Last June, The Entertainment Software Association released its annual statistics manual. This document is essentially an informational guide about the types of people to typically play video games. It's actually a rather depressing read if you're one of those people who thinks that everyone is a unique individual, like a snowflake.
As you flip through the pages, it quickly becomes clear that the decisions I make on a daily basis are reflected by much—if not the majority—of people of my age, race, and gender. We're not snowflakes. We're prefabricated suburban houses.
If you're at all familiar with the gaming market, the report itself is somewhat predictable. However, there are a couple of interesting highlights, one of which is the impressive rise of girl gamers within the last few years.
Now, I can only speak from personal experience, but I haven't come across an increased number of girl gamers over the last few years. Though, this could be due to the fact that I don't spend much time in playing RPGs, which is their preferred genre. However, the report indicates that the fairer sex now occupies 47% of the overall gaming market, which represents a 10% increase within the last decade.
The reason I bring all of this up is because it ties into a recent discussion that I had with Matt Walker, the venerable Editor-in-Chief at Cheat Code Central. The conversation revolved around whether or not girl gamers cop a more aggressive attitude during online game play.
Like I said, I haven't seen much of an increase in the lady-folk population during my nightly Call of Duty binge, but the ones that I do play with have a tendency to be far more vitriolic than those of us who possess both an X and Y chromosome. During our conversation, Matt agreed and ran our newfound theory by his wife, who responded with a string of curse words.
Which, I think proves the point.
However, because I'm a hard-hitting journalist, I decided to get a little perspective on the subject by reaching out to my friend Britt Brombacher from blondenerd.com. Britt's a female and a gamer, and was quick to dismiss the theory, chalking it up to a mismatched ratio of vocal and non-vocal females.
In Britt's mind, the small population of histrionic women gamers might give the entire group a bad reputation simply because the rest are naturally less vocal.
And I think she's probably right. The fact is that I have no idea how many women I'm playing against because the vast majority don't feel the need to talk about themselves during gameplay. Those who do, however, unfortunately share the credit with the female population at large.
Actually, the fact that women gamers have managed to increase their numbers so drastically over the last ten years is a testament to their fortitude. In August, the New York Times ran an article about sexual harassment in online gaming. Their research indicated that harassment is a particularly pervasive problem within gaming communities, and it doesn't seem to be dwindling.
So, perhaps the reason that certain sects of girl gamers feel the need to be so aggressive is because the rest of the community has established a culture of non-acceptance.
Or maybe I just need to install World of Warcraft.
What do you think?
Date: November 21, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*