Female Gamers Study 2023:
Data & Insight

The fifth annual Bryter Female Gamer
Study gathers the thoughts and feelings of
1,500 female gamers on topics like
representation, toxicity, abuse and more.


Year on year, the number of girls and women attracted to gaming has been increasing; with females now making up almost half of the gaming population. In a space that was long thought to be dominated by men – both in terms of players and creators - what does this mean?

The Bryter Annual Female Gamers Study looks to explore the behaviours and experiences of female gamers in order to better understand the wider gamer audience and what this means for game development.


What is the Bryter Female Gamer Survey?

Bryter’s Annual Female Gamers Study has been running for five years, tracking gaming behaviours and experiences over time. Each year, the study has evolved to include new markets, new demographics and new content areas, although the essence of the study has remained the same; to understand the half of the gamer population that has long been overlooked - women.

Throughout the years of this study, we have tracked the increasing popularity of online multiplayers, and of streaming and eSports. It also highlights the worrying increase in toxicity across players, and the detrimental effects this has on the gameplay experience. In 2020, the study branched out to include male gamers, enabling interesting comparison across gender, particularly on the topic of toxicity.

In this 2022 study, conducted in March 2022, we surveyed 1,500 female gamers, spread evenly across the US, UK and China. We targeted a broad sample of gamers; aged 16+ and playing on console or gaming PC/laptop at least monthly. As in previous years, content explored how women game, what they play and what motivates them. It also included further exploration of the toxicity issue, including players’ perceptions of reporting and dealing with instances of toxic behaviour.

Key takeaways

  • This is the fifth edition of the Bryter Female Gamer Study
  • We surveyed 1,500 female gamers, spread evenly across the US, UK and China
  • The study explores the behaviours and experiences of female gamers in order to better understand the wider gamer audience and what this means for game development


There are many stereotypes or preconceptions around women gamers and how they play – often thought to only play simple or so-called ‘cosy’ games such as Candy Crush, Mario or Animal Crossing – but this is only part of the story. Firstly, yes, many female gamers do play these games, but this doesn’t make them any less of a gamer. Secondly, female gamers play a whole array of games, including the likes of Call of Duty and other fast-paced action titles.

In Bryter’s 2020 study, behaviours were compared across males and females. Women were seen to spend less time gaming than men, but nevertheless, still 8 hours per week on average (versus 12 hours amongst men). In 2022, this number increased to 11-12 hours per week amongst women, with 45% citing that gaming is an important part of their life. 


Despite the time and meaning they give to gaming, around 1 in 4 women don’t identify as a ‘real gamer’. This reluctance is stronger amongst women than men (as we saw in our 2020 study) - perhaps due to stigmas attached to early stereotypes of gamers, or more likely, not feeling worthy of the title, being made to feel they don’t play ‘real’ games or don’t play long or intensely enough.

Perhaps these judgments are partly why females are more likely to play solo, offline, while males play more online multiplayers. That said,, the popularity of online multiplayers has increased significantly over the last couple of years, from around half of women playing online regularly, to now 3 in 4.

It seems what and why people play are actually quite similar across gender. In terms of favourite genres Action-Adventure and Shooters are in the top 3 for men and women, although females do also over-index for Puzzle, Simulation and Platformers.


When it comes to why people play, again there are many similarities across the top motivations; challenge, attractive visuals, progression, completing all missions and exploration coming out on top for both men and women.  However, where we do see a contrast is in the social side of gaming once again – women are less likely to be motivated by competitive or co-op gameplay compared to men, but perhaps this is driven by the different treatment men and women experience in online games.

However much we might think we know about an audience, this is often just scratching the surface. At Bryter, we often conduct concept testing and audience understanding pieces, in order to identify who the primary and opportunity audiences are and how to engage with them. This is vital during the development stage of a new game, so that insights can help inform the direction of the game and what areas should be prioritised. 

