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Last Updated : May 07, 2019 06:46 PM IST | Source:

More women engaging in sports, leading to higher viewership and more gamers

Mobile as a medium is getting more female gamers on board and women make up about 32 percent of all gamers in the country.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

In the last two years, online gaming has been the talk of the town. And an interesting thing to note is the growing female user base. More and more women are not only engaging in fantasy games or e-sports but also contributing to viewership for sports content.

Take the example of Ibakobor K Lynser, a known face in the gaming community. She got on to mobile gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) to manage her expenses after moving from Meghalaya to Bengaluru. And since then, she has won over Rs 2 lakh. She has completed 770 tournaments on the app and is also one of the top scorers.

Iba is not the only one who is making a name in the gaming world. Pratibha Arya, 26, is the winner of Gamechanger tournament on PokerBaazi. KhelPlayRummy gamers from Andhra Pradesh, Sukanya Nagalatha and Aashica, are participating in many tournaments.  

A resident of Delhi, Muskan Sethi is a professional poker player who won an all-expenses-paid ticket to Barcelona for a championship in 2014 on PokerStars. She has not only challenged professional international players but has also become a top online poker player.

Over the last few years, India has seen a significant rise in women gamers. Skilled-based gaming platforms like MPL are providing women gamers like Ibakobor an opportunity to develop their skills and win real cash rewards.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Keerti Singh, co-founder and VP, growth, Hitwicket, an online cricket management game, said women have been part of online gaming but “there were specific genres of games which were catering to women. For example, Candy Crush, most of its gamers were females and it was targeting a certain audience like 30-35 plus. Other games like FarmVille have been attracting female gamers but what has been interesting is that now a lot of female gamers are engaging in competitive game. So, Lost Lands, PUBG.”

“And I think it is a matter of time when we will see an equal proportion of female gamers. So, female gamers have always been there but inclusion of females in lot more genres that is what is happening,” she explained.  

Mobile as a medium is getting more female gamers on board and women make up about 32 percent of all gamers in the country, according to a recent study by InMobi. And this means that India is inching closer to the global average of 45 percent.

Women are outpacing men when it comes to time spent on mobile games. While men spend under an hour gaming each day, their female counterparts play nearly for 70 minutes. Be it for stress relief or entertainment, women play games five times or more often than men.

Giving certain statistics on mobile gaming in India, Singh said, “India had 1/10th of mobile gamers worldwide last year. That is the kind of contribution India is making to mobile gaming. When it comes to mobile gaming, India has limited entertainment avenues hence amount of time people are spending on mobile gaming is far higher than US. So, India is no six in terms of time spent and it is ahead of US.”  

Singh takes a look at HitWicket’s userbase and said that “our older game it had 11-12 percent female gamers and the new game we launched HitWicket Superstar, an upgrade and we are seeing 23 percent of female gamers. So, it is actually twice of what we had seen earlier.”

The momentum is building in tier II and III markets thanks to cheaper data and smartphones. However, Singh believes that “tier I women are more exposed to digital content and when it comes to tier II and III cities are a bit behind but it is just a matter of exposure.”

“Another factor is pay adoption -- like tier III cities women may not have credit cards, many games on playstore gamers can pay only via credit card not even debit card,” she added.  

“There has been a surge in female gamers in India but in countries like China and US the population of female gamers dominate the male gamers. For example, Honour of Kings the biggest game in China and it made one billion dollar revenue in just one month and that game has 64 percent of its users as female gamers,” said Singh.

And it is not esports or mobile gaming alone that is seeing more participation from women. In fact, the viewership for sporting events like Indian Premier League (IPL) have also risen. A look at IPL viewership data for this year proves the fact that women are engaging more in sports.

In the first four weeks of VIVO IPL, the tournament registered 15 percent increase in female viewership as compared to last year. Average impressions for women grew from 8.8 million per match in 2018 to 10.1 million this year.

Impressions are the number of individuals of a target audience, averaged across minutes.

“Women cricket has done a lot. The kind of limelight it has got and whenever there is a real world parallel to something it is always more engaging. Women cricketers are making a big name,” said Singh. She also said that HitWicket will be introducing female players,  “when you sign up you will get female players,” she added.

IPL 2019 has recorded 56 billion time spent by female viewers on IPL matches and 36 percent of total time spent on the tournament. The cricketing event has a 45.3 percent cumulative reach of female viewers.

These numbers are reflective of the fact that women are becoming an integral part of the sports ecosystem.
First Published on May 7, 2019 06:46 pm

tags #Sports

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