There is a lot of talk about women in the gaming space, and very little of those conversations center around moms. In fact, the number one question my partner and I received upon becoming parents was: “So, when are you going to stop playing video games?” It became such a point of everyday conversation, that I tried it at one point and fell into a deep depression. I didn’t know any other gamer moms, and if I did, there seemed to be a weird, unspoken air similar to when Duncan MacLeod got the tingles for another highlander, as if there could be only one.
It turns out Gamer Moms are not as rare and majestic as society believes. We can also exist in the same space, at the same time, without one of us losing our powers. Activision Blizzard Media partnered with Alter Agents to create “Mom’s Got Game” to understand the demographic of gamer moms and, it turns out, most of us play video games on the daily. The white paper published in May 2020, surveyed moms in four Western countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France. They divided the moms into the groups Gamer and Non-gamer. Then, they split the Gamers into Mobile-only moms and Multi-platform moms. I was pleasantly surprised by the key takeaways Activision Blizzard took from this research.
Here are the main points:
We are not unique unicorns.
The problem isn’t that we don’t exist. In fact, 71% of moms play video games, whether mobile, console, and/or PC. However, we’re more hesitant to claim the title. If we don’t see ourselves represented by the gaming industry, it can be harder to fully embrace the title of gamer. Half of the parents that play video games are moms, yet only 48% of the gamer moms actually self-identify as gamers. Even out of the women who play what are considered “gamer” titles like MMORPGs, only 61% of these multiplatform moms identified as gamers. We are also not “on the rise,” another narrative I see a lot. Survey says 53% of multiplatform moms bring in a decade or more of playtime with 59% saying they play video games to relax.
We are not just mobile gamers.
Most of the moms surveyed were multiplatform moms, meaning they played mobile games and one other platform, whether a console or on PC. In fact, moms who game were more likely to be consumers of internet culture in general, including streaming services and social media. This white paper does a great job of showcasing the much needed change in representation of nerd culture. Not only do most moms game, they also are more likely to consume media in general. We are more likely to see value in things like video games, technology, and virtual experiences, which leads to other positive outcomes. In fact, women love competition just as much as the men, and gamer moms reported feeling more empowered, creative, and joyful while playing games.
Gamer moms are optimistic.
Gamer moms feel it’s easy to relate to their children, are more hopeful for the future, and tend to believe that entertainment technology can make us more united. Many of us are fitting video games into our family’s lifestyle and using it as a tool to connect with our children. This is far from the stereotypes of gamer moms, or just gamers in general, that we see depicted across the industry. We are often portrayed as this fun hating, tech illiterate parent, or an emotionally distant recluse who neglects their adulting responsibilities. This white paper is just one step, but a step in the right direction to changing the way moms are approached in the gaming space. I’m tired of the narratives surrounding women and games, and I’m happy to see a big corporation in the space use its platform to create conversation on what it means to be a gamer, and how moms fall into that.
Just the beginning…
This is the start of a conversation in a space where it’s way overdue. With the rise of esports, and discussions around true inclusion sprouting as a result, it’s time to take a hard look at how our definitions and stereotypes can alienate a big community of people. Conversations around women in gaming should find a way to include accessibility. I’d love to see this research sway the hearts of recruiters to bringing more moms in the gaming industry and spaces. This was just a small western-centered population size, and while I’m grateful for it, I’d love to see more data around the global gamer mom community, not just the U.S. and Europe. There are big opportunities in gaming that can also help rebalance women’s ability to be in the workforce. Many of these jobs are work from home, at least for now, and resources are popping up to help women transition their career to the gaming industry, like Women in Games International.
Either way, here’s some more confirmation you’re not alone.