Online gaming, once dominated by male players, is witnessing a significant shift in demographics as more women in India are embracing the virtual world of gaming. According to the ‘State of India Gaming Report 2022,’ a study on gaming trends, women are now spending more time on average on online games than their male counterparts. Women are interested in a range of gameplay, from strategy-oriented ones like the popular ludo game and chess to adventurous ones like Assasin’s Creed.
We had the opportunity to speak with women gamers who shared their experiences and insights into this evolving landscape. They highlighted the changing societal attitudes as a major catalyst behind the increasing participation of women in gaming. The diminishing stereotypes and a more accepting environment have encouraged women to explore their interests in gaming, resulting in a rise in their representation. Moreover, the visibility of women in the gaming industry, be it as developers, streamers, or professional gamers, has inspired and empowered female gamers, breaking down gender biases and fostering a sense of inclusivity. Additionally, the accessibility of smartphones and affordable internet has made gaming, including popular thrilling call break game, more readily available, enabling women from various backgrounds and regions to engage with games on their own terms.
Changing societal attitudes
Traditionally, gaming was perceived as a predominantly male domain, with limited space for women to engage. “Society’s perception of women in gaming has come a long way in the past few years,” reflects Sneha Bajaj, an ardent game enthusiast. “I vividly remember being told by my relatives five years ago that, as a girl, I should not be gaming and should instead play with dolls or engage in more ‘feminine’ activities. However, times have changed, and so have their attitudes. Today, those same relatives are not only purchasing games for their own daughters but also seeking my input and advice on gaming. It’s incredible to witness this shift, where women are now recognized for their skills and passion in the gaming world. It shows how societal norms can evolve, allowing individuals to pursue their interests and break free from gender stereotypes.”
Undoubtedly, the growing acceptance and encouragement from families and peers have provided a nurturing environment for women to explore their gaming interests freely. As a result, more women are now finding their voice in the online gaming sphere, challenging stereotypes and contributing to the diversification and enrichment of the gaming community in India. By increasingly indulging in online games, especially ones that require attention to detail like chess, crosswords, the popular strategic call break game, women have broken the glass ceiling that pegged online games as a male sport.
Visibility of Women in the gaming community
The visibility of women in the gaming industry has been steadily increasing in recent years, showcasing their significant contributions as developers, streamers, and professional gamers. Although traditionally male-dominated, women are breaking barriers and making their mark in the gaming world. Women developers have played a crucial role in creating innovative and engaging games, bringing fresh perspectives and diverse narratives to the industry. Streamers like Pokimane, AnneMunition, and Valkyrae have gained immense popularity, entertaining millions of viewers with their gaming skills and charismatic personalities. Rabiya, a 21-year-old gamer from Bangalore said, “I was inspired by Sasha who is also known as Scarlett, and how she demonstrated exceptional talent and achieved success in competitive gaming, shattering gender stereotypes along the way.” As the gaming industry continues to evolve, the visibility of women is essential in promoting inclusivity and inspiring the next generation of female gamers.
Accessibility to smartphones and internet
The increased accessibility to smartphones and affordable internet has played a significant role in empowering women in the world of online gaming. With the advent of smartphones and affordable internet, women now have easier access to gaming platforms and online communities. This accessibility has allowed them to explore their passion for gaming, connect with like-minded individuals, and showcase their skills. As a result, more and more women are entering the gaming scene. This increased visibility and participation of women in online gaming is not only enriching the gaming experience but also promoting inclusivity and diversity within the gaming community, including avid players of the ludo game.
Gargi Boruah, a small-town girl from Assam said, “I am incredibly grateful for the accessibility provided by smartphones and affordable internet. It has allowed me to embrace my love for gaming and connect with a vibrant community of fellow gamers. Through online platforms, I have found my voice, challenged stereotypes, and shattered barriers. The ability to game on my smartphone has given me the freedom to play whenever and wherever I want, breaking down the limitations that once held me back. Now, as a female gamer, I feel empowered, supported, and inspired to continue pursuing my passion in the world of online gaming.”
The future is going to be for equals
Online gaming provides an inclusive space where individuals can demonstrate their intellectual and strategic abilities, regardless of their gender, physical attributes, or power. As platforms become more user-friendly and societal attitudes continue to evolve, with increased internet accessibility, the gaming arena is set to become gender-neutral. This shift will undoubtedly witness a growing number of women excelling in the gaming sphere, showcasing their talents and contributing to its vibrant community.