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Mobile gaming is where female esports fans are found

Why this matters

Women are a growing force in gaming, but are often overlooked in the professional ranks because of the platform they use most

esports, women

Video game influencers occupy four of the top six Youtube earners spots and are making upward of $10 million annually.

Esports is booming and the Leisure Economy is the driving force behind the monetary success of esports.

While money is to be made, barriers remain to be dealt with. Perhaps, the biggest is female professional esports representation.

According to Playgroundz Leisure Economy Research study:

  • 30 percent of female gamers are on YouTube
  • 22 percent of female gamers are on an esports team
  • 19.5 percent of female gamers are on Twitch

Benefiting females in esports are countries other than the U.S.that help to boost the overall fandom, as Nielsen reports show:

Where women are making the biggest splash is the mobile gaming community. Mobile analytics and sales reports show:

  • more than 75 percent of female gamers are playing on mobile phones
  • 60 percent are playing on tablets
  • 68 percent of the mobile game revenue is coming from females.

“We see a direct correlation between how mainstream esports has become in a country’s culture and how likely females are to participate in the esports ecosystem. Newer fans are more likely to be females, who often start with casual viewing and then become more engaged over time,” said Nicole Pike, the managing director for Nielsen Esports.

But in the esports marketplace females are closer to taking over than expected as the graph below displays females ascend into the majority lead of the esports marketplace:


Image via Playgroundz

By 2020, female players are expected to pass males in the gaming marketplace for the first time, largely due to the rapid rise in female participation in mobile gaming.

But when it comes to making money, the wage gap is a part of the game, as esports and livestream video content make up the two fastest growing forms of gaming video content in terms of viewership.

A study conducted by PayPal looked at the gender pay gap of content creators both globally and in the U.S.


Image via PayPal

Highlighting an inconsistency between the U.S. and the rest of the world, the nearly doubled pay gap points to discrepancies in the manner in which different genders benefit from streaming and video sites like Twitch and YouTube. Although it may not account for all, the toxicity barriers present challenges to female content creators.

Testing the theory of these barriers was Overwatch phenom Ellie, the 17-year-old female player, who landed a spot on Second Wind’s team. Her arrival, in a particular game that’s dominated by males, was met with immediate question of validity  along with conspiracies about the real identity of the player herself.

Of which the more hostile came from a professional player called “Haunt”:

**Disclaimer Tweet contains contains obscene language, viewer discretion advised

To the credit of skeptics, Ellie was later found out to be a social experiment by a male gamer, Punisher, who had created the persona in order to test how thick the barriers of toxicity are.

While female gamers continue their battle against toxicity, they are still driving the views of esports upward.  From 2016-2018, the women’s share of esports viewers rose from 23.9 percent to 30.4 percent.

Trej Bell is a junior sports journalism student at Arizona State University

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