Women Now Outnumber Adolescent Boys in the Gamer Community

Smartphones likely explain the sudden spike in the number of female gamers

Photo: Romulic-Stojcic/Lumi Images/Corbis

Boys under the age of 18 have just been displaced as the number-one gamer demographic in the U.S. According to a new survey published by the Entertainment Software Association, adult women now represent 36 percent of the total gaming population and easily outnumber young men, who comprise just 17 percent of the community.

In 2010, 40 percent of women played games on both phones and consoles, compared to 48 percent today. The authors think that jump in numbers is tied to the widespread adoption of smartphones over the past few years, PBS reports. According to the survey, women are now more likely than men to play games on their mobile devices.

As PBS reports, experts historically thought that female gamers largely joined in "primarily as a means of connecting with their loved ones." According to the survey, however, that no longer seems to be true. Women often play solo games like brain teaser quizzes and cards on their devices, PBS continues. Women also spent more money and more time with those games than men did. 

For game makers and advertisers, PBS concludes, the take home is simple: targeting adult female users will likely reap the biggest rewards. "The uptick of female gamers could be a signal of changes to come," PBS writes. 

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