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Women in the Gaming Industry: What is it really like?

We all know women characters in video games are often depicted with unrealistic features and revealing outfits. That is a topic in itself that needs debunking but for now, let’s discuss what it is like to be a female gamer. Many women can relate to watching their brothers, significant others, dads, or any male figure in their life spending hours upon hours playing video games with their “squad” of friends. The phrase “but the boys need me” has become viral in mainstream media when referencing “queuing up” in a game with friends. But what about the girls? Maybe there aren’t a lot of girls who game? Let’s take a closer look into female gaming statistics.

With a quick Google search, one might be fooled by the statistic of 48% of women have played video games from a survey given by Entertainment Software Association (ESA) in 2014. While the rise of female gamers is underway, we have not had a survey appropriately conducted that proved women represent 50% of the gaming industry. There are various ways one can look at gamer statistics. You could look at the stats of people who consider themselves “core” gamers versus more “casual” which are both different than “professional” gamers. Or you could look at statistics that correlate to specific genres of gaming. Many argue that studies should not bundle gamers across platforms and genres. There are surveys, such as the Gamer Motivation Profile, that have tried to collect data on which genres are more popular among women. The takeaway from these comes as no surprise showing that women play more games like Sims than tactical shooter games. This makes me sad because tactical shooter games have captured my heart.

A stereotypical male can log onto a game and hang out with his friends for hours chatting and catching up on life while trying to get some W’s. This social interaction has become a staple leisure pastime that is wrapped up in the phenomenon known as “Saturdays are for the boys.” BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GIRLS? How come girls can coordinate gatherings every week to watch the infamous series, “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” but many won’t bother hanging out in discord while they game? One would think with how much women love to multitask and “chit-chat” this social ritual would be dominated by women. This is in no way to bash anyone who watches ABC shows religiously because I, myself, partake in such guilty pleasures as well. But hearing a female voice when solo-queuing in first-person shooters games is a rare occurrence. And it is even rarer for said female to be a “top-fragger” (aka “cracked” …aka really good). Not only is it hard to find fellow female gamers in the tactical shooter game world but dealing with the male dominant community while playing tells a whole other narrative.

“Hey guys, what’s up,” is all it takes for me to receive some intense feedback from my teammates when solo-queuing. As soon as people hear my traditional-sounding female voice, it is usually met with outbursts such as “Oooooh we got a gamer girl,” or “Dang honey you sound hot, you looking for a simp?” There is also this immediate pressure of performing well in the game because it is assumed you represent every female gamer’s skill. With that said, even if a girl did “pop-off,” her skill is questioned and some even assume she “had her boyfriend play for her.” I made it a point to have my gaming username a female name so when the other teams lose to me, they know they lost to a girl. This definitely sparks some heated game chat sometimes when I “pop-off” myself, which in fairness, is not as often as I would like. Yet, social media depicts a fantasy of the “perfect girlfriend” as one that can casually pick up a controller and sh*t on kids. So, which is it, guys? You want a girl that can game or no? If you do, then why make it such a toxic environment to a point where most girls don’t want to put in the work to get past the beginner threshold of learning a game? I’ve seen guys flex pics of their girlfriends wearing a gaming headset saying, “my girl > your girl” when in reality she posts on her story saying, “no idea what I’m doing…” Guys want to invite girls to the gaming world but can’t handle when we actually show up.

That rant had a lot of generalizations in it and does not reflect all guys or girls in the gaming community, but it is a reality for so many women. I know and play with many respectable guys that appreciate my gameplay and we have a great time. We need to normalize women in the gaming industry. Why can’t there be a group of moms that “squad up” after they put their kids down and talk about all the dumb sh*t their kids did that day? Or even a group of teenage girls hoping on discord while they play a few rounds of Valorant and talk about how hot their substitute teacher was in math class? Maybe I’m only one of a few that have dreams of a society like this but there is a growing presence in the female gaming community which leads me to believe I’m not alone. There are women breaking down boundaries and creating some pretty incredible online communities.

