Bryter’s Female Gamers Report reveals highest levels of toxicity towards females in gaming ever recorded, in the next few weeks we will see whether this translates into greater reluctance to give ‘gaming’ gifts to female friends and family this year
LONDON, ENGLAND, December 22, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — The gaming industry is losing up to 21% of female online gamers due to negative, toxic and threatening experiences, Bryter’s Female Gamers Report has revealed. With the highest levels of toxicity towards females in gaming ever recorded, there is clear evidence that the sinister side of gaming culture is escalating.
An alarming 72% of female gamers had experienced toxicity in gaming – up from 64% in the 2021 survey. Toxicity is a major issue across the entire gaming community, yet female player experiences are often much darker and more threatening. Abuse doesn’t always stop once players leave the game – some instances manifest into serious consequences outside of gaming, including stalking on other platforms and threats of this transferring into real life.
In the US and UK, amongst females who have ever experienced toxicity, Bryter’s Female Gamers Study reveals:
• 14% had received threats of rape
• 35% had been sexually harassed
• 35% had experienced negative actions of gameplay
• 41% had been sent inappropriate content
• 44% had been aggressively quizzed about their gaming experience
• 50% experienced verbal abuse while playing online
Jenny McBean, Research Director – Head of Gaming at Bryter, said, “Limited progress in tackling toxicity is losing gaming companies’ players and money. Our research shows that nearly half of females playing online multiplayers don’t reveal their gender and 1 in 3 avoid speaking for fear of negative reactions from male players. Adapting gameplay in this way is restricting user experience, isolating female players and hampering team communication.”
While efforts are being made to reduce toxicity in the industry, many gaming companies will be unaware of the true extent of toxicity in their games. Most (62%) female gamers rarely report negative behaviour directed towards them, mainly due to unclear or ineffective reporting processes. Just 38% of female gamers feel that there are adequate processes to deal with gaming toxicity, and 34% felt there is often no point in reporting toxicity as there are rarely consequences against the perpetrator.
• 22% didn’t know how or where to report, 21% felt the reporting process was too complicated or time-consuming
• 20% worried the perpetrator would find out
• 17% had tried to report, but it didn’t work
Bryter’s Female Gamers Study has been running for five years, bringing game developers and publishers a greater understanding of evolving audience needs, what makes them tick and how to apply this knowledge to support game design and the development cycle.
While the representation of female characters in video games has slowly been improving over recent years, 66% still feel female characters are often over-sexualised, and 56% believe there are not enough strong female characters.
McBean explains, “Bryter’s Female Gamers report highlights two priority areas for game developers and publishers: character design and player experience/safety. By introducing strong female characters with meaningful roles, our research shows the opportunity to increase long-term player engagement with the game or franchise. On the safety front, giving players the tools to manage their own player experience, demonstrating a more significant commitment to act against perpetrators and introducing highly-visible, simple tools to ease reporting will help players feel safe. Committed gaming companies will profit – financially and reputationally – they’ll expand their customer base and help ensure online multiplayer experience satisfaction.”
Bryter’s Female Gamers Report is available at Female Gamer Study – Toxicity Report (2022) (bryter-research.co.uk). Additional information about the study over the years can also be found at https://pages.bryter-research.co.uk/female-gamer-study
Notes to Editors
About Bryter’s Female Gaming Report 2022
• Bryter surveyed 1,500 female gamers, spread evenly across the US, UK and China
• Where year on year comparison is made, the focus is only on the US & UK as China was a later addition
• Respondents were aged 16+ and had to play on console or gaming PC/laptop at least monthly
• Bryter’s Annual Female Gamers Study has been running for five years, tracking gaming behaviours and experiences over time
Notes to Editors
• Please reference Bryter as the source of this research in any editorial articles
• Journalist interviews are available with Jenny McBean, Bryter’s Head of Gaming Research Director. Please contact Liz on [email protected] to request an interview
• Bryter is a UK and US-based market research and insight consultancy
• Bryter works with a broad range of gamer audiences to understand behaviours, needs and experiences in order to support gaming clients through the full spectrum of the development cycle and beyond. From early-stage concepts, playtesting, pre-launch marketing assets and post-launch evaluation
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