Women are the fastest growing demographic in gaming, both as players and increasingly as industry leaders. Niko Partners finds that this growth is often complimentary. As more women Identify as gamers, more are pursuing careers in the field. And, as more women work in the field of gaming, we see more games developed that appeal to and better represent women both as players and as characters.

Niko Partners’ Female Gamers in Asia report estimates 37% of gamers in Asia are women, and the number of women gaming is growing by 11% annually – almost double the rate of men. Some parts of the region demonstrate this shift more strongly than others. Southeast Asia has a gamer population that is 53% female, and the Philippines leads the way with a percentage of 63%. While markets in MENA, South Asia, and China are less balanced, we still see strong growth across the Asia and MENA region.

Mobile phones have been a huge boost for women’s access to gaming, with 97% of female gamers in Asia using their mobile device to play. According to Niko’s research, puzzle games, multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA), battle royale, simulation, and RPG games are the most popular genres among women. PC and console games also attract women, with 40% of women playing on PC and 16% of them playing on console.

For developers hoping to ignite demand and grow their engagement with women, considering genre, gameplay, storyline, and style, can be great ways to tap into this demographic. Social media is also an important strategy for reaching female players, as more than half (53%) of the women we surveyed see social media as their primary information source about gaming.

Although female gamers in Asia are predominantly casual players, the younger generation of women (Gen Z and beyond) is participating in competitive gaming and esports. Esports is a potential growth driver for female gamers, as it complements the social and cultural elements of gaming. We are seeing increasing representation of women as gamers though livestreaming and even among esports professionals. Women are also engaging with esports and streaming as fans, and are more likely to spend money, play longer, and consume gaming content if they do engage with esports, compared to those who do not.

Women’s achievements in esports are also promising. Najd Fahad is the first Saudi women to win a FIFA tournament at GCC Games, Michelle “Moxxi” Song, was the first woman to work as a play-by play caster at Dota 2’s The International, Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, was the first female player in Overwatch League, and Li “VKLiooon” Xiaomeng, is the first woman to win the Hearthstone World Championship. These kinds of trailblazers are among a growing number of inspirational figures in the pro gaming scene paving the way for future gamers.


Trailblazers in women esports glory (from left to right): Najd Fahad, Michelle “Moxxi” Song, Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, and Li “VKLiooon” Xiaomeng

Despite their significant contributions to the gaming industry, women often encounter barriers working in historically male-dominated environments. Still, women are breaking barriers by pursuing careers as analysts, producers, designers, artists, publishers, and marketers. Individually, they are taking leadership roles such as Tricia Sugita, Chief Marketing Officer of Cloud9, Alodia Gosiengfiao, co-founder of Tier One Entertainment , and Leena Xu, Chief Revenue Officer at Sentinels.

Another important aspect is mentorship and educational programs for women gamers pursuing careers in gaming. Events that offer career mentorship and networking opportunities can help improve this access. Women’s representation in career roles in the gaming industry is strengthened through events such as Women in Gaming Asia gaming career expo, which helps to build community among professionals and provide career support for women in the industry.  These kinds of events connect women in the industry to studios and companies, building networks, and also guiding them through the industry, as well as giving them tools to face challenges in the workforce.

We are seeing more of these kinds of events every year. Last year, Riyadh hosted a session called “Breaking the Code: The Challenges for Women in Gaming Leadership” at Next World Forum. Niko Partners has also presented about gender inclusivity in gaming industry at Gamescom Asia 2022. Besides these events, there are also game development academies and competitions hosted exclusively for women developers, such as 2023 She Jams in Saudi Arabia, as well as Tuwaiq Academy, operated collaboration with Apple.

Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the gaming industry is imperative, and beneficial for the industry overall as women’s perspectives as industry leaders will lead to games with wider appeal. This can go a long way in helping to solve problems experienced by women in the industry, and companies will find that their products reach a wider audience.

Women-only tournament and gaming lounge as safe space for women gamers: VCT Game Changers and sQuad core (Source: Adela Sznajder/Riot Games, Wajod Alkhamis/The National)

Niko Partners is a certified woman-owned business that has been operating in the games industry for over 20 years. We make inclusion and diversity central to our work, through our research, hiring practices, and internal mentorship programs. We hope our work on women in gaming can help spread this message. Our Female Gamers in Asia report is a comprehensive guide on the rise of women gamers in Asia, along with other market reports that include data and insights on the growing segment of women gamers. These reports are based on our gamer survey that include responses from women who game as well as industry leaders. Diversity and inclusion are also an important aspect of Niko Partners in operating its business. Contact us if you want to understand the best strategies for reaching and representing women gamers via our reports and custom research capabilities.

 

 

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