So here is your call to action. Ladies, if you haven’t tried playing video games, give it a shot! If you have, then keep grinding. Fellas, just chill. Don’t freak out if you get a girl in your game but above all else, be respectful. Female gamers got to stick together because we aren’t going anywhere.

Stay Marvelous,


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The Gaming Industry Rise: Longtime Coming Recap for the Non-Gamers

2020 has been quite the year for everyone. The pandemic has brought on frustration, stress, uncertainty, and much more for most. But along with the chaos this year, some positives can be found. Adaptation, innovation, and creativity can be seen around the world especially, in the gaming industry. It makes sense with the recent switch to remote work across the world that the gaming industry would thrive even more. People are home and need to be entertained. Gaming is one of the easiest ways to fill that need while staying safe and practicing social distancing.

How has the gaming industry adapted? Well for starters, Twitch is not the only streaming platform worth considering anymore. Facebook Gaming launched its platform in April this year and was shortly followed by YouTube Gaming which launched in August 2020. Even Twitch Prime was relaunched and rebranded as Prime Gaming in August this year as well. It is not a coincidence Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube all decided it was worth getting “their piece of the pie” in gaming. Why not, right? No one knows what the future holds but any products or services that can be used at home seem to be a great place to invest.

The pandemic has not been the only reason gaming has become more “mainstream” recently. To be honest, it has been a long time coming. When most Baby Boomers think of video games a combination of arcade and Nintendo games come to mind such as Pac-Man, Mario Kart, and Donkey Kong. While those are all classics, times have evolved. It can be hard to explain to the non-gamer how advanced games are today besides the vastly improved graphics. There are a lot of games today that have different characters, with various abilities, working with multiple team members trying to accomplish a goal. AKA: LOTS of moving pieces. And to top it off, having precise aim is key to being competitive in any way. To be competitive in any first-person shooter (FPS) or Battle Royale game these days, requires hours and hours of practice and for many, it can be a full-time job. A naturally coordinated person will not succeed in the industry by merely picking up a controller or sitting down at a PC. Fast reflexes, exact aim, clear communication, and a great gameplay mindset are just the basic requirements to reach a level where one is qualifying for tournaments. Some of these tournaments’ cash prizes are worth the grind though.

However, someone might feel about the game, Fortnite, they cannot deny this game played a key role in making gaming more appealing to the non-gamer world in the past 3 years. Fortnite Battle Royale launched in 2017 made by Epic Games but beyond having a game that went viral, they invested over $100 million in cash prizes in 2019 for tournament winnings. While other games such as Dota, Counterstrike, and League of Legends have given out a lot of prize money as well, those winnings have been spread across a much bigger timeline and from thousands of tournaments. Fortnite caught the attention of younger viewers and inspired a whole new generation to join the gaming community. Suddenly, “Cinderella” stories were becoming a reality for kids like Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who at 16 years old won $3 million at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019. For comparison, having such high single tournament winnings has put gaming on the same financial level as professional tennis players winning the U.S. Open.

Don’t think becoming that successful in video game tournaments sounds realistic? Well becoming a content creator on streaming platforms does not require someone to be the best at the game or even top 100 for them to become a full-time gamer. Advancements in technology have allowed the gaming community to connect and interact on a whole new level. It is no longer a far cry for a kid to want to grow up to become a professional video game streamer and be significantly more financially successful than their parents. Whether you are as big as Ninja, who is raking in at LEAST hundreds of thousands a month from streaming, or you are still growing your community on your streaming platform trying to “make it” there is a place for everyone. Some have goals of financial freedom when they stream, while others are trying to find people to hang out with while they play games they enjoy. The possibilities are endless.

While the industry has been around for quite some time, in the past 5 years we are starting to see it become more accepted by the general population. With some of the largest companies in the world investing in the gaming industry, cash prizes soaring, and viewer counts exploding; gaming is here to stay.

Stay Marvelous,