Female esports players numbers reach new record high
Sadly, getting women engaged in esports, to the point where they actively participate is till a bit of an issue. While progress is absolutely being made, and many games make a specific effort to be appealing to women, there is still a lot of work to be done.
The Overwatch League team Washington Justice only just signed on a female coach – the first one in the entire OWL. With rolemodels like that, progress isn’t far off. As a matter of fact, it’s already happening all around us.
Kids Insight, a market research group have just released a report featuring some pretty interesting highlights about gaming and esports in the UK. According to their research, esports interest in teenagers has experienced a remarkable shift in recent years, to the point where interest in the subject among 13-15 year olds is actually higher in girls than in boys…and not just interest but also participation.
Along with general numbers, there was also information about the most played games – nothing too surprising there. Dota, LoL, CSGO… and topping the list for both genders were Overwatch, Fifa, and Call of Duty.
Generally speaking, Kids Insight’s report has found that some 15% of girls in the UK now watch esports and 84% of girls now spend some of their time gaming, a figure that was significantly lower last year, when it was ‘only 75%’. Things change a little as the audience gets older – in the 16 to 18 group, boys once again outnumber girls by a fair bit. In this group, esports viewing numbers are roughly 30% for boys but only 10% for girls – that’s a significant drop.
Strangely enough though, it mirrors a very similar trend technically unrelated to esports – that age group includes the end of mandatory education, and though it’s unknown why this is the case, at that age, participation in traditional sports drops in a similar way among teenagers.
Kids Insight’s report surveys around 20.000 UK teens every year and releases new data roughly every 12 weeks. This latest report shows a significant change in trend from last year, when esports ranked a lot lower, interest-wise. When asked about their favourite hobby, boys still outnumber girls significantly.
14% of 4-12 year olds and 21% of 13-18 year old boys said esports was their favourite, whereas with girls it was significantly less, only 3%. In other words, Kids Insight found that while girl’s interest and participation have risen and are continuing to rise significantly, the overall loyalty and continued interest over time are still quite low – that seems like the sort of thing where efforts made to appeal to women could really change things though.
A pretty good example of this is Overwatch – most popular in both genders when it comes to watching as an esport, the game has very little female representatives at competitive League levels, however the game HAS a very diverse cast of playable characters, thus appealing to a wider group of people.