Study Reveals Most Popular Video Game Genres For Women


By GR Staff

Co-founder of game analytics company Quantic Foundry, Nick Yee, publishes an in-depth statistical study that reveals the most popular video game genres for women.

It has often been the popular mindset that the overwhelming majority of video game players and video game enthusiasts are male. However, as analytical studies in recent years and increases in mainstream female gamers have shown, approximately half of all gamers are women. This figure comes from a study previously published by the Entertainment Software Association which puts the proportion of female gamers at 41% in 2016. Many have taken note of this ever-increasing number, including the game analysis company Quantic Foundry , hoping to find out more.


Earlier this week, Quantic Foundry co-founder Nick Yee released a statistical analysis study that dives a little deeper into the facts and figures behind female players. The study revealed the most popular video game genres for women based on a survey of 270,000 active gamers worldwide. What was detailed in Yee’s report wasn’t entirely surprising, but the hard numbers were undoubtedly interesting.

Using a data collection tool created by Quantic Foundry known as the Gamer Motivation Profile, Yee was able to interview the women participating in the study based on 12 “motivations” including fantasy, completion, community, power and discovery. Yee’s research reveals that female gamers make up almost 70% of the audience in family/farm simulation games and match 3 games.

Atmospheric exploration titles and puzzle games, like Monument Valley, come just behind – female gamers make up about half of the audience for these genres. Plus, multiplayer games like the 2016 hit Monitoring attract the attention of female players, just like interactive dramas. The Quantic Foundry study also mentions that almost a quarter of World of Warcraft the players are women.

Unsurprisingly, the percentages drop in more masculine genres like tactical shooters, racing games, MOBAs, and grand strategy games. The decline in female audiences in these genres could be explained, at least in part, by the study’s 12 motivations. Yee explains, “The main motivational differences between male and female gamers seem to underlie current findings in the genre.” The study details that female gamers are most driven by completion and fantasy, where males turn to competition and destruction – key differences between game genres.

But which genre came last? Sports games at just 2%, indicating that the genre has “the smallest proportion of female gamers” of any genre included in Yee’s findings. However, Yee made the distinction clear in interpreting the percentages present in the report: “The percentages given refer to the proportion of players in each gender who are female.”

As female gamers have seen in the past, they are more susceptible to backlash, no matter what kind of game they prefer. A 2015 study found that bad players are more rude to female opponents, often using insults and negative statements to undermine their performance. Couple that with the fact that the average video game character is male, and it looks like changes in the future are in order.

Quantic Foundry’s study findings could help spark a conversation about how game developers and publishers can capture the attention of more female gamers in the future. Likewise, it could inspire a more conscious gaming audience to recognize and respect the high percentage of women who regularly play games.

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