Core Gamers Mostly Male, Casual Gamers Mostly Female, Says NPD

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Core Gamers Mostly Male, Casual Gamers Mostly Female, Says NPD


Core gamers were defined as those who play "core" games for five or more hours per week.

Market research firm the NPD Group (who you may know as the guys who provide sales numbers for games every month) has conducted a large-scale survey of American PC gamers, and come up with some interesting observations. The 6,225 members survey were split into three groups - Heavy Core, Light Core, and Casual. Heavy Core gamers play "core" games for five or more hours per week, while Light Core gamers still enjoy core games, but do so for less than five hours a week, and Casual gamers only play non-core games. The survey found that the majority of gamers in the two "core" groups were male, while the casual group was "overwhelmingly female."

Just FYI, In order to qualify as a core gamer for the survey, respondents had to currently play Action/Adventure, Fighting, Flight, Massively Multi-Player (MMO), Racing, Real Time Strategy, Role-Playing, Shooter, or Sport games on a PC/Mac.

The largest segment is Casual at 56 percent, with Light Core at 24 percent, and Heavy Core at 20 percent. Though Heavy Core is the smallest segment, they spend a significantly higher number of hours gaming in an average week, and have spent roughly twice as much money in the past 3 months on physical or digital games for the computer than Casual PC gamers.

Of all the participants surveyed, 51% were male and 49% were female. The survey also determined that 37% of all participants above the age of 9 identified as someone who played PC games, and the average play time per week is 6.4 hours.

A few interesting patterns were discerned about PC gamers spending habits too. 46% of respondents had visited a digital storefront to buy games in the last year, and "half of PC gamers who play digital and/or physical games on the computer are expecting there to always be a sale right around the corner," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan.

Source: NPD Group [https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/37-percent-of-us-population-age-9-and-older-currently-plays-pc-games/]

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Sight Unseen

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Nov 18, 2009
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Pretty much none of this is surprising to me in any way, but nice to have statistical confirmation.

People who play a lot of games buy a lot of games and most core gamers are male?! Colour me shocked.
 

Ruisu

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Jul 11, 2013
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Sight Unseen said:
Pretty much none of this is surprising to me in any way, but nice to have statistical confirmation.

People who play a lot of games buy a lot of games and most core gamers are male?! Colour me shocked.
It's only a 2% difference in core gaming though.
 

SNCommand

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To no ones actual surprise

People have been wanting this to change for years for some reason or other, but we're not there yet, I'm going to give it another decade or two before there's a fairly even split between the two genders in the part of the gaming circle we perceive as the "core"

All the hate towards gamers from people outside it leads me to believe we'll have to wait at least two decades, it's become less stigmatizing than before to be interested in what was before considered "boy hobbies", but there's evidently still a large portion of the population who view gamers as fat neckbeards who dislike girl cooties
 

ron1n

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Sick of these overly broad stroke surveys. Would be much more interested in data relating to specific genres or games.

i.e what's the male/female split for FPS vs MMO. How many people surveyed stick to franchise triple A games and how many branch out and play other titles/indie games? What percentage of people surveyed play Minecraft as their main game?
 

SNCommand

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Ruisu said:
Sight Unseen said:
Pretty much none of this is surprising to me in any way, but nice to have statistical confirmation.

People who play a lot of games buy a lot of games and most core gamers are male?! Colour me shocked.
It's only a 2% difference in core gaming though.
The 2% difference is in regards to PC gamers, the light core split is 76% men and 24% women, and the heavy core is 80% men and 20% women
 

Erttheking

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Why is it I get the feeling at least one person is going to use this as justification as to why we shouldn't care about women in gaming.
 

Ticklefist

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I'd made a comment here but it's gone now. I think that article above with research and analysis says it well enough.
 

Sight Unseen

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Ruisu said:
Sight Unseen said:
Pretty much none of this is surprising to me in any way, but nice to have statistical confirmation.

People who play a lot of games buy a lot of games and most core gamers are male?! Colour me shocked.
It's only a 2% difference in core gaming though.
It doesn't say that. It says that PC gamers are equally likely to be female as male. Since they didn't specify I'm assuming that they mean the three groups lumped together. And I'm pretty sure I'm right about my assumption because I very much doubt the author would have run with the article title "Core Gamers Mostly Male..." if the split was 51:49.

The escapist loves their clickbait sensationalist titles but I think THAT would be pushing the limits of journalistic honesty. So I'm sticking with my assumption that heavy core/light core is mostly male and casual is mostly female and combined the two make a 50:50 ratio. It's really the only way those numbers make sense anyway.
 

Fappy

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The PC numbers don't surprise me at all. There are a lot of women on MMO's, which holds a huge marketshare of the PC scene. The only genre I can think of where they are in the extreme minority is MOBA's because, well... their communities, I imagine.
 

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Sight Unseen said:
Ruisu said:
Sight Unseen said:
Pretty much none of this is surprising to me in any way, but nice to have statistical confirmation.

People who play a lot of games buy a lot of games and most core gamers are male?! Colour me shocked.
It's only a 2% difference in core gaming though.
It doesn't say that. It says that PC gamers are equally likely to be female as male. Since they didn't specify I'm assuming that they mean the three groups lumped together. And I'm pretty sure I'm right about my assumption because I very much doubt the author would have run with the article title "Core Gamers Mostly Male..." if the split was 51:49.

The escapist loves their clickbait sensationalist titles but I think THAT would be pushing the limits of journalistic honesty. So I'm sticking with my assumption that heavy core/light core is mostly male and casual is mostly female and combined the two make a 50:50 ratio. It's really the only way those numbers make sense anyway.
You are correct in your assumption. Sorry I didn't make that clearer, I will alter the article to better reflect this
 

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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The real question is, with all of the many casual games, and all of the casual gamers playing them, why do we still lean on this crutch of refering to this other class of games as the "core?"

