Gender warriors, prefects of the Progressive Stack, and hierophants of the Intersectional Inquisition are cheering loudly about a new market report from SimilarWeb that notes that out of the 125 million active users engaged with Epic Games’ Fortnite, 16.31% of them are female.
The website notes that the 16.31% roughly translates into 20 million active female players in Fortnite.
Unfortunately, New World Notes comes to a brazenly opposite opinion of what the data suggests, claiming that somehow the fraction of females interested in core gaming perpetuates the myth that “getting woke” is a model for success, writing…
“[…] all this contradicts the persistent stereotype of women and games. It also explains why the game industry is starting to work harder to add female avatar representation in its hardcore games — and has lost patience with angry male gamers who complain about this. When EA added a female avatar to its upcoming Battlefield V game, eliciting ignorant gamebro complaints that women didn’t fight in World War II (quite possibly the dumbest, most easily disproven objection ever), EA didn’t bother trying to placate them. Saying, instead, “you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game”.
“For this reason alone, expect more and more gender diversity in upcoming games, which in the end has little to do with political correctness. As with Hollywood, where female-led movies make more money, game developers have finally grasped that sexism is a bad revenue model.”
None of what they claim is true.
Cliffy B learned the hard way that focusing on diversity over gameplay innovation was a death knell for Lawbreakers. Much in the same way that focusing on diversity and a large female cast of playable characters in Agents of Mayhem turned out to be a financial disaster. Much in the same way that focusing mostly on “strong independent women” who were not sexualized turned out to be a death knell for Gearbox Software’s Battleborn.
Simply adding more women and making typically male-oriented action games designed to appeal to feminists have made most of these games fall flat in sales. The only two notable successes are Overwatch and Fortnite, but even then the female playerbase in Fortnite are still just a small fraction of the overall active users playing the game.
It’s become a tired trope to dispel the myth that there’s a 50/50 ratio between males and females in hardcore gaming. Casual gaming, however, does see a more even split among the genders, especially when it comes to browser games, social apps, and mobile software.
Pew Research‘s study noted that 45% of smartphone owners use their devices to play games. This is in synch with a blurb from the New World Notes that links to a CNBC report indicating that a large portion of Fortnite’s user activity from the female demographic comes from mobile users.
There’s an additional link to Mediakix that states that female mobile users are more likely to spend money on apps that they’re engaged with, and make up nearly 60% of the gaming demographic for the mobile sector.
None of this is new data.
It all fits in line with the typical numbers that have been trending in gaming. In fact, out of the near 10 million free-to-play users gauged across a number of brands and games in mobile gaming, DeltaDNA discovered that only 10% of FPS mobile gamers were female. And in total, only 25% of users engaged in action-oriented games were female.
More competitive games like Call of Duty have an even lower percentage of female players, with the last recorded numbers being at around 8%.
The data seems to consistently suggest that a small percentage of females do engage in hardcore gaming. In this case, since Fortnite bolsters 125 million registered users, this brings the 16.31% total to 20 million. It’s not a number to scoff at but also not something indicative of any endemic shift in the core gaming sector.
There’s still 105 million male players that make up the majority of Fortnite’s playerbase. Ignoring this to focus solely on the 16.31% would be financial suicide.
Typically women have made up much smaller portions of the hardcore gaming sector, citing a lack of interest in hardcore competitive gaming. In fact, the New World Notes article even cites an example of a female gamer who made identical statements about why she prefers Fortnite, and it’s not for the competitive aspects. YouTube streamer Alicia Chenaux told New World Notes…
“I usually play Fortnite with friends, so I really enjoy the social aspect of it. I also love that it seems more casual. It usually doesn’t matter, whether I’m running solo or running with my squad, if we die or don’t get the highest kill count. It’s just fun, and once that round is over, it’s on to the next.”
This fits into Quantic Foundry’s data indicating that majority of the women from their survey of 250,000 gamers noted that they preferred fantasy and completion as opposed to the competition and destruction that most male gamers seek out. It’s just common sense biology that the differences in genders would lead the two down different paths in what they seek out in entertainment, as indicated in the DeltaDNA report.
This data also seems to tie into the 16.31% of females engaged with Fortnite, as Quantic Foundry noted that there’s also a 16% female demographic in the MMO/sci-fi genre.
Technically Fortnite would fit between the action-adventure genre and the MMO/sci-fi genre, where the numbers seem consistent with the 16% that SimilarWeb came up with.
But as New World Notes notes, most companies are focusing on the smaller percentage of the core gaming sector, believing that forcing women to go against their natural inclinations to play social and casual games (like Candy Crush or Kim Kardashian: Hollywood) will somehow bring them untold fortunes of an untapped market of core female players.
Realistically the Fortnite data is consistent with gaming trends and market research reports from years ago, and more than anything the numbers seem consistent with the average interests in these games from the female market demographic. Those who haven’t been keeping track of the numbers seem intent to skew them into telling a different story than what the numbers are actually.
As for companies like EA and DICE…we’ll see if their gamble to abandon their male audience will work out when Battlefield V launches this fall.
(Thanks for the news tip suchapain)