Which games are women and girls playing?

New survey shows how some games significantly confound overall genre expectations

A new survey shows how certain games are more appealing to women and girls than their genre competitors. These include Dragon Age: Inquisition, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Star Wars: The Old Republic, which outpaced overall gender breakdown stats for RPGs, open world games and sci-fi fantasies.

Game consumer research outfit Quantic Foundry recently released a report on the gender breakdown of various game genres, which shows the kinds of games favored by women and girls.

Based on online surveys of more than 270,000 gamers — 18.5 percent of whom identified as female players — the report shows that mobile match-3 games and social farming games are heavily favored by women, but that sports and shooting games are unpopular.

But the numbers also show that certain games within genres can confound expectations, attracting far more women than their competitors.

Quantic Foundry asked respondents to list up to nine games they played the most. The findings show gender breakdowns for each genre. So, 69% of respondents who like match-3 games are women.

Only two percent of sports games players are women and girls. The number for tactical shooters is four percent.

While these stats fall into line with broad perceptions about gender preferences in gaming, the research does throw up some interesting outliers. 36 percent of high fantasy MMO players are women. But only 23 percent of World of WarCraft players are women.

With only 16 percent of players being women, sci-fi fantasy games are not as popular as high fantasy. This, despite a high female skewing for Star Wars: The Old Republic which has an audience breakdown of 29 percent women.

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Among open world games, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate proved to be noticeably more popular than other games in that genre (27 percent vs 14 percent). Some 48 percent of Dragon Age: Inquisition players are women, compared with 26 percent for Western RPGs as a whole.

The full survey results are here. If this topic interests you, do check out our feature on how games and toy companies market differently to girls and boys.