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Key takeaways

  • 45% of females surveyed say that gaming is an important part of their life
  • Women spend an average of 11-12 hours per week gaming
  • 3 in 4 women surveyed play online regularly


Toxicity is a widespread problem in gaming, affecting all types of gamers, although it tends to be more ‘aggressive’ towards minority groups (and yes, although females make up half of the world’s population, and close to half of the gamer population, they are included as a ‘minority group’ here).

In Bryter’s 2020 study, we examined the differences in toxicity between men and women and somewhat surprisingly found that the proportion of gamers who had experienced toxicity was equal across men and women. However, as we explored further, we began to see the differences between the types of experiences. While men predominantly cited experiencing verbal abuse – from general abusive language to comments about skill, age, race, or sexual orientation – women additionally described a variety of more aggressive and threatening behaviours towards them, from sexist comments and being sent inappropriate pictures, to dark threats of stalking, violence and rape.


Often the reaction to this is to leave the game in order to escape the toxicity, however, it doesn’t always end there; women also cited instances of being stalked and pestered on other online platforms…with some even being faced with the threat of stalking in real life.    

Unfortunately Bryter’s study has shown a steady increase in toxicity over the years, hitting an all time high in 2022, with 72% of female gamers claiming they had experienced toxicity. This is not without significant consequences; many female gamers either restrict their gameplay experience by turning off voice chat or hiding their gender, or sometimes by ceasing to play the games they love altogether.


The majority of women do not feel there are adequate processes in place to deal with toxicity, which leads to very few players reporting such instances. It is often felt that report functions are unclear or difficult to use, and even when instances are reported, there seems to be a lack of follow-up communication/ consequence. Sometimes it even comes back to fear, fear that the perpetrator will find out who reported them.

Our research shows the importance of understanding the player experience – across all players - and how it can impact long-term engagement. On the toxicity front in particular, highlighting the effect it is having on players’ experience and the importance of giving players the tools to manage their own player experience. Also looking at the broader picture of general player experience and understanding how players play, and what motivates them to keep playing.

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Key takeaways

  • 72% of female gamers say they have experienced toxicity
  • Some women report instances of being stalked and approached on other platforms, even after quitting a game


Another key factor in maintaining player engagement and growing the player base, is representation; within a game, but also outside of the game.

Representation within games: characters play a significant part in how invested players are with a game or franchise. When players have a character they can relate to, or whose back story they want to explore further, they are more likely to show stronger, long-term engagement.

 Traditionally, character diversity has been rather limited in video games; with the focus previously on attracting a younger male audience, lead protagonists were typically muscular alpha males, perhaps featuring a female support act, often oversexualized and/or playing the stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’.

However, things are slowly starting to change. Take Lara Croft as an example - the classic 90s icon with tiny hotpants, miniature waist and out of proportion chest – finally transformed in 2012 into a more realistic but also relatable and aspirational lead protagonist.

The number of female characters in video games has also slowly been increasing, however, the majority of female gamers still feel that female characters are oversexualized. It isn’t just a case of adding a token female; players want to see strong characters with meaningful roles. Perhaps there is still some fear that a game with a solo female protagonist will not be successful but take The Last of Us as evidence to the contrary - a game showcasing non-stereotypical characters, such as Ellie and Abby, still reaching record sales and winning multiple awards.


Representation in the industry: consumers are more aware of the brands they are purchasing from and the reputation or values they hold, in turn influencing their decisions. This also applies to the gaming industry, where conversations around employee diversity and toxic working environments have generated widespread conversation online in recent years.

Bryter’s female gamers survey has seen a positive trend in perceptions of female representation in the industry over the last five years, nonetheless, it remains at a minority (just 36%) feeling that women are well represented.


In summary, the importance of representation within games cannot be underestimated. At Bryter, we help our clients with character development; testing character art designs and backstories throughout the development process to gain valuable feedback from the players themselves.