Seriously, it would be like a guy from Mississippi walking around Kenya talking about how it's amazing there are so many "minorities" there...
 

Ticklefist

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Dastardly said:
The real question is, with all of the many casual games, and all of the casual gamers playing them, why do we still lean on this crutch of refering to this other class of games as the "core?"

Seriously, it would be like a guy from Mississippi walking around Kenya talking about how it's amazing there are so many "minorities" there...
You will rue the day that Yahoo! Dominoes is considered a "core" game.
 

Sight Unseen

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Dastardly said:
The real question is, with all of the many casual games, and all of the casual gamers playing them, why do we still lean on this crutch of refering to this other class of games as the "core?"

Seriously, it would be like a guy from Mississippi walking around Kenya talking about how it's amazing there are so many "minorities" there...
Because there's a difference between them? And that the term "casual game" does a pretty accurate job of describing the playstyle of the average person playing them?

Also I'm not one of those people that think that all mobile games are "casual games" or something, but there is a definite genre of games that can accurately be described as "casual." Games like farmville, where you can only play for limited amounts of time before running into a time wall of "6 hours before you can do more shit unless you pay $2.99 in gems to skip the wait..." Small puzzle games like Bejewelled where the average game time only takes a few minutes and you can play it while you wait for the bus to arrive. Games that are simple enough for anyone to grasp and play competantly within minutes. Those are casual games.

Massive RPG's where you can invest hundreds of hours into a single playthrough or strategy games that have steep learning curves. Those are definitely NOT casual games.

See what I'm getting at here?
 

Dastardly

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ticklefist said:
Dastardly said:
The real question is, with all of the many casual games, and all of the casual gamers playing them, why do we still lean on this crutch of refering to this other class of games as the "core?"

Seriously, it would be like a guy from Mississippi walking around Kenya talking about how it's amazing there are so many "minorities" there...
You will rue the day that Yahoo Dominoes is considered a "core" game.
Denial doth not an argument make. If most of the people playing (and paying) are casual, that's the new core. If most of the folks in this country voted for Ron Jeremy for president, he'd be president. Doesn't matter if the wizened few think it's a dumb idea.

Now, me? I don't think casual games are some awful thing. Clearly, their existence isn't removing classically "core" games from existence. And I play a handful of goofy games on my phone, which I enjoy greatly. There's just this weird idea that even though MOST gamers play these casual games (which includes but is not limited to stuff like Yahoo Dominoes), the other section of games are still the "real" thing.

The real reason casual games do so well, in addition to being convenient, is that they have broader appeal. Candy Crush, the bajillion versions of Yahtzee and Boggle, Hay Day, you know something they all DON'T have in common? The same old gravelly-voiced white male protagonist.
 

runequester

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I'd be curious about the amount of money spent in each of those categories. Because that will pretty much tell you where gaming is headed.

Never mind, I'm an idiot. It's right there and I can't read.

You may proceed to laugh at me now.
 

Dastardly

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Sight Unseen said:
See what I'm getting at here?
What you're getting it is saying that the type of game is defined by how it is played. If that be the case, then people that play "core" games, but only do so casually, should be termed casual gamers. And people that play silly puzzle games for hours at a time should be classified as "hardcore."

We can't pick and choose who we put on each side to better fit the outcome we wanted. Either we have fair, standard criteria for what makes a "core" versus "hardcore" gamer (protip: the extant criteria are not objective), or the words have no useful meaning.
 

Fappy

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Dastardly said:
ticklefist said:
Dastardly said:
The real question is, with all of the many casual games, and all of the casual gamers playing them, why do we still lean on this crutch of refering to this other class of games as the "core?"

Seriously, it would be like a guy from Mississippi walking around Kenya talking about how it's amazing there are so many "minorities" there...
You will rue the day that Yahoo Dominoes is considered a "core" game.
Denial doth not an argument make. If most of the people playing (and paying) are casual, that's the new core. If most of the folks in this country voted for Ron Jeremy for president, he'd be president. Doesn't matter if the wizened few think it's a dumb idea.

Now, me? I don't think casual games are some awful thing. Clearly, their existence isn't removing classically "core" games from existence. And I play a handful of goofy games on my phone, which I enjoy greatly. There's just this weird idea that even though MOST gamers play these casual games (which includes but is not limited to stuff like Yahoo Dominoes), the other section of games are still the "real" thing.

The real reason casual games do so well, in addition to being convenient, is that they have broader appeal. Candy Crush, the bajillion versions of Yahtzee and Boggle, Hay Day, you know something they all DON'T have in common? The same old gravelly-voiced white male protagonist.
What's weird is, as far as I can tell, you don't see this kind of divide in nearly any other kind of "nerdy" hobby. You like tabletop? Cool. The worst you'll see are people condemning certain systems because they don't like the rules, not because the audience doesn't have any less passion for the hobby than they do. How about comic books? Marvel/DC rivalries are like console rivalries: irrelevant and not a real issue. Beyond that, I don't really see any kind of line in the sand drawn between "real" and "fake" comic book readers.

I wonder why that is... :/
 

Johnson McGee

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Dastardly said:
The real question is, with all of the many casual games, and all of the casual gamers playing them, why do we still lean on this crutch of refering to this other class of games as the "core?"

Seriously, it would be like a guy from Mississippi walking around Kenya talking about how it's amazing there are so many "minorities" there...
I would argue it's more like declaring potato chips as a meal. A lot of people liking them doesn't change what they are.

O.T. I wonder how the ratios on consoles compare or what the trends over time are.