Steven Bogos said: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/]
What are they considering "core" games, that's a big question.
That said, yeah, girls tend to like their hidden object and adventure games and the like. Games which seem to wind up entirely under the radar of sites like this, and thus tend to not be considered when questions like 'the number of female protagonists' come up.
The thing is though if you chopped off some parts of that casual market and put into the core, the results might be a lot different. I'd point out that years ago "Adventure Games" like Sierra's "Quest" series were a big deal and you saw tons of these titles released by a lot of companies. For whatever reason the major companies stopped producing them although they have always been out there, albeit somewhat neglected, and it seems they are on the rise again. The "Nancy Drew" series which is a hybrid adventure game series has a truly staggering number of installments if I remember. I simply wonder what the results would be if you put those kind of adventure games (ignoring pure hidden object ones I guess back into the core where they were years ago.
I'd also point out that corporate greed probably has something to do with this trend as well. Things that start out being aimed at a niche market never stay there when the bean counters get involved, and inevitably die when they fall short of increasingly high predicted profit margins, or when a company decides it wants to stop supporting a product properly or ensure it's quality. I look at the minimum age of those in the study here and how MMOs were on the core gamer list and how Disney has cancelled numerous MMOs for kids or all age groups, "Pixie Hollow", "Pirates Of The Caribbean", and "Toontown" all of which apparently saw very limited support and were axed despite a fair number of players in their community. I believe Sony also killed "Free Realms". I'm not sure if there are any kid-friendly MMOs out there (no snide comments about WoW please) and if the study went that young it probably loads it a bit given the current environment.