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Gender in MMOGs

Who took the survey?

In the current study 60 percent of participants are male and 40 percent female, which is similar to a 2008 Nielsen study of World of Warcraft players.

participants by gender

In the United States, 67 percent of households play computer and video games but only 14 percent play in MMOGs (entertainment software association, 2010). It is difficult to estimate the actual demographics of players within games because most companies that run MMOGs don’t share data with researchers due to privacy concerns. In general the majority of MMOG players are white, male, adult, and middle class (Williams, Yee, & Caplan, 2008).

The difficulty in estimating player demographics can be seen in research on World of Warcraft players looking at how many players are female: Estimates range from 16 percent to 38.8 percent (Breckon, 2009). The Nielsen study in 2008 also shows that “World of Warcraft was the most-played ‘core’ game for females,” (Breckon, 2009, p. np). The difference in female players could also be showing a change over the years, because the commonly cited 16 percent was from research in 2002.

The estimate of how many computer and video game players in the United States are female is 42 percent for gamers in general (entertainment software association, 2010). But women and men play for different reasons and play different styles of games. One study found that women were more likely to play puzzle and quiz style games while men preferred games that “required speedy fingers and nerves of steel” (Beck & Wade, 2004, p. 50).

The Nielsen study looked at players worldwide. The majority of participants in this study live in the United States, but overall they represent a total of 8 countries.

pie chart of participants by country



Beck, John C., & Wade, Mitchell. (2004). Got game: How the gamer generation is reshaping business forever. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Breckon, Nick. (2009). Nielsen estimates 400,000+ female World of Warcraft players in US.   Retrieved March 26, 2011, 2011, from http://www.shacknews.com/article/58076/nielsen-estimates-400000-female-world

entertainment software association. (2010). 2010 sales, demographic and usage data: Essential facts about the computer and video game industry. entertainment software association.

Williams, Dmitri, Yee, Nick, & Caplan, Scott E. (2008). Who plays, how much, and why? Debunking the stereotypical gamer profile. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(4), 993-1018. Retrieved March 20, 2011, from Wiley Online Library.