Hey remember how girls are supposed to think that video games are gross and totally don’t belong in your hobby, or whatever? Yeah, no. We make up 48% of all “gamers,” according to the Entertainment Software Association—which makes us a larger demographic than teenage boys. So, guess you’d better get used to us.
This new data, which is based on a survey of 2,200 U.S. households, marks a significant jump from the 40% reported back in 2010. It also suggests that women above the age of 18 make up 36% of the gaming population, whereas boys under the age of 18 only make up 17%. This is especially significant given that most mainstream portrayals of video games in the media make the assumption that teenage boys are the most sought-after group of people by mainstream game developers.
Of course, that’s not necessarily true, and the true median age for video game purchasers is actually 35—which makes sense, when you consider how much console games in particular cost nowadays. But! The study also found that of the people who purchase video games, the gender balance is split exactly down the middle: 50% men and 50% women.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we’ve automatically achieved equality just because the ratio of male players to female players (which doesn’t account for non-binary yet again, sigh) is a little more even: when it comes to what’s actually in the video games, people who aren’t scruffy white guys still feel the lack of fair and non-exploitative representation.
“I’ve definitely seen portrayals of women in games, where I’m like, what, are you kidding me?” Abbie Heppe, a community manager for the popular game Titanfall, told the Wall Street Journal. But she also noted that the team at Respawn Entertainment was “very conscious to make sure that the female pilots are as cool as male pilots. If they would be wearing bikinis, that would be weird, because they are fighting on a battlefield.”
If you’re curious about what else the ESA uncovered with their research, you can check out their full sales, demographic, and usage data here.