For over a decade, 29-year-old Mitsu Chavda has been actively involved in online gaming. Every day, the Surat-based lawyer plays for a minimum of two hours at night, a ritual that helps her reduce stress.
As an active online gamer, Mitsu Chavda understands the needs of the gaming industry. For this reason, she decided to be an esports lawyer, working towards developing the esports market in India.
Chavda is only one of many women in a growing community of female online gamers who are not just playing during leisure time but also competing professionally, with many turning into popular gaming content creators. This group of women have been changing the notion that gaming is a man’s world.
According to ‘Play like a Girl’, a report by Think with Google APAC, released last year, about 18% of the total population of Indian gamers are female. Moreover, the number of female gamers is growing at a faster rate than the number of male gamers in India. The same report revealed that over 43% of smartphone users in India are women across different age groups.
Industry experts have lauded female participants in the male-dominated gaming world, stating that it is a good sign that more women can be involved in the world of technology.
“This is a very positive statistic, not only for the industry but also as evidence of technology penetration with respect to women,” said Roland Landers, CEO of All India Gaming Federation (AIGF). Talking about the reason for increased women participation in online gaming, he said: “Affordable internet and smartphones have given women a level of access to the digital space which may not have been possible in other social spaces.”
Interestingly, the increase in women’s online gaming is beyond the growth of actual female smartphone gamers. The industry has in recent times seen many successful influencers and streamers who have carved a niche for themselves.
Joy Bhattacharjya, director-general of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), said the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the increase in online gaming for women. Quoting from a report released in collaboration with FIFS, he mentioned that 30% of registered users on Indian Fantasy sports platforms are women, and it is expected that the number will rise.
So, what types of games do women play online? Many reports show that women are into several niches. According to Satyam Rastogi, founder of Khiladi Adda, women play more action, strategy, and sports-inspired games. He further mentioned that women spend an average of 88 minutes on action games and 56 minutes on strategy games daily.
Another popular esports gaming platform, Mobile Premier League (MPL), has reported a huge influx of female gamers on its platform. Women play games of various genres on MPL, especially casual games, esports, and puzzles. Titles like Fruit Chop, Chess, Runner Number 1, and Quiz are popular among them. Recently, the platform added a math-based Ludo-inspired game called LudoWin, which became widely popular among women within a few months of launch.
Indian online roulette is another popular game among women. Various Indian online casinos offer different Roulette variants. Female users access these games on both mobile-friendly Roulette sites and casino apps.
These days, women are even going beyond just playing games to being part of the development process. Many female employees are emerging in game development firms and are being valued for their professionalism, expertise, and gaming passion.
PlayerzPot, a popular fantasy gaming platform in India, witnessed a 50% increase in the employment of women, as compared to 2021. According to the PlayerzPot CEO, Sunil Yadav, the company has five women in managerial roles, ten in the technology departments, and others with executive duties.
Despite the positive developments, there are still challenges. It’s impossible to deny that breaking the domination of men in the gaming industry is a daunting task. Landers of AIGF opines that the government and private sectors need to promote gaming as a career option for women. He further mentioned that this will result in the furtherance of the idea of gender quality in the gaming market.