Every year, millions of men and women flood through game systems around the world, keen to play the latest and greatest online games. A 2016 study conducted by 888.com found a relatively even split between male and female online gamers in the United Kingdom. It’s clear both men and women enjoy the thrill of gaming, but are there differences in the way we experience this social pastime? Take a closer look at how gender impacts gaming behavior.

Women Play Less Than Men

Women seem to be more conservative gamers than men, according to preliminary research from Australia. A gaming industry insider told Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald that women spent “less than a quarter of what male customers spend” on online and video games.

Perhaps because of their relatively small spending, which indicates a lack of addiction, preliminary studies say that women are embracing online gaming more now than ever before. More gaming advertising within Australia featuring female protagonists may also be normalizing gaming for Aussie women.

“It’s something they do as part of a night out with friends,” explained Deakin University associate professor, Samantha Thomas.

Men and Women Drawn to Different Gaming Pursuits

It seems the type of gaming gamers enjoy most may also be linked to gender.

Research found that 73 percent of men play action games in the month prior to research. While the number of women enjoying action gaming is on the rise, roughly 40 percent of women play action games in the same period. Women were much more likely to enjoy MMORPG, with just under 60 percent playing this type of online game. Just 28.65 percent men engaged with certain MMORPGs, making it only their third most common gaming activity.

There is a gender difference offline, too. Historically, casinos in the United States were male domains. Game designers were instructed to create games appealing to older men. On realizing women were spending more time in online games, designers focused more on more cartoony and less violent games. This suggests that women are more attracted to social games on Facebook, while men prefer more high action games like Online Shooters.

Women More Likely to Risk Less

The same conservativeness women show when playing games continues when they win big in game tournaments. Online gamers have been asked what they would do if they won a game tournament, and the website’s results show a significant gender divide. More than 72 percent of women said they’d stop playing after that, compared to just 61 percent of men. Just 9 percent of women would risk a championship already won, compared to 13 percent of male gamers determined to see how long their winning streak would last.

While both men and women enjoy gaming, our gender certainly plays a part in our experiences when playing online games.


  1. Might be most relevant on a “general population” level, but on an individual level, everyone has their own gaming behavior since every individual is different. I think where gender impacts gaming behavior has largely to do with how societies are structured, and it probably even varies country to country. I do wonder how gaming behavior would vary when comparing developed countries with an already-large gaming population (such as the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Great Britain) to developing countries with a growing gaming population.

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