the newest online casinos include the Rainbow Riches series and Gonzo’s Quest.
Puzzle games enjoy much greater popularity among women than men, with 45% of women choosing themcompared with 31% of male players. The reasons for this are not really clear, but games that involve solving a problem logically clearly have an attraction for women.
It should be noted that puzzle games vary a considerable amount, from fairly simple hidden object games that can be completed in hours to more complex ones. It is likely that the former connect with the percentage of women who are casual rather than dedicated gamers.
Puzzle games are mostly single-player ones and studies reveal that three quarters of female gamers prefer them to multi-player ones, so that could be another part of the appeal. Among the most popular puzzle games are Wordleand Candy Crush Saga, both of which feature fun and colorful brain teasing play.
Simulator games are another genre that encompasses a wide array of titles. They are a type of game that first gained traction via Facebook.
Women have been proven to use social media sites more frequently – and in higher numbers – than men, so that is surely a factor in the huge popularity of simulator games among them. One of the biggest selling titles within the genre is Farmville, which is a game where the player must deploy creative and customization skills to make their farm better.
The games that are particularly popular among female players are often ones that can be made quite personal and involve some use of creativity. Farmville is a game that fits that bill.
These are the other main type of gambling games to be popular with women. Studies have found that a lot more women than men play online bingo and the social part of it is suspected to be a big reason for that.
Women have been shown by research to favor social gaming, which makes their comparative lack of engagement with multi-player titles an interesting anomaly.
Role-Playing Games (RPGs) are the other genre with a high percentage of female players. That is true of male players too, but the difference is that single-player ones such as Mass Effect and The Witcher have been the biggest sellers among women.
Female gamers have been found to like RPGs with storylines and character journeys that are highly immersive (34% compared to 22% of men), whereas male playersfavor assault and conquer dynamics to a greater extent (35% compared with 4%). Therefore, even within a genre that is popular among both genders, there are still notable differences in the way that women prefer to play them.
There are both clear areas of overlap in the games that women and men like the most and real variances. Somegenres that are big among male players, including sports and first-person shooters, are far less popular with women. Genres like RPGs and casino games cross gender lines though.