A look at the world of women and mobile gaming.
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The Landscape

There’s been lots of conversation within the gaming community about gender and inclusivity, but little research about how these issues impact the mobile space.

Google Play partnered with gaming intelligence provider Newzoo on a quantitative study to understand the experiences and perceptions of female players in the US, and worked with dozens of game makers, critics, players and academics to contextualize our findings.

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Our Commitments

Google Play believes that mobile gaming has the potential to inspire creativity, build connections between people, and serve as a gateway to new worlds and passions. There’s an opportunity to make mobile gaming more diverse, more inclusive, and more engaging so all players can fully experience these benefits.

Our mission is to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators. To do this, we’re committed to improving gender diversity in three areas of the mobile gaming world. While moving the needle won’t be easy, we are determined to keep working toward long-term change.

Promote

Diversity In and
Of Mobile Gaming

Today, games with male themes and characters monopolize the spotlight. We envision a future full of unique, inclusive stories to play. Here are some of the steps we are taking to help make this future a reality.

Celebrate

The Full Spectrum of Female
Players and Experiences.

Even though 65% of US women play mobile games, there’s a pervasive belief that most players are men, and that when women do play, they’re only interested in one type of game.

We aim to right misconceptions by recognizing the full spectrum of interests, experiences and play styles of women who play, as well as the diversity of players.

Empower

The Next Generation
of Game-Makers

Today, women are significantly underrepresented in the gaming industry, and in technology on the whole.

To combat this gender gap, it’s critical to get girls excited about gaming and aware of future possibilities in these fields. That’s why we’re committed to creating more opportunities for young women to learn about and get involved in game-making.

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Why we play:

The world of women and mobile gaming

There’s been little research on gender and inclusivity in the mobile gaming space.

Google Play wanted to learn how welcoming mobile gaming really is for everyone.

We partnered with Newzoo on a study to gain a better understanding of female mobile gamers in the US.

We hope this can be the start of an important conversation for women and other underrepresented communities.

Women
are Gaming in Unprecedented Numbers

65%

of women aged 10-65 play mobile games

?

Half of
mobile gamers
are women

Mobile is Democratizing Gaming

38%

of men

prefer mobile
over other platforms

How often do
women play?

38%

of men

43%

of women

play 5 times per week or more
Where do
women play?
at home
the bathroom
in bed
Why do
women play?
restful moment
stress reliever
entertainment
How do they feel
when they play?

60%

say that it
makes them
feel good.

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While many assume more men than women play games, this is no longer the case for mobile.

With smartphones it's now possible to play nearly anywhere at any time.

More smartphones
means more women
are playing.

 

smartphone
penetration1

 

women
who play2

2011
The World of Mobile Games Still isn’t Wholly Inclusive.
Even our own Google Play Store features more male-identified characters than female ones.
Google Play’s top 100 grossing games feature 44% more male characters than female characters in the app icon. 4
The majority of women who play mobile games think that 30% or fewer of these games are made for women.
There’s Evidence of Systematic Gender Bias in Gameplay
"I would spend more time playing mobile games if I knew I was playing with or against players of my own gender”
This disparity is even greater among those who play 10+ hours/week.
vs 10% of women
When Men Prefer to Game Only with Each Other, Female Players May Feel Less Welcome
Half of female PC and console gamers have concealed their gender to other players. 5
Women are Underrepresented in the Gaming Industry
The industry’s lack of diversity limits its ability to build games that appeal to a wide and diverse audience.
Only 23% of women and 40% of men feel that there is equal treatment and opportunity in the game industry.7

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Women are less likely to...

Gender Bias Has A Negative Impact On The Women Who Play

Women are gaming more
than ever
, but are less likely than men to embrace their play.

Explore a variety
of genres

The majority of women play
2 or fewer genres. The majority of
men play 3 or more.

Communicate
about play with friends

Invest
in mobile gaming

Value their
investment

Identify as gamers

"I think that women just don't feel that the space is meant for them. They might think that one small part is meant for them. But not all of it."

­—Shira Chess, author of Ready Player Two:
Women Gamers and Designed Identity
The Road Ahead
We believe there’s an opportunity to make mobile gaming more diverse, inclusive, and engaging.
Our mission is to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators.
"It’s incredibly hopeful that women are playing games even when they don’t see themselves represented. Imagine if we changed that - it would be like taking down a dam.”
- Jessica Hammer, Assistant Professor at the HCII/ETC at CMU
COMMITMENT #1
Promote Diversity in (and of) Games
We’re shining a spotlight on strong female characters in the Google Play Store’s Indie Corner.
We created Infinite Deviation: Games so emerging game-makers can bring more inclusive stories to life.
COMMITMENT #2
Celebrate the Full Spectrum of Female Players and Experiences
By highlighting the diversity of gaming interests and experiences of female players, we can fight the perception that gaming is just for men.
We’re spreading the word that (nearly) everybody plays and have more efforts planned to continue this mission.
COMMITMENT #3
Empower the Next Generation of Game-Makers
It’s critical to get girls excited and aware of their future possibilities in gaming and tech.
We’re partnering with Girls Make Games to create opportunities for girls to envision, design and develop mobile games.
Through Google’s Made With Code, we’re teaching teen girls to develop games and more through code.
Going forward, we’ll continue to build and scale programs for skills development, career opportunities, and mentorship.
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