Female gamers are a growing force in the Asian games market according to a new study from Niko Partners. After surveying 7,548 gamers in 11 Asian markets, the firm found that 37% of the region’s gamers — defined as people who play at least one hour per month on any platform — are female.
Moreover, female gamers are expected to grow 11% per year, which is double the rate of new male gamers. As a result, their influence will play a more prominent role in shaping the games industry in Asia — one of the fastest growing gaming and esports markets in the world.
Understanding female gamers in Asia
While the number of female gamers in Asia is growing, this shift is not uniform across markets and platforms.
According to Niko Partners, Southeast Asian markets generally had a more even gender split than East Asian ones. The Philippines had the highest percentage of female gamers, while China and India had the lowest among the countries surveyed.
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Additionally, female gamers in Asia predominantly played on mobile, and most were considered casual players. However, the survey suggested that there are opportunities for developers and publishers across all platforms because PC and consoles have room to grow. Similarly, esports engagement — competing, watching esports or playing esports titles — is on the rise among Gen Z female gamers in Asia.
While the number of female gamers will grow, there are opportunities to increase monetization. Currently, they account for 23.5% of total revenue in Asian markets — disproportionately less than their male counterparts currently. However, this relative percentage of revenue has the potential to more than double in size over the next few years.
“We’re excited to see this latest research report from Niko Partners, the rapid growth of female gamers in Asia and hope that this trend will expand around the globe,” said Madeline Di Nonno, president and CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “With female gamers accounting for nearly 25% of total revenue for the Asian market there is a not only a social imperative, but a business imperative to create more inclusive storytelling and improve how female characters are portrayed in games.”
Gaming companies that can effectively convert female players into payers will help future-proof their earnings. There are several options for publishers and developers to reach out and build their female audience.
“We are seeing rising awareness on the benefits of incorporating a female-friendly approach to game development and marketing strategies,” said Lisa Hanson, CEO and founder of Niko Partners. “Games should embrace all genders. Inclusivity provides an opportunity to capitalize on the growing number of female gamers.”
According to the survey, the majority of gamers in Asia were dissatisfied with how women are portrayed in games. Notably, both male and female gamers shared this opinion — there was no statistically significant difference in how these groups responded. Per the data, Niko Partners recommends that publishers and developers add more diverse options for female avatars and characters. Additionally, the respondents supported community wide calls for less gender discrimination and negative online interactions.
Publishers and developers should also consider supporting female perspectives in-house. “Companies seeking to enter or expand in the Asian market should consider hiring women that can help shape future game titles, create marketing campaigns, and influence the portrayal of women in video games,” Hanson added.
Finally, certain publishers and developers might want to consider fostering female esports engagement to boost revenue. According to the data, female gamers in Asia that engaged with esports were significantly more likely to spend on games. As an added bonus, this group also spent more time playing compared to the typical gamer.
For more information on female gamers in Asia, Niko Partner’s full 2023 report is available now.
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