Key takeaways

  • Just 36% of women surveyed feel that women are well represented in the gaming industry
  • The majority of female gamers still believe that female characters are oversexualized

Mobile gaming

Mobile gaming is continuing to grow at a significant rate, with the number of mobile gamers worldwide reaching about 3 billion. Mobile gaming has developed significantly over recent years. While in the past, it predominately consisted of casual puzzle games, it now includes more technically advanced and immersive games. Nowadays, gamers can play intense, high-quality games on a more accessible and convenient platform than ever before.

Looking at our Female Gamers 2022 data, it seems that China have embraced the evolution of mobile gaming the most. We see stark differences in the behaviours of Chinese gamers compared to UK & US gamers…

Mobile gaming growing into a more immersive experience

Mobile gaming seems to be taken more seriously in China than the US/UK, so much so that half of Chinese gamers would base their next smartphone purchase on the device’s gaming capabilities. This is likely driven by their strong desire for an immersive experience, in fact, they rank their top motivation for playing mobile games as Immersion. Players want an experience on mobile that is similar to PC/console, including the ability to explore the game world freely and get to know characters in detail as they progress.


This is also reflected in the types of games that Chinese female gamers play on mobile. These games mirror their favourite genres on PC and console, including a variety of RPGs. In addition, Chinese players are more likely to seek out franchises that they have already played on PC or console, expecting a similar gameplay experience on mobile.

Contrastingly, mobile gamers in the US/UK are still much more ‘casual,’ with the most popular genres being Puzzle, Match3, Quiz and Arcade. Although the games they play are casual in terms of mechanics and build, players in the US and UK still wish to be challenged through progressive levels, with the ability to measure their success through high scores and leaderboards.


Mobile as a social experience 

In China, mobile gamers are a lot more likely to seek social experiences on mobile; their number one individual motivation is to play with others online. This social desire is reflective of PC and console gaming in China, where the majority of gamers actually play multiplayers more than they do solo.

The popularity of mobile multiplayers in China is evident in the success of Honor of Kings, a 5v5 MOBA game. Launched originally in Asia in 2015, by 2021, the game had accumulated over $10 billion in revenue, typically reaching around 100 million daily active users.   

Mobile games make up over half of gaming revenue

Although the majority of gaming may happen on PC or console, over half of gaming’s revenue actually comes from mobile games, and most of that is from free-to-play games.  Players don’t have to commit to an upfront cost, but in fact, can end up spending significantly more throughout their gameplay cycle through small in-app purchases (IAPs). 

China is one of the highest spending markets in terms of IAPs, with over 90% of female gamers in China spending at least $5 per month, compared to just 54% in the US and 42% in the UK. While US gamers spend on average $58 per month, Chinese gamers spend the equivalent of around $120 (c. 870 Yuan).

Standing out in a crowded and fast-moving market

Mobile games typically are much quicker to develop than PC/console games and also require less cost investment, resulting in a very crowded marketplace. Players now have access to around 1 million different games on the App Store, so competition is fierce. Not only can players download a new game in a few clicks, but they can also delete that same game very easily if it doesn’t live up to their expectations. This is why understanding key audiences and how to maximize the opportunities for in-app spending is vital in ensuring a mobile game is successful.

At Bryter, we help developers across the mobile gaming sector to understand their target audience and position their games in a way that will maximise interest and engagement.

Key takeaways

  • Mobile games account for more than 50% of all gaming revenue
  • Half of Chinese gamers say they would base their next smartphone purchase on the device’s gaming capabilities.
  • 90% of female gamers in China spend at least $5 per month on in-app purchases, compared to 54% in the US and 42% in the UK

Streaming & eSports

The popularity of gaming is increasing across the board. There are more gamers globally than ever before, and there are so many ways that gamers can now enjoy their hobby instantly – alongside the traditional activity of playing a game on a console or PC at home, you can now play with over players all over the world, or even watch other people play. 

Is streaming others becoming more fun than playing yourself?

Streaming and eSports is now thought to be a billion-dollar business – Statista data values the global eSports market at just over $1.38 billion in 2022, while forecasting it to grow to as much as $1.87 billion in 20252. 

