Asian territories, with their vast populations and tech-forward markets, have etched a unique narrative in the world of gaming and esport.
And at the heart of this narrative is the growing influence of women, both as players and pivotal industry figures. Lisa Hanson, the CEO of Niko Partners, a firm specializing in game market intelligence in Asian markets, sheds light on the evolving role of women in the region's gaming scenario.
While the world races forward, embracing inclusivity and breaking barriers, the gaming industry in Asia is seeing an unprecedented influx of female gamers. Lisa observes, "We estimate that 37% of Asian gamers are females." However, this figure is notably affected by China and India's male-dominant gaming demographics. On the other hand, other Asian markets seem to be nearing a gender-balanced scenario among gamers.
Lisa draws attention to a pattern: A women's preference for mobile gaming. 97% of the surveyed female gamers are hooked onto their mobiles, while PC and console gaming lure 40% and 16% of them, respectively.
The age factor is interesting. Female gamers in Asia tend to be younger than their male counterparts. Lisa explains, "We are seeing younger generations of women more willing to adopt gaming than older generations." The magnetism of competitive esports-style games among young female gamers opens a new avenue, especially when targeting the emerging Gen Z and Gen Alpha market.
"The growth in our regions of coverage is significantly fuelled by women," says Lisa. Although they might play fewer hours and spend less than male gamers, the sheer potential they hold is enormous. Game developers should be astute, factoring in gameplay, styles, and genres that appeal to this demographic. The aim? Boosting female demand and engagement.
Lisa believes in reimagining corporate cultures and shaping gamer communities to prioritize diversity and gender equality. "Women need to feel safe as gamers, and as game company employees," she reiterates.
While gaming opens worlds of fantasy and adventure, it sometimes masks grim realities. The digital realm isn't immune to toxicity.
Niko's surveys paint a concerning picture. In China, 21.2% of female gamers faced harassment during their gameplay, while a slightly higher 22.7% encountered sexist or misogynistic attitudes. The SEA-6 survey in 2023 revealed even more alarming stats: 22.5% of female gamers faced harassment, 21.9% encountered misogynistic attitudes, and 30.7% dealt with negative attitudes specifically aimed at female gamers.
The long-term vision is clear: supporting female gamers, developers, and esports professionals is not just an ethical imperative but a sound business strategy. Lisa explains, "Achieving parity with the male gamer market for female gamers could more than double the current market size." With women making up 37% of Asia's games market in 2023, the prospects seem boundless.