Twice the number of women play Overwatch than any other FPS

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Overwatch is the most gender-diverse first-person shooter on the planet, according to research firm QuanticFoundry. In fact, the proportion of its players who are women equals more than double that of the closest FPS.

For more like Overwatch, check our list of the best FPS games

Women make up 16% of Overwatch’s playerbase. That’s around five million female players, generating over $250 million in revenue for Blizzard.

Why does this out of all the shooters appeal to women the most? Well, it’s mostly down to the setting, the diverse cast, and the powers, according to research scientist Nick Yee.

You see, women don’t mind doing a bit of murder, but many find traditional war settings uninspired. They would rather kill you with a rocket barrage from the skies, or crush you with a gorilla. Fair enough, to be honest.

“Most shooters don't have female protagonists, so that's one [reason],” Nick Yee explains in an interview with New World Notes

Yee also references a QuanticFoundry blog post and its comments on how women would rather kill in creative ways. 

“Women perceive guns to be unappealing (even though they might not mind violence) because they see guns as the most boring and unimaginative way to kill someone,” Yee says. “Overwatch provides more magic/alternative methods of killing people (in addition to guns). 

“The colour palette also doesn't evoke traditional conventional war colours/atmosphere, and that's also something female gamers find less appealing. So it's not that they mind the violence, they just dislike the drab palette.”

So there you have it - women like Overwatch because they have good taste. 

Paladins
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Droniac avatar[GM] SocietyX avatar
Droniac Avatar
101
2 Months ago

Did they take Paladins into account with this? It doesn't seem like there would be any reason for there to be such a gap between Overwatch and Paladins female player percentages, because Paladins is even more colorful and imaginative. It's also exactly the same kind of accessible team shooter. All of these arguments for playing Overwatch apply equally to Paladins or Smite or even Savage.

I wonder, will Quake get a larger relative female demographic now that it has distinct Champions, a (slightly) more vibrant color palette and various imaginative new ways of killing people/traversing the environment? Somehow, I doubt it. Quake Champions is already a great game though.

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[GM] SocietyX Avatar
149
2 Months ago

I think it's more than that. Blizzard has been on the forefront of getting females into gaming for awhile. WoW really broke open that demographic. Far as like main stream gaming in a non-mobile/Facebook sense. Blizzard marketing is just king and the very smooth gameplay and highly polished visuals and fact they always have such diversity and 'strong' women in Overwatch.

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Droniac Avatar
101
2 Months ago

Actually, QuanticFoundry's statistics seem to refute that notion. WoW is specifically called out as having a much smaller relative female demographic than other fantasy MMORPGs. So small that even a sci-fi MMORPG (SWTOR) has a (relatively) larger female demographic. I'll also point out that Ragnarok Online was released years before WoW...

Blizzard hasn't really pushed for diversity until they started creating games that allowed players to choose from a cast of characters. That is to say: not until Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. WarCraft and StarCraft are if anything the opposite of diverse settings.

Blizzard makes great games, but they really haven't pushed for diversity or attracting female gamers specifically until very, very recently. And it's not like Overwatch (or WoW) is being marketed specifically towards female gamers. If anything, with the overemphasis on e-sports, Overwatch is being marketed heavily towards male gamers instead. What with competition being the primary motivation for male gamers and one of the lower ranked motivations for female gamers (again, according to QuanticFoundry)...

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[GM] SocietyX Avatar
149
1 Month ago

Well I'm speaking from my own personal experiences. Maybe some statistics would overall refute that given WoW's MASSIVE population by comparison to other MMOs it might have seemed lower. But I saw way more Females coming into genre since WoW's rise and through it. I'll say more females TODAY seem to play like FFXIV and stuff than WoW though.

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Droniac Avatar
101
Droniac replied to [GM] SocietyX
1 Month ago

Consider this: what was the reason you saw more women playing MMOs after WoW? Could it have been because WoW had a massive population, and therefore introduced many women to MMOs regardless of whether they constituted 30% or 1% of the player base? Instead of WoW mysteriously having been more appealing to female players at release than it is now?

Counter Strike in absolute terms likely introduced more female players to FPS than any other game in the genre until Call of Duty topped it. Did that happen because these games were appealing to women specifically, or did it happen in spite of their being unappealing simply because these games were so enormously popular in general? One of these seems more likely than the other, to me.

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