With the tremendous influx of women gamers in the last couple of years, online gaming is no longer a niche pursuit for men. Be it gamers, streamers, game developers, or entrepreneurs, today, women are increasingly straddling different roles in the online gaming industry, making it more diverse and inclusive.
A recent report by the All-India Gaming Federation (AIGF) unveiled that India is home to over 400 million gamers, with a corresponding increase in the number of women gamers. While the user engagement levels of women gamers saw a sharp rise, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown when 49% of the women started playing games, it is promising to see how it has still maintained a healthy momentum even after the ease in restrictions.
With the widespread adoption of affordable mobile devices and low-cost data access, online gaming became the go-to recreational activity for several men and women across the country. Currently, India is the 5th largest online gaming market.
As the industry continues to be buffeted by winds of change, women make up for half of the hyper-casual gamers. Catering to the nuances of audience segments is as much a priority in online games as other media, for instance in understanding primary motivations. For women, the research uncovered that easy access, ease of use, convenience, and low investment in online games are the most common motivators behind gaming habits.
It is worth noting that 77% of India’s women mobile gamers are committed gamers, playing at least once a day spending an average of 53 minutes per day. Popular e-sports genres include; adventure, first-person shooters, multiplayer online battle arenas, survivalist horror, virtual sports and strategy.
Today, we are also witnessing a substantial increase in the share of serious women gamers mostly home-makers and college students who are looking to boost their income by playing real money skill-based games.
As more and more women get involved in the gaming ecosystem, they are forming a major part of decision-makers and reshaping the gaming landscape for the better. Not just limited to gamers and streamers anymore, women are now at the forefront of developing women-themed designs, graphics and lead characters, breaking gender stereotypes and establishing a leading presence in the industry.
In the coming years, the Indian gaming ecosystem can take cues from South East Asia where women game developers are continuing to enhance existing games and create new formats with art styles and graphics that offer exclusive experiences to female gamers and also fight the gender stereotypes that continue to prevail in online games.
The engagement of women in online gaming is poised to increase exponentially in the coming years with the increase of advancement, accessibility and affordability of gaming technology.
It’s safe to say that a large part of the future growth will come from female mobile gamers who do not fit the gaming stereotype of young urban males. As we move towards improved age and gender parity among online gamers, it’s about time that the gaming industry becomes adequately structured to serve this growing consumer segment. There could not be a better time for women developers and gamers to start their careers in this emerging industry.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.