One of the biggest streamers of all time is xQcOW (also named Felix Lengyel), whose streams have been watched for a total of 610 million hours. The most viewed single event was from Spanish streamer Ibai, who managed to break the Twitch record and draw in over 3.3 million concurrent viewers for his boxing event including other well-known content creators.

However, if we look at the top streamers on Twitch, we start to see a pattern: there is a notable lack of women. Of the top 10 streamers (based on number of followers, Nov 2022), just one is a woman – Pokimane. But who knows how long Pokimane will remain in this top 10, as in July, she decided to take a break and stream less.

It doesn’t appear to be a question of engagement. In Bryter’s Female Gamers Study, we have seen a significant increase in streaming patterns amongst women gamers over the last few years. In 2022, 2-in-3 US & UK gamers claimed to stream other gamers each week (up from just 1-in-4 in 2019) and in China, streaming is even more commonplace, with nearly all women gamers streaming others regularly.


Streaming others is often found by players to be just as fun as playing themselves, if not more. In fact, in the UK & US, the main motivation for streaming is ‘for pure entertainment’ (62%), while on Twitch, the ‘Just chatting’ category is more popular than any individual game category.

Another key reason players stream is to learn tips and tricks in order to progress or play better (59%). In China, players are more likely to see streaming as a social event, being more motivated by the social interaction and a sense of community.

Why are there fewer female streamers?

But while watching others stream is getting more and more popular, the percentage of female gamers who stream themselves online is hardly moving in the same direction. In 2022, only around 1-in-4 women gamers streamed themselves – a decrease from 1-in-3 in 2021. It’s not hard to see why this might be the case. Although there is an appetite for more female streamers (over half agree that there aren’t enough women gamers streaming online), a significant number – around 4-in-10 – say that they are put off of streaming themselves because of the toxicity they have seen online.


Diversity of eSports doesn’t reflect the diversity of the overall gamer audience

A similar pattern continues in the world of eSports. Although the popularity of eSports events is increasing amongst women gamers, there are clearly some barriers to further engagement. Half of women gamers feel that there is a lack of representation of women gamers in eSports, with very few professional teams including women. 1 in 3 women gamers even feel intimidated attending an eSports event as a spectator, often due to experiencing discrimination or abuse while playing games online, or at face to face gaming events, such as eSports tournaments.


Lack of support for women gamers

While there does appear to be more mixed or women-only eSports teams emerging, half of women gamers still feel the industry isn’t doing enough to encourage and support women gamers in eSports. Perhaps this is not surprising given the big pay disparity between men and women in eSports; Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, a Canadian Starcraft II player, is recognised as the highest-paid female pro gamer in the world (also ranked within the top 500 players worldwide), with estimated overall earnings of around $300,000 from her career. Now let’s compare this to Pierce “Gunless” Hillman, a Canadian Call of Duty WWII player, who has earned just under $300,000 from his seven years in the industry. While their respective earnings are almost identical, Gunless is only the 869th highest-paid male eSports player.

Women make up half of the gamer population but are massively underrepresented in streaming and eSports, both as spectators and creators/players. Perhaps tackling the discrimination and lack of diversity in eSports and streaming, to drive a more welcoming and supportive environment, will help to encourage more women gamers into these spaces. 

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Key takeaways

  • Just one female makes up the top 10 Twitch streamers
  • 4-in-10 female gamers are put off from streaming themselves because of the toxicity they have seen online
  • A third of female gamers would feel intimidated attending a live eSports tournament


The gaming population has transformed significantly over recent years, into a much more diverse audience with varying playstyles, motivations and needs. Understanding who the player is and what motivates them is vital throughout the development process and beyond, informing design and strategy. Having a clear vision of the core audience and their needs can act as an anchor throughout development, helping to shape visual style, mechanics and positioning. 

At Bryter, we combine market knowledge with vast experience across platforms and genres to help clients across the gaming sector; from early concept testing and market sizing, to playtesting, and later post-launch evaluation, brand equity and player understanding.

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