Gaming used to be a thing that mums got in a tizz about their teenage sons spending too much time doing. But now, it seems, a mum is as likely to spend her free time playing video and computer games as her teenage kids, or anyone else for that matter.
According to a report by the Entertainment Software Association in the USA this year, women now make up almost half (48%) of gaming population of the States. Not only that, but there are actually more female gamers over the age of 44 (36%) in the gaming population than there are boys aged 18 and under (17%).
And it seems that the number of older women playing video games is set to rise – there was a 32% increase in the number of women aged over 50 who played computer games between 2012 and 2013. But what are we all playing? Have we all become sofa-slouching gamers who sit playing action shooter games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or is just that more of us are playing online bingo games and other games that can be played on the computer or just as easily on our mobiles?
The number of female gamers has been rising in the UK too; another survey carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau revealed some similar information to the ESA report. The survey included 4,000 participants and it showed that females make up 52% of the UK gaming audience, an increase of 3% in the last three years. The IAB survey also found that more people over the age of 44 played computer games (27%) than children or teenagers (22%).
It also stated that over half (54%) of the respondents preferred playing on their mobiles than on any other platform, with 25% of them playing mobile games every day.
There’s no doubt that the rise of the smartphone and the thousands of gaming apps that can be downloaded onto it has increased the number of casual female gamers. Most mums would consider their days and lives to be too packed and hectic to make time to sit and play a console game, but many of the mobile-friendly games can be played for just a few minutes at a time. And the other aspect that is appealing about playing the mobile games is that there’s no need to learn how to play. Many are intuitive and you learn as you go or, in the case of a game like bingo, there is simply nothing to learn. You pick the jackpot you want to play for, the amount of tickets you want to buy, and the rest is out of your hands. You’ll either win or you won’t; the result is down to the random number generator software that controls the game.
When you’re leading a busy life and you want five minutes of playtime, it’s natural that you’ll go for games like bingo, Candy Crush or Words with Friends. And, like it or not, when you play these you now fall under the category of ‘gamer’.