Female gamers are on the rise in the ‘world capital of gaming’
The number of women playing video games in Asia is growing at a faster rate than their male rivals, according to the latest research.
Women are leveling the playing field in all key Asian markets, including China, India and Japan.
The female video game community grew 19% last year, according to data commissioned by Google.
Asia is considered the world capital of video games, accounting for 48% of total world game revenue.
“Among the millions of female players who join the ranks every year, women have been a great catalyst for growth,” said Rohini Bhushan, at Google Asia Pacific.
There are a number of factors that are contributing to this increase, with plots that become more inclusive and connectivity that improves across the region.
For 2019, the number of female players has grown to 38% of the global gaming population of 1.33 billion, according to Google who collaborated with market researchers Niko Partners.
But for Asia, the percentage of female players is much higher. In China, they now represent 45%, while for South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia the percentage is 40%.
The region has seen particularly strong growth in gamers who use cell phones.
“More and more female gamers are drawn to the fun, flexibility and freedom that mobile gaming offers. This is especially true in Asia, where mobile phones are the primary Internet-enabled device for many people,” said Matt Brocklehurst, head of apps, partnerships and platform marketing, Google Asia Pacific.
The game has become extremely profitable, not only for companies like EA and Activision Blizzard that make the games, but also for the best e-sports players: competitive online games.
The best female e-sports players have earned over $ 20 million (£ 16 million) through a combination of sponsorships, cash prizes and sponsorships.
They are now seen as key influencers with millions of followers watching them play online via live streaming.
In Asia, entire teams and leagues made up of female players are having an impact on the world stage, including the Female Esports League, which organizes team events across Southeast Asia.
25-year-old professional gamer Amanda Lim entered online video games as a way to bond with her brother and uncle. “It was then that I fell in love with the game. The players are less known, but I think it will change over time as many of us start playing. We can be as strong as the males.”
Lim plays for an all-female team called We.Baeters, which is widespread in Malaysia and Singapore.
“Not the demographic target”
Former pro player Reia Ayunan typically played online multiplayer role-playing games (MMORPGs) like Battle Royale for about six hours a day.
His live stream was made up of viewers from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
He noticed multiple female players streaming online. “While there are some championships working towards equality in the professional scene, the company still assumes that women / girls don’t like playing video games, so we are not the demographic target of the gaming industry.”
As a professional player, she earned $ 4,000 (£ 2,300; $ 2,800) per month, primarily from sponsors. She was recently hired by the game creator Ubisoft and now produces game content aimed at attracting more women.
Valerie Ong, a 19-year-old student lives in Singapore and plays between three and seven hours a day, depending on whether she is at school or on a break.
She started playing Call of Duty (CoD) after going to support her best friend in a national competition earlier this year. “It was a real cure-all because it was heavily dominated by men and my friend was actually the only girl who competed.
“It was really nice and inspiring to see her play as she was able to beat many of her opponents and bring her team into many games.”
The social aspect also appeals to Valerie as players can play with others from all over the world. “I play with other people online, which makes it a lot of fun as we can joke with each other while playing,” he added.
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the rise of female players as many have been harassed online. “I was turned into a meme and even a victim of online sexual harassment. Once you become public and you realize that there will always be people who hate you, finding flaws and mistakes. The gaming community can be very toxic,” added Ayunan.
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